Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Post Mortem

I'm going to try to do a series of posts with some analysis as to what went wrong (and right) both in preperation, and in the actual race, for anyone who might care, anyone who might benefit in undertaking a similar endeavor, and to remind myself the next time we try something this stupid.

I'm going to start with the actual race day execution. The plan was to not worry about anyone else, and ride our own pace particulary on the first climb. Not having the benefit of a power meter, we paced off of heart rate and perceived effort. The idea being to stay well below threshold on the first climb, and burn no matches.

I actually thought we were doing this fairly well, with both of our HR's in the 150's for almost all of the first climb. Yet when you look at data, it's clear our speed dropped significantly at the begining of the second climb. Thus in hindsight, we should have gone even slower on the first climb, allowing us to maintain a more consistent effort for the entire race. Of course that slower pace might have still doomed us to the Broom Wagon.

We also fell short on drinking. In hindsight we made a bad decision in not stopping at the first aid station. I did not fully appreciate the amount of riding left to get to the top of the first climb. (only 10 miles, but 10 miles at approximately 8% average grade.) We ended up drinking less than we should have in that time period, and probably got us behind on both water and calories. In 8 hours we each consumed 6 large bottles, 3 water, 1 Gatorade, and 2 HEED. In retrospect, it should have been at least 8 total bottles, particularly considering how much fluid loss we had in the high desert environment.

I was starting to cramp by the top of the second climb. Fortunately drinking a bunch of HEED, and 4 endurolyte capsules, largely staved off the cramps.

I also think we might have eaten a bit more. We tried to eat one gel pack every 30-45 minutes,as well as the sports drinks, and some cliff blocks and pretzels grabbed at the aid stations. Nonetheless, we were clearly running on empty by the final climb, which I believe was in part going too hard early, and part not replacing enough calories.

Eating and drinking enough doing Everest Challenge is difficult. You're almost always going up or down. Up, you're working hard, and its difficult to eat. Down, you're focusing on keeping the rubber side down at speed and its difficult to eat. Captaining a tandem only adds to the problem.

Bottom line, our team power to weight ratio was not high enough to allow us to go fast enough long enough to maintain the aerage speed we needed. I'm not sure any change in pacing, eating, or drinking would have changed the outcome. So my next post will address what might have been changed in our preperation.

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