Thursday, June 11, 2009

Simulation & Specificity

I realize that no matter how much I train (physically, and mentally), the adage "Expect the unexpected" will certainly come into play during RAAM. But, that doesn't mean not to at least attempt some conditions beforehand.

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).
Below is a 15 second video that Matt took during "an exchange" between myself and Larry


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!"

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