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 YW's bike race thread

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Dungeon
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:28 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I tried to think of something to say, but I know no one is more disappointed than YW.

D

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 8:16 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I suppose we should be grateful that someone stepped in to stop YW killing himself, but after all the training and effort that went into getting this far, it's a huge disappointment, I'm sure. I'm sorry, YW, you must be gutted. Crying or Very sad

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 9:58 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Bugger! It must be especially frustrating as YW had what sounded like a good strategy to deal with exactly this situation. If so many riders had to pull out I assume the weather conditions were even more extreme than anyone anticipated? No shame in that YW. Glad you are OK.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:10 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Sorry to hear that bro! Hope you did not get too sick from the heat. That can be VERY dangerous. Sad

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:41 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Damn, I'm so gutted for you mate, all that training, only for them to pull you out Sad

How far had you done when they pulled you?

I hope you will be doing it again next year? The time you spent in it this time will be a great learning curve for next time, well done for what you accomplished Thumbs up clapping

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:49 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Let me point out now that it appears the Race Across America is an advance fee fraud. They want a thousand dollar entry fee and their website says
Quote:
experience the awesome sight of 4,000 midshipmen in formation at the U.S. Naval Academy as you stroll this beautiful National Historic Landmark campus.
That's not possible during the time RAA says that they will be there as most of the midshipmen are dispatched all over the world for their summer training so it would be impossible to see formations of that size. I won't be baiting them though. I cannot say I know what YW is going through, but I am very proud of being remotely associated with him and what he has accomplished. Late summers in Texas and Oklahoma are brutal. I've climbed hills there on my bike with the wind at my back. It sounds easy but it means you have no wind to cool you down and things get so quiet that you hear the blood rushing through your head over the sounds of the cicadas. I have not trained or raced at YW's level but I have experienced heat cramps that started with a toe in the bike shoes that spread to a calf then a thigh, then to both thighs. It is not pleasant. I think YW should be proud of his accomplishment and that his children can hold their ultra marathoner Dad in very high esteem. Cheers to you and yours YW.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:04 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Are you saying YW was baited into a cycling safari, streded because of hash conditions, and should have steered left when the officials tried to pull him out of the race?

But seriously: too bad it didn't exactly work out as planned, better luck next year, mate.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

That blows YW. I know you're hating that crap. I hope you're OK.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:23 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Sorry to hear that YW. That definitely sucks. That heat can be awful to those who are not used to it.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:27 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^It wasn't just people who aren't used to it. It seems several of the people taken out by ambulance were natives. The sun was just very unforgiving that day, no clouds, no reprieve.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:38 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hello All,

First off, as you have heard, I did not finish the race. Or more accurately, I was not allowed to finish the race. If you find this surprising to read, it’s even more surprising to me that I am writing it. It’s hard not to projectile vomit all over my monitor while even thinking about it. After all, I have devoted every spare minute of my life over the last 18 months training and preparing for this single event, logging over 1200 miles per month. Not finishing the race was never an option for me. In fact, I was actually looking for a top five finishing time, and easily qualifying for RAAM. Well, as I am sure some of you will agree, life is what happens to your best-laid plans. Here is what happened to my best-laid plan.

The weather on race day was hot, unseasonably hot I am told by some of the locals. The temperature throughout most of the week was about 92 degrees, and depending on which race official you spoke to, the road temperature ranged from 115 to 120 degrees. With little, to no breeze, the heat simply rose straight up off of the road surface, into the riders. This made for some extremely difficult, and what turned out to be, very dangerous conditions for most of the riders, myself included.

Heat has always been a nemesis of mine. I don’t function too well out in the hot sun. As a result, I generally avoid doing anything too strenuous in those kinds of conditions. Right about now, you are probably thinking to yourself, “So why did you pick that race you dummy? What did you expect? Snow?” This was a calculated risk that I took by going to this particular RAAM qualifier. I knew that this could possibly happen. The reason that I chose this race over other RAAM qualifiers is that I did not need a dedicated support team, following me in a van, down the course for 500 miles. Finding a team to do that for me would have been impossible. This course was held on a 20-mile loop. No support vehicle was needed.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear at this point. I did not choose to quit the race. I was forced to stop and it was not totally the decision of the race organizers to make me stop either. During the race, there were five riders that were taken away to the hospital for issues related to dehydration and heat exhaustion. One particular guy, a former top finisher if the Race Across Oregon, was in extremely bad shape from what I heard and was still in the hospital two days later. The town's, EMTs were probably working harder than the riders that day. Combined with that, there was a five-person crash down a 40+ mph decent when some guy’s carbon fork broke. I was told that city officials forced the race organizers to “get control of the situation”, or risk not being able to hold the event in that town in the future. This was the beginning of the end for a number of people, including me.

The race began Friday morning at 6 am, when the temperature was quite nice, around 70 degrees. The first 140 miles went by pretty much as I had planned, slow and steady, trying to conserve as much energy as possible, just trying to hold on long enough to get through the inevitable heat of the day. By 10:00 am, it was already 90 degrees. At this point, I was already consuming about 60 ounces of various fluids per hour. After mile 160, the heat was starting to take its toll on me. My lap times started to slow down, each one, getting slower by as much as three minutes. I knew at that point that I was seriously dehydrating, despite the amount of fluids/electrolytes that I was taking in. By about 5:30 pm, I was starting to feel a bit sick and dizzy. But, it was also getting later in the day, and soon it would start turning into night, and therefore, getting into a temperature where I could thrive. I figured once the sun was not beating down on me, I would be able to start recovering from the very hot day and start to speed up. The plan was to overtake the other riders during the evening hours.

Meanwhile, after being threatened by the city, the race officials were carefully monitoring lap times of all of the riders. Those of us that were showing obvious signs of medical issues were stopped momentarily and questioned about how we felt. Since I did not know about the threats from the city yet, I stupidly answered honestly, and told them that I was feeling sick and dizzy. At that point, only 200 miles in, I was told that I would not be allowed to continue.

I was quite angry at first. At the time I was pulled from the race, I was in 7th place. Eventually, I was soon made to understand by some of the other teams what was going on. It made sense. But I still wished that I had handed the officials a totally different story when they asked how I was doing.

I suppose that I could be angry about what happened, but I am not. The fact is, I probably would have ended up like one of those other guys that landed up getting driven off in an ambulance. The damage had been done during the heat of the day. Recovering, while simultaneously keeping pace with the six riders ahead of me would have been just about impossible. Despite taking in over 30 pounds of fluids over the 11+ hours that I was out there, I still weighed eight pounds less after I got off the bike from when the race started. Yes. You read that right. I sweat 38 pounds out of my pores in just 11 hours. I can hardly believe it myself, but that is the fact. Stop reading this for a second, and go lift something that weighs 38 pounds. It’s hard to get your mind around that, isn’t it?

While I sat there, watching the remaining competitors passing by the start/finish line over the next several hours, I replenished my fluids and electrolytes so I would not cramp up during the night. The next day when I woke up, I felt perfect, like nothing had ever happened. I did not even feel stiff. You’d never know that I had ridden 200 miles the day before. Since the race clock was still ticking away, I asked the officials if I could rejoin the race. They looked at me like I was from Mars. “Why would you want to do that”, they asked me, “you have absolutely no chance of ever catching anyone”. For years, I have been telling my children, and the other kids that I coach in swimming, that you have only truly lost when you have given up on yourself. I could not go back home, and face my kids, not having done all that I could to complete what I had started 18 months ago. The officials reluctantly let me rejoin the race.

As I put my helmet back on, and was getting back on my bike, some the other riders that had withdrawn or were forced out like I was told me that I was “crazy”. I found that ironic and laughed quite hard. In the previous 18 months, it was the non-cyclists that I knew that told me I was “crazy” when they found out what I was training for. Now, I am hearing the very same thing from other riders. From the ones that were not calling me crazy, I got a standing ovation as I took off down the road. It kind of gives me goose bumps thinking about that now. I put in an additional 100 miles before time ran out. When I got back, the manager from a team located in Texas, said that he would be proud to have me as a member of their team. I told him that I was flattered but that I was going to stick with Team JCI.

To be clear, I am deeply disappointed about not qualifying for RAAM. In my mind, it was a forgone conclusion that I would qualify and that the next race that I would be training for would be the 3200+ mile, trans-continental race. Instead, I am forced to re-plan getting qualified. But. even though the race did not end the way that I had hoped, it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Not only did I get to meet some of the most accomplished ultra-cyclists in the world, I got to compete against them. There were competitors from Germany, the UK, Mexico, Canada and from all over the US. Besides all that, I am a much better cyclist today than the day before the race started. The knowledge that I gained from this experience will be put to good use as I plan and train for the next qualifier.

I would like to thank all of you for the encouragement that you have given me over the last several months. It has meant a lot to me. I would also like to thank Ook for volunteering to drive 4+ hours and act as my support crew for the race. He is a stand-up guy and this board is lucky to have him as one of our own.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:55 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

YeaWhatever wrote:
120 degrees.

As you know, I'm only too aware of what exerting yourself in that temperature range feels like.

YeaWhatever wrote:
very dangerous conditions

Indeed, very dangerous.

YeaWhatever wrote:
Heat has always been a nemesis of mine. I don’t function too well

You and me both, I know what it feels like to go through that.

YeaWhatever wrote:
Ook......he is a stand-up guy

Yes he is, a true gentleman.

I'm really gutted for you YW, and I can sense your obvious frustration. I'm really sorry it didn't work out. I'd been watching with interest. Are you going in for this event next year at all?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:59 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@YW - That sucks, if I knew you were going to try to finish I would have continued on down. I was almost in Dallas when you called, so I stopped, ate, and turned back. You should have called.

You are far too nice, you have seen the town I live in there isn't a whole lot to do there. Smile Now I am a bit sad I missed your second attempt. Let me know if you do it again, I would be glad to volunteer to help again.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:13 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Great story YW. Seems like you now truly know the meaning of hash conditions. I really hate that the events went down like they did. However, that is an awesome story about finishing what you could the next day. That really was a great story.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

YW: Good on you for putting that last 100 miles under your tires! If your kids don't learn from that example stred them in hash conditions for a while.

P.S. you should have biked to your left when the race organizers tried to stop you Wink

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:57 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

YW, I did not follow the whole story but did read your last post carefully. I feel sorry for you.
But I must say that you showed strength, determination and courage. Maybe it could really have been dangerous to continue, we'll never know for sure.

Anyway, Bravo!
You'll do great next time.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank you for posting that up YW. I have been thinking about you all weekend and am even more convinced that your kids have a great dad.


Edit-I really was thinking of you all weekend.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:49 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

That was a valiant effort, YW! You are to be commended for it.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:59 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

It was really heart-breaking, reading that post of yours Sad I find it almost tragic that they did not allow you to continue. Still, being 7th at that point, that´s a great thing! 38 pounds in 11 hours Shocked I´m sure the weather will be more favourable next time.
So much more to say, John Krakauer´s book about the Mount Everest expeditions of 1996 comes to mind, the mountaineers said they had paid a lot, now they demand to be let on top of the Everest, nobody dared to prohibit them, everyone tried, it has all become commercial after all, and in the end many did not survive it. On the other side of the extreme, around 10 years ago, two friends of mine and myself travelled quite far to a festival. We drank a lot while in the car and when the concert began which I had been looking forward to for very long, i pushed myself into the front line as planned but almost fainted after 15 minutes, barely managed to break out into the background, went out off the tent and laid down on the grass, breathing heavily. I was so angry then, having missed 75 % ... but in retrospect, better 100 times this kind of anger than waking up in hospital, like what happens and has happened to so many others whom i would like to call fanatics, with positive connotations: Looking forward to something for very long, and then health kicks you down and reason barely manages to come through.
Both examples compare very badly to your experience, YW, but this kind of deep frustration, and seeing the possible consequences of not being prohibited in time, might be known to many readers of your post above. At least, that´s what I was thinking of in comparison.

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Ralph Wiggum
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Holy crap.

Shocked

As a competitor for a D1 top 5 collegiate rugby team during my college years, I thought I understood the words "dedication" and "commitment".

You redefine my understanding of them.

Your story is extremely inspirational.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:24 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Huge kudos to you for re-entering the race and giving it your all. What a wonderful way to finish with something that had to have been such a huge disappointment. Thumbs up

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:35 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I find it funny that you were penalized for telling the truth -- this is truly hilarious knowing you.

38lbs -- wow! The equivalent of one of JoJo's goiters.

Anyway, given your obsessive nature, I'm sure you'll be back at it shortly. Perhaps you could get sponsorship dollars for a chase van from the Chadian Ministry of Tourism or some such. Wink

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:36 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

You did everything you could to succeeed in intolerable conditions and you set a great example to your kids and to us here with your grit and determination. I applaud you. clapping As for Ook, you speak the truth, he is a complete star. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:40 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I applaud you also and glad you are OK. Wink

Ook is a great! Cool

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:22 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I can't imagine riding in that sort of heat, I think the hottest we had here this summer was about 80 degrees, and that sort of heat kills me, I sweat like a pig when I'm just sitting down if it's that sort of temperature, so kudos for doing 200 miles in the conditions you had to put up with over there before they pulled you out, that was a mammoth effort mate, very sad that it had to end the way that it did, but I know you will bounce back even stronger Thumbs up

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