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400k

Wildlife (and death): We saw six dead skunks. And one live one. Before dawn, we saw two shapes loping off across a field, that looked too small to be deer, but were impossible to identify (possibly coyotes). I saw a fox, and two pheasants, too, and some actual deer. And we saw a dead beaver, washed up on one of the bridges that was still covered in debris from the storms last Wednesday. Also lots of orioles, and male red-winged blackbirds trying to set up territories to impress the ladies. Frogs croaked everywhere. Loads of cornstalks clogging up waterways, washed there by the flooding.

As I think I noted in my first voice post, we basically had a tailwind the entire way out to the halfway point, which we reached in 7.5 hours. Every time we stopped, SK checked the radar to see what was happening with the cloud systems all around us, as we were concerned about thunderstorms and rain. The 15 mph headwinds on the eastern return stretches took some work to get through, but SK and I traded off 1-mile pulls, and that really helped to keep things moving along. We only wound up experiencing about 10 tiny drops of rain on the entire ride; three other riders bailed on the 400k from fear of the weather, but altogether we had some of the best weather possible - overcast and cool all day. Sometimes you just have to roll the dice.

I am contemplating writing Yelp reviews of all of the convenience stores we visited along the route.

I am quite tired. This is the fastest I've ever completed a 400k, by over 2 hours. SK rode one last weekend with about the same total time, and he's going off to ride a 600k next weekend. Levels of insanity are relative. He should know - he works in a psych ward as part of his job.

My knees feel too creaky, so it's time to review the numbers from the Houston bike fit, and think about what changes to make before the 600k in two weeks.

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( 5 remarks — Remark )
randomdreams
May. 11th, 2015 12:14 am (UTC)
The lopey silhouettes could possibly have been antelope, as the only other megafauna in the between dogs and deer size range that I can think of.
400K. Zowie. Into a 15mph headwind. That would wipe me out.
rebeccmeister
May. 11th, 2015 01:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, they didn't quite have the right (indistinct) shape for that, so I think I'm just gonna stick with "fuzzy animals." :-)

I was fairly beat up by the end, and well into this morning. The tailwind for the first 200k was ridiculous, though...we rolled in to the control and just kind of felt like all we had to do was spin our feet in little circles, if you can imagine what I mean.
randomdreams
May. 11th, 2015 02:04 am (UTC)
I've ridden in exactly the same winds. There are times when a 15mph wind from the west will blow for two weeks straight, from the rocky mountains all the way out to Indianapolis. My dad chose those days to do his Denver-to-South-Platte rides.
rebeccmeister
May. 11th, 2015 02:44 am (UTC)
I can understand how those sorts of winds can eventually drive a person crazy! From the randonneuring perspective, a person has to learn how much energy he or she can afford to expend in fighting the wind, without overtaxing the reserves. I also observe an uptick in how much I have to eat.

Interestingly, there are a lot of points where riding a heavier bike is really helpful, because then less of a person's energy has to go into keeping the bike straight and upright on the road.
randomdreams
May. 12th, 2015 01:48 am (UTC)
My nowhere near as long distance rides have featured much the same pacing issues. I'm sort of looking forwards to doing the denver century with a slightly slower friend this year.
( 5 remarks — Remark )

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