Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Paris Brest Paris Preparation

I had an interesting preparation for PBP this year, largely because of our trip to China from March 30th through July 13th. I had to ride the Arizona brevet series so I could finish the qualifying events before we left, only the 200km event had been run in New Mexico by the time we left. After completing the 600km event in Arizona with my dad on March 20th I stripped my bike and hung the frame since with a regional climbing competition the following weekend at Stone Age I was going to be route setting and not riding. I had managed to put in just shy of 2,000 miles in the first two and a half months of the year, stuff that I'd read says that you should aim for 5,000 plus by the time PBP rolls around.

Once in China I managed to find a couple of other guys that rode regularly, one even had an extra bike that fit reasonably well, though it was a hardtail mountain bike. I was able to get out a couple of times with him him before my parents came out to visit us in China for a couple of weeks at the beginning of June. We had a great time traveling with them and seeing a good bit of China. Once back in Dalian I just borrowed the bike for 2 weeks and rode as much as possible which at this point was pretty painful. Feeling heavy fatigue after 2 or 3 hours is not promising when looking at riding and event that will require me to peddle 50+ hours in 3 and a half days.

Once the end of June rolled around it was another 2 weeks off the bike as we left Dalian to travel with Linda's parents and do a little bit of climbing in Yangshuo. As soon as we got back to the US I picked up Chris's commuter bike and starting riding as much as possible which involve a very painful first 3 days suffering from jet lag, dehydration, extreme heat and general lack of fitness (not something you want in the middle/late part of July). I needed to get a ton of riding in in a short period of time since you want to rest for the couple of weeks before PBP.

On my second weekend back Dani was nice enough to drop me off in San Yisdro at 8am on his way to the Durango century and I rode out to Bloomfield about 125 miles away where Chris picked me up on his way out to the century. Then on Sunday I rode the century staying with the lead group until the steep hills in Farmington where I promptly exploded off the back of the group and proceeded to finish off the ride largely alone. There was a section of about 30 miles where I would have been happy to just lay down on the boiling pavement then get flipped 10 minutes later, bet I would have tasted good. Chris finished with the first group in 4:02, Dani with the second in 4:10 and I came in right at 5 hours out. All in all I thought it was a good weekend for me, even though there were times both days where I was really having trouble, but hey I'd only been back for just over a week. This weekend was also important because it marked the first 2 ride on a new frame that a friend built for me specifically for brevets and traveling. Here it is on the first day just outside of Cuba, New Mexico.

The next weekend involved getting a longer ride in than normal on Thursday of 45 miles then 60 very hilly miles on Friday in the East Mountain area. Saturday started at first light and involved a loop a had not ridden before. Heading down the Rio Grande valley past Belen and onto Hwy 60, then around to Mountainair and back into Albuquerque through the East Mountain area again for 155 miles. The best part was that I basically felt great the whole way. On Sunday I started quite early to get some riding in the dark in. I headed out to Santa Fe and back then around Tramway once I was back in town. Again I felt good for the whole ride. This weekend really made me feel good about my chances of finishing PBP, which is a good thing since I only had one more week before I needed to start riding less to let my body recover.

The last weekend was just getting an extra ride in on Friday. Starting in the dark again and heading from the house to the top of the Sandia crest and back down to Cedar Crest where Linda met up with me and we headed back up to do a 4 pitch climb in the Sandias. On Saturday, Dani and I headed out to Taos where we rode on the enchanted circle, though the circle itself is only 90 miles so we did the prettier 2/3rds of it and turned around an rode back for 120 miles over 4 mountain passes, 2 each way. Dani was still able to ride away from me pretty easily when things went up, but at the same time I felt like I could just peddle my pace for very long periods of time which is the important part.

I feel like I'm not as prepared as I'd like but I've still done enough and certainly as much as I could with the traveling that we got to do around China. All in all I think I'm at about 3,500 miles for the year so quite a bit short of where I should be, but not terrible considering there we 3 months where I rode a total of 3 times. I have no idea what to expect, how my body is going to react but am pretty confident that I can finish, though maybe not as fast as I'd like.

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