First, thank you for the support and help with raising funds for breast cancer. We made a difference – total amount raised jumped to nearly $5000. My goal was to win and help others. In addition, I want to inspire those who struggle with facing their fears. I hate gravel and bike trails, yet this race had 1200 miles of it.
The evening before the race we all met at local Portland Pub to pickup trackers, race caps and get to know one another. I also met the great Craig Pauli who was there right after winning TransAm
Some stats – 3472 miles in 21d 13h 21m . It is likely around 3600 miles since getting food , water, and finding hotel requires getting off the official route and then coming back to the point of entry to continue onwards (those miles don’t count).
My strength is staying on my seat and minimizing stoppage & sleep time. This is also to prevent injuries from harder efforts and minimize recovery time. From the 9 racers remaining ( 3 quit & 2 are still pedaling) ,I have the 3rd worst moving average speed at 10.8 mph( although strava claims its closer to 12 mph) .
However, I am first in moving time at 62.7 % . Basically, my rest time was ~9h more than Barry (2nd) and ~21h more than Mike (1st). I was in my seat 48 hours longer than both of them.
We had fire, smoke and excessive heat warnings from the start of the race. The projections did not disappoint.
This will be the shorter version of my report as I am looking into other options to present the rest.
Day 1: Portland – 10 miles before Fossil OR- 167 miles , climbing 13009 feet
We departed Portland at 5 am sharp. The group was together on the Springwater Corridor trail that follows the banks of the Willamette River. We chatted along with one another as this was the 2nd time I met most of the racers. I exited the trail 1st & Barry Dickson right behind me.
I kept reminding myself to slow down, its a long race with plenty of opportunities to attack. My expectations were that by day 3 we will be separated by dozens to hundreds of miles from one another.
Barry eventually took over the lead. We passed by Mt. Hood and you could see the peak was covered in snow despite the crazy temperature.
My first stop was in Mt. Hood Village. Sadly, a restaurant with limited options and I wasn’t going to wait for a meal to be cooked. Few bananas and a desert will do. For the next 15 miles we were climbing a nasty gravel road with grades up to 15 %.
At least we were in the shade but the challenge was keeping the bike upright in the gravel. It was not even 10 am and the temperature was already 86 F – Ouch. My heart rate was spiking to 170 BPM so I had to slow it down a bit and control it.
From noon onwards the temperature was already above 100 F. We were consuming enormous amounts of fluids and food , services were far apart. I made it to Maupin, OR while holding 2nd place and was completely cooked. It was so dry that I wasn’t even sweating. No businesses through town on the race route so I grabbed few drinks from a vending machine next to a car shop and took off after Barry.
As soon as I left town I was met by 20 mph headwind, extremely hot temperature and no shade in sight. As you leave town you go up a steep climb with plenty of hairpins. I made it just 3 miles up the road while stopping twice and decided to retreat back to Maupin. It was 3pm and my GPS recorded the highest temperature during the entire race – 131 F, Barry recorded 120 F so lets settle on 125F. I was on the side of the road figuring out what my next step is. A van pulled over and the driver told me to stay off the side of the road as there are many rattlesnakes that would love to have a taste of me. I guess this was my wild west welcoming party. I received a note that few others were all in the same hotel and we all reunited there.
The conditions were simply life threatening. Apparently , the hottest part of the day out west was between 3 pm & 6 pm so I was going to take a shower , nap and then leave at night time.
The temperature was still in the 90s at 8:30 pm but eventually dropped to 60 F in a matter of hours. My goal was to make it to Mitchel OR in the first 24h but as things typically go during these events, plans change fast and you have to adapt to the conditions & challenges thrown your way. My first 24h ended up some 10 miles before Fossil , OR in the middle of the night( about 60 miles after leaving Maupin).