Friday, August 21, 2009

Preparing for the 508

I'm lazy. I created this blog a while ago, with the idea that I would write up all my epic rides, post my power data, provide my analysis of the data, and chronicle my ultra cycling progression. Almost half a year later, and none of that has happened.

But now, the 508 is just 6 weeks away, and I've cleared out a week of work to get in a serious training session. I'm thinking of one last brutal week before I start a long taper. A perfect time to actually start writing. The 508 is a non-stop 509.5 (hmm..) mi ultracycling race - really just a very long time trial - running from Santa Clarita through Death Valley to 29 Palms. It's also my biggest goal of the year; well, the biggest goal of my athletic life to this point. And it's really kind of terrifying.

I rode quite a few double centuries throug the early part of the year. I did my first 24 hour in early May, and despite some disastrous mechanical issues, I was pleased with passing 400 miles. And I realized I may actually have a shot at riding over 500 miles. I did two doubles after that, the Central Coast Double and the Heartbreak Double, and I ended up cracking in both of them. This is when I realized I had been running (ok, cycling..) myself into the ground. I started taking it easy. At about this time, work was getting pretty hectic. I managed to get in a 300 mi ride (Grand Tour), but dropped at this point instead of finishing the Quad Century. After this, a long business trip ended with me off the bike for 10 long days. It was nearing mid-July when I realized that the 508 was less than 3 months away, and I was nowhere near as prepared as I needed to be.

I started preparing. The urgency of the ever shrinking gap between me and the start line in Santa Clarita proved to be motivation enough. I rode a chunk (near Trona) of the 508 course in 105 degree temperatures. I speed-hiked Mt Whitney, then rode up to Whitney Portal (4700 ft climb) after. I climbed Horseshoe Meadows and Whitney Portal the next day (~60 mi, 10,000 ft climbing) I did a century comprised solely of Torrey Pines climbs (30 climbs, >13,000 feet gain). I climbed Mt. Soledad by every major route (14 climbs, ~70 miles on the mountain, 9500 ft). I rode 2 non-stop centuries on short circuit courses of .6 mi and 1.5 mi to work on mental tenacity. I rode 90 mi to the start of an organized century starting at 2 AM, rode the century with my dad, got a ride home, and then did a 1.5 hour intensity ride upon returning. But I still am completely in doubt whether I'm actually ready for this race.

I leave tomorrow to drive up to 29 Palms and ride the end part of the course. I think I'll keep driving North from there, maybe through Death Valley along the 508 course, and eventually make it up my parent's home in the Bay Area. Forecast for 29 Palms? 95, with 30% chance of thunderstorms. Nice.

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