Friday, August 11, 2017

Back to my non biking ways

After 4 consecutive days of pedaling, I'm back to my bikey, but not biking ways.

On Tuesday I served as crew chief for Chris Davies as he attempted to set a UMCA age group record for Capital to Capital. (Sacramento, CA to Carson City, NV and back)

This attempt has been in the planning stages for 2 years, I was honored to be asked to help out.

Chris rode hard and successfully navigated the route that crossed the Sierra Nevada mountain range.....twice, via the 8574 ft Carson Pass.

He covered the Sacramento to Carson City leg, 147.1 miles in 10 hrs and 18 min.
He covered the Carson City to Sacramento return trip, 147.3 miles in 10 hours and 46 minutes

You can read Chris's account of his effort HERE

On Wednesday I was the UMCA Official as Paul Carpenter took on the challenge for his age group.
If you clicked on his name, you know that Paul is a decorated ultra cyclist. He showed his skills on this route. He rode quickly of course, but his real strength was his ability to keep the bike moving. Except for a 16 minute flagger enforced stop at a construction zone, and a 1 minute stop for sunscreen, he just kept moving.

He covered the 147.1 mile route with 12,725 ft elevation gain in 9 hours and 58 minutes.  He took a 10 minute break in Carson City for a finish line photo (Sacramento to Carson City leg) and a quick bite to eat, then was back on the bike pedaling for Sacramento.

Because of one way streets in both Sacramento and Carson City, the route varies a bit on each end.  The return route was 147.6 miles, and because Carson City sits at a higher elevation, the return leg had 8255 feet of climbing.

We had just a bit of excitement as we crossed back into California from Nevada.  A California Highway Patrolman pulled in behind us and let us know he wanted to pull over..  It was dark, so Paul had to stop too since mandatory direct follow is in effect during darkness.  The officer said he knew that we were there to protect our rider, but questioned if we were allowed to be in the travel lane. In most areas there is not enough shoulder are to drive out of the lane. Robert was driving and explained that our primary concern was safety, and that we always drove as far to the right as we could, and would pull off where we could to allow cars to pass. After a couple of minutes of discussion, the officer asked our intended route, and said we were free to go, while he checked with his superiors to see if what we were doing was legal.

He must have received the answer we knew he would get, because we did not see him again.

Paul rode strong and consistently.  While the ride up to Carson Pass from the east bound leg is somewhat stair stepped, this west bound leg is pretty much a constant slog.  While it was a tough climb, because he was returning in darkness, the temperatures were reasonable.  It was 73 in Carson City as we started out, and would drop to 52 by the time he reached the summit.

The stair stepped descent back to Sacramento from Carson Pass was mostly uneventful.  He pedaled through the construction sites pretty much unimpeded.  There was one that was just a bit problematic.  There was fresh tar on the road (maybe just thick oil in preparation for a new layer of asphalt?) that he shouldered his bike and walked, rather than get a layer of gunk on his tires, which of course would do nothing but pick up gravel.

Once that problem was behind us, he pedaled along at 18-20 mph all the way back into Sacramento.  After yesterday's somewhat problematic return, we picked out a slightly more circuitous route to the Capital building in hopes of avoiding some stop signs and a closed road.

He arrived at the Capital at 4:47 AM,  covering the 147.6 miles in 9 hrs 30 min elapsed.

The original plan was to have three racers, each in a different age category, attempt to set records.
Robert was our third racer, but he got a call during Paul's ride that his wife had gone into emergency surgery.  He was a trooper and stayed with us through Paul's ride.  To leave would have put an end to Paul's race because of the UMCA's staffing requirements, and we were also using Robert's van.

As soon as Paul was finished, we cleaned our supplies out of the van and Robert took a brief nap, then drove home, scuttling his record attempt, but getting back to where he belonged.

I hope you will join me in sending good thoughts to Robert's wife for a speedy recovery.

Tomorrow morning I will be near Gresham just after 5AM.  Normally I'd be riding around Mt Hood with about 25 friends, but this year a lack of bike fitness, and their need for additional support drivers, means I will be taking my freshly honed support skills around Mt Hood.  I've got signage, flashing ambers, iced water, pump, kibble, and some tools all packed up and ready to leave home at 4AM.

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