Sunday, May 04, 2008

Brevet Day

I knew the BlueEyedBikinBabe had arrived as soon as I saw this the feet on my dashboard. The socks say it all:

Friday night we were up way too late checking and double-checking equipment and supplies. Tiff was going to ride her first brevet: a 200 kilometer, self-supported ride that is non-competitive however riders must make checkpoints within specified times. At our farthest point we would be almost 2 hours away from help and with no cell phone coverage. Preparations had to be right the first time. As often happens when BBB and I get together, things started getting a little goofy :).

The day started early and cold - about 26 degrees, way colder than I thought it would be. I miscalculated drive time so we arrived much earlier than we needed to however that gave us time to revise clothing choices make sure the bikes and equipment were right.

We started rolling at 8 a.m. with the group and let the jackrabbits go off the front. We knew to set a moderate pace and I know the course very well so there were no problems with getting lost. At one point we met Charly Henderson, President of Rocky Mountain Cycling Club and chatted for a few minutes.

We both rode very strong although I had no speed at all. This is a sight got used to during the day - Tiff out in front and pulling away from me. We made it to the first killer climbs around Horsetooth Reservoir and, as expected, Tiff pulled around me and took off every time. I just yelled "Wait for me at the top!" and kept grinding away.

We had a brief lunch at the first checkpoint, checked clothes and bottles then headed off for the next set of climbs up Poudre Canyon. I encouraged Tiff to break the ride down by checkpoint - each one was just a 30 mile training ride. That seemed to help a bit but I could tell she was nervous.

We got to the Stove Prairie turnoff and the real fun began. I mis-remembered how far it was to the first relative peak and got called names I can't repeat in polite company. For myself, I was pleased with my progress. I have a landmark tree I always remember, and this year I was moving faster than last year by that point.

At the checkpoint it was bitter cold. We put on clothes as fast as we could and started down. I proud of Tiff - she had been terrified of the descent but she rode it like a pro! The wind was whipping us around as we wound our way through the canyon amid 12% grades.

Finally back to the flatlands and checkpoint three where we had a snack, refilled bottles and got moving again. We had one last five mile long section of rolling hills that brought out the evil in both of us. I was hating the ride and Tiff was anti-social.

We got to the finish, got the cards signed, packed the bikes and headed to Applebee's for a post-ride feast.

I am so proud of Tiff for this accomplishment. It is a very difficult ride and her longest ride to date. The fact that she came to altitude less than three full months into her training and with only a couple of metric centuries under her belt for long rides shows an incredible strength of will and character that I admire deeply.


Howard said...

Awesome ride you two! I'm so glad you finished that awful ride.

I honestly believe that anyone who can finish yesterday's 200K brevet with climbing much steeper than anything found on TBP can finish TBP too.

Two years ago, in preparing for Ride The Rockies, BalticTiger and I felt we needed to do a difficult and challenging ride two weeks before RTR as a test. We chose to ride from Fort Collins to Laramie, WY on highway 287. It was 65 miles of hell, and was one constant and unrelenting climb for the first 45 miles.

We had to stop and take breaks over and over, as we began to wonder if we'd taken on too big a bite. But we continued, made it over the summit, then rode into headwinds for the final 20 miles into Laramie.

The next day, we rode back with tailwinds and with substantial downhills.

Afterwards, when we told a friend who himself had done RTR some years before about our adventure, he was adamant and sincere that if we could do that ride, we could do RTR, no doubt in his mind. We believed him and, yes, we did great at our first RTR.

By completing Saturday's 200K brevet with long and multiple climbs exceeding 7%, 10%, and even 16% in two places, you can do TBP, no doubt in my mind.


russtaitai said...

Mike, good for you and Tiff...I am so impressed with your effort. Tiff has turned into an animal!

deb said...

Congrats Tiff and rock!!