Monday, March 5, 2012

Kiowa 808

Finally, got back out for an adventure ride. The temps warmed up to 50s and the sun was glorious all day. 

The name? I started in Kiowa, CO; 79.7 miles is close enough to call it 80; and the route was something of a figure 8. I planned the route aiming for around a 5 hour ride time and hoping to have some hills. In the end there was about 20% more elevation gain than the software predicted. Still it was good training, a great route, and I finished in 3 minutes shy of the ride time I predicted.  

I began right at noon in Kiowa, CO. This is the first time I’ve gone through Kiowa or Elizabeth, but both look like they have plenty of services and I admit that the pizza shops had me salivating. In any case, I quickly passed the first couple paved miles before hitting the dirt. This was thie first minor surprise. I had entered the route in the Garmin, and carried a cue sheet. The cue sheet read what I thought the Google map said – Maui road. The actual road name was far less pleasant sounding – Maul Road. Fortunately no mauling occurred on this route and I only had one unrestrainded dog chase 

I was however destined to have Johnny Cash join me for about 50 miles of the ride. He decided on Sam Hall for some reason (sadly I can't embed this one). It's far from my favorite Cash song - perhaps it stuck because the lyrics were so simple and I could focus on the riding. Or perhaps it's because Sam Hall was so much better than the alternative that occasionally came in my head - MC hammer. I don't know why, but the roads in Elbert County can get quite a bit of washboard. Those sections gave me the Hammer inspiration as I had quite a few bumps hit my rump

One of the highlights of the route was Co Rd 37. I hadn’t intentionally planned to include a minimum maintenance road, but I got one here. Honestly, I’d take more miles of 37 over the MC Hammer washboard. CR 37 was a bit soft in spots and there were sections where runoff made little artificial stream crossings, but all in all it was pretty tame. Bunny hopping the smaller streams made them something I looked forward to. I’m still not sure where the B-road is in the AntiEpic course, but if this is it I ain’t skeered.

Never seen this sign before but I like it! 
B-road fun!

 After 37 I wound my way down onto the Peyton Highway. This rural dirt road might be my favorite “highway” ever given that this section was unpaved. I passed a few folks on horses here and we chatted for a bit. They were really nice folks and the only people I chatted with on this ride. I will say though that I had far more friendly steering wheel waves than I usually receive. Beautiful scenery and friendly folk.

Unfortunately, Payton Hwy does become paved and I took it to Murphy Road for the bottom edge of my route. While paved, Murphy was actually slow going as I faced a headwind and it’s a deceptive climb for about seven miles. With that over I headed north and ended up back on gravel. Meridian becomes county line road at this interesting horse sculpture. It’s hard to tell but the mane is barbed wire.

Horse with barbed wire mane.

The next several miles along Kiowa Creek passed incredibly quickly – too quickly. The scenery there is great and I was actually surprised and a little disappointed when I found myself in Elbert. I had planned to refill one of my bottles at the convenience store in Elbert, but decided to pass as I had started hydrated and only just finished 2 of 3 bottles. In retrospect this was probably a mistake. I wasn’t really drinking enough on the ride. I finished fine, but probably could have finished faster and stronger, with a quicker recovery if I had hydrated more. I’ve been able to get away with this on these 4-5 hour rides, but I know it’s a poor plan and on anything longer I’ll be in trouble.

Church in Elbert. It's not leaning, I was on a slope and not paying attention.

Leaving Elbert and returning to the car took far longer than I expected. The day had gone so quickly already and for some reason I thought I was close to the end. In reality, I still had ¼ of the ride to go. I was rewarded with a screaming fast descent, but the final paved slog uphill to the car more than made up for it. It was on this last leg after Elbert that I felt my fatigue and underhydration.

I’ve got plenty of long training rides remaining where I’ll be playing with nutrition and hydration options. It’s a constant quest to find what works in this department. I’ve already determined that gels are not for me, but gummies work surprisingly well. I moved from Gatorade to Heed with some success, but recently decided to go half measure on the Heed and add additional electrolytes effectively reducing the carbs and increasing the electrolytes. This allows me to eat a greater percentage of my calories rather than drink them. I still love the waffles, but over the next few months I’ll also be playing with some of the recipes in Dr. Allen Lim’s book The Feed Zone which uses real foods. I’ve never liked the idea of relying on too much robot food, so if I can find something that works well for me I’m all for it.

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