Wednesday, August 17, 2016

2016: My latest RAIN by the numbers

My official results from RAIN 2016: 296th (out of 1282) at 9:52 (HR:MM). Riding time was about 9 hours. And the most important part, I had fun!

On the way to Plainfield, with Nathan Dinges on my wheel.
I want to start with a very warm thank you to Nathan and Kristin Dinges. They were my ride to and from RAIN, I rode a portion o of RAIN with Nathan, and Kristen was our on the road support. It was really great being able to grab my prepped bottles from the cooler, and to save my lunch for post ride. And Kristen did a great job with cowbells and vuvuzela horn along the route.

And of course, a big thinks to all the volunteers and law enforcement that make this event possible. The Bloomington Bicycle Club and others again did a great job.

My actually riding RAIN for 2016 was an on again, off again thing. While I was riding all spring with RAIN in mind, it was a last minute decision to sign up and commit. So I am pleased with both my preparation, and the results.

Not your typical taper week
My taper week was was a little out of the ordinary; 5 days off the bike due to an unexpected business trip out of state. After a quick ride Sunday morning, I would only have a a couple of miles Friday night before RAIN to test gear. I wasn’t too worried, having already ridden 4 centuries this year, along with multiple 200 mile plus weeks since April. And luckily, my longest travel day was Thursday, so I was able to have a normal Friday to rest and prep for the ride.

Riding old school, no computer
My Domane,  ready to roll.
My plan all along was to ride RAIN using the Wahoo RFLKT, Ticker HR monitor and Blue SC that I have used on my trainer bike the last two indoor seasons. Unfortunately my unplanned trip meant that was a task for Friday, rather than Monday. Of course, this meant that things were going to go wrong.

To start, both the RFLKT (a shared display, that allows your iPhone to be stowed during the ride) and the Blue SC (speed and cadence) needed new batteries. That in turn broke the Bluetooth synch for both, and the wheel size. With the new batteries installed in both, I then ran into an App conflict, and I thought I had that resolved Friday night.

That proved not to be the case on Saturday morning, when the Rflkt decided not to synch with my phone. As a result, I had only an error message for the next 10 hours*. While I was still able to record the ride with RidewithGPS, I was left riding old school, just relying on my watch, mile markers, rest stops, other riders and my “dialed-in” cadence experience. After all, I rode for almost a decade before electronic speed, cadence and distance were even available. (*Turns out I was just one step away, and it has worked perfectly since.)

On the road
For the most part, this was planned as solo effort year. I did join some packs and pace lines when I could, but not for anything planned or sustained. (That is something I would like to change for next year.)

The first 40 miles were at 20mph, with most of the downtime for traffic lights while riding through Terra Haute. I was passing a lot of riders, and probably would have done better to have started about at the 9 10 hour start seeding, rather than the 10/11. It seem’s minor, but that also delays your start time by 4-5 minutes waiting for the big group of riders to start.

The rest of the day was only slightly slower. The most challenging section for me continues to be the “Indy miles” between Plainfield and lunch; the stop and go, on narrow high traffic roads make it hard to keep a rhythm, but for my third RAIN, I handled it better mentally.

The final 70 went well, and it felt good to be rolling along on 40, and I was able to fall in with some good groups, and ride a nice consistent pace to the finish.

Total off the bike and non moving time was about 50 minutes, including stop lights.

The Weather
The weather this year was about as good as you could get for a Hoosier July. We woke to a partial overcast with a light breeze out of the north. It was almost cool enough for a wind vest, but I decided for go it at the last minute. Tithe collier start also meant I could for go the a CamelBak, knowing my two 25 oz. bottles would be enough for the intervals between stops. Along with having a sag vehicle with my 4 spare bottles, it was a relief not having to wear the CamelBak.

Food and drink

Bottle prep the day before.
Personally, I have had very good results on endurance rides when minimizing heavy foods and relying drinks and gels. This RAIN was probably the most extensive (for me) of this strategy.

  • 6 Servings of Hammer Gel (Apple Cinnamon)
  • 5 25oz(CamelBak Podium Big Chill) of Gator Ade
  • 1 32 oz of GatorAde (pre-ride)
  • 2 Clif bars (1 for breakfast)
  • 1 bowl mixed fruit (1 1/2 cups) for breakfast
  • 1 roll of Rolaids (to fight cramps, and it worked!)
  • 3 oz cup of mixed nuts
  • 1 orange
  • 1 1/2 bananas
  • 2 oz of potato chips. (I was really craving some salt at lunch!)
My next big event is Carmel’s Rollfast Gran Fondo in September, which I plan to ride for time. I feel real confident I have a dialed in nutrition and hydration distance riding. Over the next month I hope to do more speed work, and keep my distance edge.

All for that key ring and big grin!

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