Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Shift #1: CA to AZ

From almost TS#3 (Blythe, CA) to a few miles short of TS#4 (Congress, AZ).
Apx. 120 miles travelled, apx 24mph.

Larry and I took over from Tobias and Andrew just short of Blythe, CA at midnight, PDT. Larry was turning 55 at midnight, and requested for a birthday present, that I go first - I happily accepted!

There weren't the normal nerves like I have before a triathlon start (probably for a million different reasons). About 5 minutes before I started, Matt and I put a much more appropriate wheelset (that he let me borrow):

Planet X 101 deep front tubular wheel, with a PX disc. Bad ass.

As Andrew approached...

I simply got on the bike, and started pedaling mercifully. I had way too much adrenaline (expected), and way too fresh of legs (also expected). Matt said I started off at about 30mph for the first few miles, and finally settled in around 25-26mph. The next 5 mile pull was the exact same. After I finished my second pull, I actually had to take some antacid tablets because my stomach was ... way too acidic!! This had never happened to me, so I was really glad that I had some! This is Larry and I doing a (slow) exchange...

My HR for each pull was easily north of 170. I felt like a million bucks, and was having an absolute blast! Riding at night, in cooler weather, on butter smooth, relatively flat roads, with no one else on the road was just kick ass.

Because we were riding on the interstate, we actually had to ride longer than 5 miles sometimes because RAAM rules state that exchanges must take place on on/off ramps (in addition to being in the beam of the headlights at night). Coming from more of a distance background, I had no problem with that, and it also allowed me to settle into a more realistic pace, and more realistic HR (170 vs. 180. sheesh!).

At some point during the pull, I noticed a car pulled over in the breakdown lane, and it looked like to be Matt and Larry. I was a little confused at first, but after the exchange, Matt clued me in on what happened. He said "Dude, you'll never believe what happened." Below is Larry talking about what happened:

We crossed over into AZ, and right around 430AM PDT, I started getting a little tired. I finished off the leg at 5am, and handed it over to Greg and Ralph.

AZ sunrise...

The first leg of RAAM (for me) was in the books, and I couldn't have been happier! It was so cool to finally be doing it, and everything about it was just so freakin cool.


Jeff said...

Wheel envy!

Vincent said...

what did you do about the broken bike during the night before you got the fix? Do you have spares? or did he just MacGyver it?

Ryan Denner said...

Hey Vincent-

The bike never broke - it was really only the carbon handlebars that had a crack in them. We through a ton of duct tape on it to keep it somewhat stable. Larry finished the shift, but we replaced the next day in flagstaff.

Ironically, Larry and I were the only 2 person team that didn't have 2 bikes/person. Everyone had road AND TT bikes. Larry had just his road bike, I had just my TT bike (coming from a tri background). Whatever works!