Last Sunday, Larry, Matt and I did a simulation ride. The route was about 80 or so miles (finished in under 4 hours) of some rolling terrain, complete with 5 mile "hand offs". I know when I described these hand offs before, it made some people say "wow, sounds complicated". It is, if you make it complicated, but it doesn't have to be.
I had two main objectives in this ride:
- Practice the whole "hand off" thing. Both as a rider, but also planning when/where to stop. The rules of RAAM state that a vehicle must be completely pulled off to the side of the road during a stop. So, these 5 mile/20 minute-ish intervals aren't always 5 mile/20 minutes because there just aren't large patches of dirt at the same interval across the country. The 5 mile distances are just guidelines.
- Pacing. These efforts are of the "very hard" variety, so I wanted to make sure I didn't blow up too early, and to gauge how sore I would be the next day (surprisingly, not much).
The more elaborate 45 second video is here, complete with unracking the bike, and getting up to speed:
One of the main things I learned is at these intensities, I tend to have a little tunnel vision. It's not often one goes barreling through busy streets of Escondido with a HR above LT. I need to be especially careful of going at said intensity through towns/congestion, especially in the midwest where they simply aren't used to cyclists roaming the streets.
Tuesday, I knew, was going to be a long day at work, so I planned accordingly. I brought my bike, headlamp and tailight so I could ride home in the dark. It was wild! Even though I have driven and ridden the route a million times, it was hard not to be conservative, especially in the dimly lit areas. I ran it by some RAAM veterans, and they said not to worry because the follow vans' headlights provide a good amount of light. Definitely some good practice to get in for sure.
Oh, so when I said Clif Bar hooked us up, I wasn't lying. I got my "delivery" on Sunday. Check out what I, and each rider, got (complete with... socks!):
Bars, Blocks, Gels, recovery stuff.. the whole 9. Damn!
In other news, about an hour ago, I had my first "Oh shit, RAAM is in 9 days moment!"