16 June 2011 ~ 2 Comments

2011 Grand Canyon 600K

Quick post. Busy week. I didn’t take a camera as I was paranoid about the weight and my point and shoot camera has had some battery issues as of late anyway.

I needed a qualifying ride to get into the Colorado High Country 1200 in July of 2011, so I decided on doing a brevet that is only offered every 3 or 4 years and was a “nearby” location. That was the Grand Canyon 600K. 345 miles and some 20,000 of climbing (yikes on the climbing!). June 3-4th, 2011, starting in Flagstaff.

The ride from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon went OK, although it was 30F on the first climb, but with fresh legs and extra clothing it went by quickly. The wind worked in our favor getting to the Park. 25MPH on some gradual uphill sections. The temps in the Park were nice, about 65-75F. As a photographer, the Grand Canyon is at it’s worst this time of day (mid-day) as the shadows were flat, but I still enjoyed the views from time to time, although I stopped little at any overlooks. The unexpected rollers encountered from the far west end (Hermit’s Rest) to the east end, at Desert View (only 32 miles), about did me in. I was VERY dehydrated upon arrival as two water bottles was not quite enough— or perhaps I just didn’t hydrate enough at Hermit’s Rest as I did have a light lunch and typically eating can cause dehydration if one is not careful.

The forecast for most of the weekend was for 15-20 steady winds out of the SW, gusting to 30MPH. During the Saturday afternoon portion of the ride, after leaving the Grand Canyon, I experienced major cross winds as I dropped from the South Rim of the park down to the town of Cameron on US89. And then from Cameron climbing south some 2800 feet to Flagstaff it started out very hot, about 100F. It took me some 6.5 hours, from 3:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., to travel this “short” section of 54 miles due the heat and the severe winds, which were a mixture of “head” and “cross” winds. I was riding alone and kept stalling at the c-stores so some other riders might join me and hopefully work together to beat the wind. Finally a group of four came along and it was nice to have the company, but because of the slight cross wind direction, it was difficult to draft for long. This was a very long section and was everything the weatherman forecasted and everything I had imagined it would be.

Upon arriving back in Flagstaff I got a great supper, courtesy of the RBA, Susan Plonsky (where does she get all those killer recipes?). At this point, several riders had already bailed out, but I needed to push on. Mike, Don and I proceeded on in the dark to our motel in Camp Verde, some 63 miles of downhill. It was nice to ride this night section with Mike as he knows the route well. We arrived at our motel at 3 a.m., checked into our rooms and promptly went to sleep. Later that morning, as previously arranged, another randonneur, Ryan Watson from N.M., arrived and slept in the other bed in my motel room. After eating breakfast at the motel, I finally got back on the road at about 9 a.m., in an effort beat the heat of this low elevation city of Arizona. Ryan left an hour or two later and was the last finisher of the day. Ahead was a near-continuous 4,200-foot climb and a ton rollers after that, before arriving to the finish, which was at 6:40 p.m. on Sunday evening. Many thanks for the help of Susan’s helper, Lara, on this long climb with water and lunch stops. Impossible without her help as the services were nil on this section.

Check out Mike Sturgill’s link for pix. On a Facebook page, Mike, a seasoned randonneur, said this was his most difficult 600K to date. Of the 12 starters, 6 finished.

Side note. I hope this isn’t TMI (too much information) for some of you!
For the past year or so I have been battling an on-again, off-again saddle sore on my right sit bone area. (Although on the recent Davis 400K it didn’t bug me much and I thought I had this problem behind me.) A week before this ride, after it flared up again on a local training ride, I finally went to a non-cycling savy general-purpose MD (that is all there is in our rural town) and he put me on a RX anti-fungal cream, which I was supposed to use for two weeks. For this ride I used a copious amount of this cream for my chamois creme on the first day. It didn’t work well as a chamois creme and I barely finished the ride — only after wearing two pair of shorts and applying ton of Lantispetic on the second day. I was ready to quit after day one, but I really needed this ride to get into CHC1200 in July — the qualifying deadline was that weekend, so I pushed on. Live and learn. I later visited with a dermatologist, and according to him, mostly likely, this problem was not a fungus-related anyway and most likely caused from chafing!

2 Responses to “2011 Grand Canyon 600K”

  1. Joey 5 July 2011 at 2:31 pm Permalink

    Hiya Mike, it was good riding with you down to the wire on that last stretch. Its always fun for me to finish a brevet on a nice easy straight with some friends.

    I have some TMI of my own, maybe it’ll help you out:
    I had an ass-symetric sit bone problem as well for my extensive randonneuring career 😉 I got a bike fitting like one of them racer folk and I found out my right leg is a bit shorter than my left. On all of my rides > 200k, that extra stretching to push the pedal through the bottom of the rev was smashing my right sit bone and causing aches and occasionally a sore there. It also flattened the right wings of all my bikes’ saddles. Sticking 3mm of shims under my right cleat has completely fixed it. Maybe you’ve got the same thing?

  2. Richard 5 July 2011 at 5:44 pm Permalink

    Yes, I had my leg length measured and my left is 10-15mm shorter, yet my problems are on my RIGHT side, which doesn’t make sense. For the past two weeks I have switched back to an tensioned unpadded leather saddle (Giles Berthoud…my first try with this brand) and so far, so good, but I have only done a 200K max distance. Next week’s 1200K will be the true test.