Monday, August 10, 2020

Utah Mixed Epic Dress Rehearsal

This weekend I was joined by Todd Murray to ride our first Dress Rehearsal in preparation for UME. Todd, is a Colorado Springs Police Detective, and one of the toughest, but nicest guys I know. He is one of two people to finish every Leadville 100 MTB Trail Race since its inception; something like 26 years straight. Additionally, he is a former Leadman champion and course record holder,. Add a handful of Ironman Triathlons, 24 hour races, and well, you get the picture. Todd is the real deal. Todd Is also signed up for UME.

Todd Murray Taking in the View

We had an incredible ride with fully loaded bikes, looking for big climbs at high altitudes. This ride had several purposes; Test our equipment, test our gearing with the additional weight on steep long climbs, figure out what and how to pack, and get a typical UME day in the saddle.

Initial Test Set-up

We chose to ride up through Cheyenne Canyon and tackle one of the steepest and longest climbs on the “Ring the Peak” route. This climb is approximately 3 miles long, an average grade of 8%, with pitches much steeper, and topped out at over 10,400 ft. This was after four hours of mostly climbing just to get to the base. We were able to climb it, but if someone magically gave me an extra gear at the time, I would have whole heartedly accepted.

Todd Toping out at 10,400+ Feet After a long hard climb

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Break

After the climb we continued to Victor then descended Phantom Canyon. Phantom Canyon is such an amazing place. The scenery just blows me away every time I ride it. Descending from 10,200 feet to about 5,400 felt like going into an oven, hitting the bottom of the canyon at about 94 degrees. So another benefit of this ride, was getting a small taste of the extreme heat we are going to face in Utah. We returned to Colorado Springs via Hwy 115, a rolling grind that seemed to go forever. In the end we covered 135 miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing.

Getting Over Victor Pass

We learned a lot on the ride. Both of us came away, knowing we need to re-think how and what to pack. Our total time was 13 hours with 11:30 of actual ride time. A good indication of what a typical day at UME will be like. My goal is to ride approximately 15 hours a day. We also got a small taste of what the heat will be like. Very intimidating. That is one of my biggest fears about this adventure. Most of my riding is early morning before work when it is still cool. My next challenge is to get acclimated to the heat.

For Someone that doesn't eat a lot of salt, my jersey was caked

That was exactly what I set out to do the next day, on Sunday. After a family hike, got a later than usual start for what I intended to be a short recovery ride, but in the heat. Surprisingly, I felt pretty good and just kept riding. I left with only two bottles of water, as I was not expecting to go long. 52 miles and 3,000 feet of climbing later, I was feeling the effects of the 90+ degrees and lack of fluid. This strengthens my resolve to acclimate and brings to reality that UME will be anything but a picnic.

My back felt fine. Other than being a little rough getting on and off the bike, it felt strong. I even felt better on Sunday. I have no explanation other than I've been doing core strength work for years and my almost 25+ years vegan diet. Its only been 3 1/2 weeks since I fractured it. 

Finally, we can’t forget Kids on Bikes. I am taking on this race/adventure as a fundraiser for KoB. In these crazy times with COVID19, KoB’s biggest fundraiser, the 24 Hour Indoor Challenge is in Jeopardy. I believe  COVID19 is affecting all of us in more ways than we know. For kids of lower means, probably more so. Wouldn’t it be great in these times, to help these kids experience the freedom and joy of riding a bike. Every little bit helps. If you find it in your heart you can donate at my donation page. Thanks for reading and thanks for all that have donated. 

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