Calvin's Challenge 12 Hour 2018
Just posted this at BROL. My race at Calvin's Challenge 12 Hour:
My training for Calvin’s Challenge began early in January but ended in mid February after only 5 of a planned 16 weeks due to a nagging hamstring injury suffered last year. I tried complete rest, no bike riding at all, for the entire month of March. But it did not help and I was still unable to ride.
I finally found some relief when I started treatment at the end of March from a chiropractor trained in Active Release Therapy and experience with athletes. I was skeptical this would work but was desperate for anything that would help. Physical therapy in December had not helped at all. With great surprise I experienced quick and dramatic improvement. After two visits I was back on my bike. I continued once a week treatment right up to race day.
But my training for Calvin’s Challenge was in ruins. The race was less than five weeks away. All I could do was try to get some miles on my bike. It was too late for intense training. I started April with 30 minute rides and worked my way up from there. Four days before Calvin’s I did my longest ride of the year, 64 miles. I had planned for 75 miles but it was a struggle and I quit early. My average speed was 18.3 mph and steadily dropping. I usually end rides because I have reached a time or mileage goal, not because of intense fatigue. Almost all my training rides for the last three years on my Bacchetta Carbon Aero 2 were 20-22 mph with a steady or rising average speed, so this day was very discouraging.
I thought about dropping out of the race but in the end I showed up at Calvin's with low expectations.
My first Calvin’s Challenge in 2012 had perfect weather. My next two, 2014 and 2016, had really bad weather. This time it was perfect again. About 50 at the start rising to near 70 at midday. Mostly overcast and light winds. It does not get much better than this.
The 12 hour race started in three waves at 6:00 am. I was in the third wave at 6:02 am.
Each long loop was 23.2 miles. I did the first two long loops with Geoff Madden of Plymouth Michigan on his Carbon Aero and another rider on an upright bike. They stopped briefly after the second loop while I kept going. I was by myself the rest of the day.
My GPS data showed the new course had almost twice as much elevation change compared with the old Calvin’s Challenge course. Most of that was in the first 13 miles and it was tough. There were 4 or 5 hills that were a challenge to climb. But once you did the big, almost U-turn, at mile 13 the roads were much flatter and there was a light tailwind for the next 8 miles. I certainly looked forward to this part of the course all day long.
With my lack of training I was very surprised to be holding a 20.1 mph average at mile 75. But I kept thinking “when am and I going to crash and burn?”. All I could do was keep the crank spinning and see where I ended up.
I was hoping to do 7 long loops, maybe 8 if things went really well. But I finished number 8 with plenty of time left for another so I charged back out onto the course. While doing this loop I was constantly figuring time and distance to see if I might be able to do 3 or even 4 short loops.
When I got back from long loop 9 the long loop was closed and the 4.9 mile short loop was open. It was 5:08 pm. The race would end at 6:00 pm. I knew I had time for 3 laps but pushed hard so I would have a 5-8 minute cushion in case anything went wrong.
Volunteers on the short loop were great at controlling the intersections, stopping cars, and waving riders through. I was a little worried about the short loop after studying it on a map. But the volunteers made it a great finish to a long day.
With an ideal weather day, which we had, and my full training program, which was a disaster, I had a goal in the back of my mind of 240 miles. Instead I went into the race thinking about just surviving. I had no idea if I was capable of even 100 miles.
Somehow all the planets aligned and I ended the day shocked and surprised I was able to keep moving all 12 hours at a decent speed for 223 miles, my best Calvin’s finish ever.
My quads and knees were hurting at the end. And I was totally drained. I coasted my bike next to my wife’s chair and said I might need help getting from the bike to the chair. I made it and rested while she got me about 5 cups of Coke. I love an ice cold Coke at the end of a hard ride.
Big thanks to my wife Lori for supporting me all day long and getting me quickly back on the course whenever I needed anything.
Another big thanks to Dr. Ayesha Qureshi of BodyWorks in Troy Michigan. Without her treatment of my hamstring injury I never would have gone to Calvin’s. If only I had found her back in December. I might have been able to do my full training program.
And we all ended the day with a huge amount of respect and thanks for Maria Del P. Vasquez, Calvin’s Challenge Race Director. She made this a fantastic event and I hope to be back for many more!
Bacchetta Carbon Aero 2
Flo 45 carbon wheels
23mm Continental GP 4000S II tires with Vittoria latex tubes
Wahoo Elemnt GPS, which was great at keeping me on course all day. And the large black and white display is much easier to see than any of the color screen Garmins I have tried.
I started using Infinit Speed last year and liked the results. Speed is for rides of less than three hours. Infinit Go Far is for longer rides so I bought some for Calvin’s. It was all I used for 12 hours except an oatmeal cookie my wife handed to me around noon and a Honey Stinger Waffle around 3 pm. Go Far works for me.
My previous races at Calvin’s:http://donrose.net/