Sunday, June 22, 2014

Eat, ride, sleep. Repeat.

Last weekend was spent exploring some of the issues we'll encounter on RAAM outside of our normal riding profile. In summary we've started to explore how a disrupted sleep pattern and riding multiple time trials with a break in between affects us. We've also had a lot of fun with tandems, had our behinds well and truly kicked by another tandem and put a little back into the sport of randonneuring by volunteering. As ever, we didn't really set out to do all that but it just sort of happened, and we need all the experience we can get! As the teams racing the 2014 edition of RAAM, including our teammate Lori, are coming to the finish line, it also marks a year to go for us. Gulp!
tandems everywhere on the Sunday ride!
Our weekend started with an early start on Saturday when we set off to ride in the final edition of the Beat the Clock time trial series, twice. Our race next year will involve us riding a series of (approximately) 30 minute efforts with (approximately) 30 minutes rest between them. One of the best ways to train for this is to have multiple entries to a time trial. We didn't know the other mixed tandem on the start list but hoped we could beat our previous two attempts and win the tandem category. It can be difficult to judge whether a bike starting a minute behind you are slower or faster. In this case there was no doubt at all as they flew past us just after the turn around on their way to breaking the course record. To compound things, we didn't manage to beat our previous best time over the course either. There were some positives to come out though, as there was only 9 seconds difference between our two runs and a very close power average. It has also given us a whole list of things we need to improve before this time next year.
Next on our agenda was a shower, snooze and brunch before doing our main home based tasks of the weekend including reconfiguring Roberta to be ready for the hilly tandem group ride on Sunday. By mid afternoon we were ready for some more food and another snooze. We had volunteered to spend between 1am and 5am that night manning the finish control for the Davis 600k. So after waking at about 9pm we set about packing the car with tasty snacks, a slow cooker containing vegetable soup and several warm blankets. We arrived in good time which was good as both the previous controllers had had a mix up with times and dates and were quite keen to get back home. We also found a friend who had returned from working at the Tobin control having a snooze on the ground in front of the tables. A true randonneur!
Sitting in a lonely car park in the early hours of the morning must be one of the least interesting or glamorous tasks associated with randonneuring. It is necessary however, and it seemed like a good way to pay some of debt to the organisation and organisers. After handing over to the next set of controllers, we got back in the car and headed back via Sunday breakfast (part 1). We had also gained another traveler in the form of John Guzik who had finished just before we left, and who we were giving a lift home. A quick shower and change later we were heading out to our meeting point for the tandem ride, in time for a hot drink and breakfast (part2).

There are few things as fine as riding in a group of similarly matched tandems, and we had a great day exploring new roads and catching up with people. It was interesting to us to be cycling when tired, but without having cycled 400km the previous day. The body may be physically capable, but getting warmed up and getting our heads in the right (mental) place is much harder than normal. It's something we will need to practice doing in the next year.


The boys let off some steam playing in the park while their stokers relax

After the ride we had lunch in Los Gatos and then back home for a well earned, but short, snooze. Then we set out on our bikes for our final engagement of the weekend - a steak dinner with friends. A great way to end a fantastic, and interesting, weekend.