Tag Archives: Dave McQuaid

Sun, rain, wind, and hail

It was time at noon on Saturday to start my fundraising ride for BJU The Ride. The goal was to get as many miles possible during a five hour period riding around a .85 mile course. Yes, you read that right… 5 hours going around a .85 mile loop. I’m still going round and round in my head!

The coolest thing about the whole day (other than the weather) was the fact that my son rode over to the event with me. It was his first ride on his new Specialized Allez! He earned it working hard in school and getting this multiplication tables memorized. I kept looking over at him with a big smile on my face. Yep, life was good.

We got there and we started right up. On the first lap it was obvious it was going to be a tough day! After the nice slightly downhill where we were protected somewhat from the wind by large buildings, we made a right hand turn into a howling headwind. It was going to be a long day for my friends, Eric, Dave, Mike, Kirk, Chris, and me.

2010 The Ride

The six official participants finish a lap (Photo Eddie Helton)

Not only was that headwind strong, it was coming straight down the only major climb on the course. It made that 40 feet or so of climbing that much harder. Before the day was done, I would hit that climb and wind 105 times.

The road then curved that made the headwind turn into a crosswind. Turning another corner put you on another downhill — but back into the headwind. Really, on the whole course, you only had one short respite from the wind.

Jonathan Jr. hung with us for several laps. His little body was nearly being stopped by the wind! I tried to work with him to help him find shelter, but it was his first group ride and he wasn’t that confident coming in close to some of the other bikes. It was a little too much for him. I was proud of him though and he did well! I’m looking forward to riding more with him in the days, months, and years ahead.

I was very fearful about the rain. The forecast was calling for it. Thankfully, we only got a few brief showers for the most part. There were a few times when there was rain on the back side of the course and dry as a bone on the front side. Overall, the rain was not an issue. Until later in the ride…

Before long it was every man for himself. The varying riding abilities of the different riders made it so that it was hard to stay together. A few times I thought I was pulling the crew and looking back realized I had dropped them. I mean one of these guys hadn’t ridden in some time. He finished all five hours!

It was really neat to see Eddie Helton show up for the ride. Racers will recognize him as the photographer that takes some great pictures of our events here in the Greenville area. He was so kind to take some pictures of our little event AND get out his bike and ride with us! Several other riders came over to encourage us as we made our laps. It made my heart warm on an otherwise cool day.

Kirk Flinte was there and we ended up connecting and riding for a good bit of time. The two of us put in some hot laps, but for the most part just rode tempo and talked. Shortly before the four hour mark, Kirk went in front of me and pulled me through the wind for about 10 minutes. Then he was gone and I was alone again.

I eased up a bit in that final hour. My legs were starting to let me know they hadn’t ridden this far since October! The wind picked up even worse and the clouds were threatening. The last 30 minutes could be brutal!

With only about 15 minutes to go, I was starting up that climb into the wind. It had just started the rain and the wind was whipping my bike about. Then the rain started to hurt! It was like it was cutting my face. “What is going on?” I thought to myself. I had to bind my head to keep the rain from hitting my face.

As I looked down, I noticed the “rain” was bouncing! “That’s not rain,” I thought. “It’s hailing!” Then I made that turn from the crosswind to a headwind. I could not look up to see where I was going. Thankfully, the brim of my cycling cap was protecting my face.

Before the lap was complete, the hail let up and not longer afterward the rain did as well. The wind never did. It fought us the entire time.

I have ridden 100+ mile numerous times in 5 hours. This was one of the hardest rides I have attempted. The course wasn’t exactly thrilling, but it was the conditions that made it hard.

One thing I know. It is the hard rides that you remember the longest. The easy rides are most enjoyable at the time, but they are so many they all meld together. “Remember that ride where we got hailed on?” Any one of us can say that and it will bring the ride back into full focus.

The funny thing is that time will make the pain enjoyable.

The five hour criterium

Imagine riding in a criterium race for five hours.  Well, Saturday, I came pretty close to doing that.  I participated in “The Ride: Recycled.”  Six other guys and I (along with some supporters who came and went) rode around this .84 mile circuit for five hours.

The five hour criterium course

The five hour criterium course

The purpose for the ride was to raise money for a building project on the campus of Bob Jones University.  The event was organized by student, Eric Ritchardson.  His parents came down from Michigan to help support the ride by being there to hand us food and give encouragement as we repeatedly passd them.

By the time I was done, I had passed them 112 times!  It was my hope to make the 100 mile mark before the five hours passed.  Unfortunately, I ended up with only 94.

We were supposed to start out as a group for a couple of hours and then go for our personal goals.  However, right off the bat, Eric and another rider went off the front.  I chased after them and sat on their wheels waiting for the rest of the group to come up to us.

They never did.  I figured if that we weren’t going to start out as a group, I would get going to work toward a 20 mph average.  I knew I needed to build up my average so I would have something to work with when the going got tougher later on.

You would think that it would be a relatively easy course.  However, over that five hour period I climbed over 70 feet per lap — 112 * 70 and you have 7,780 feet of climbing!  To make matters worse, much of the 70 feet took place on one stretch of the course that had you riding into a headwind.

Thankfully, at one point my friend Dave McQuaid came along.  He gave me several good pulls around the course and before long I was up to a 20.6 mph average.  Around 2 PM he had to leave and I still four hours to go.

For the next three hours I was able to stay above my goal of 20 mph.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of slowing down.  I felt bad not riding with the group, so as I would come up to them I would slow to ride with them a bit.  Before the average dipped too far, I would leave them and work to bring my average back up.

Each time this happened, I found it harder to build my average back to a point where I would have something to fall back on.  Finally, in hour four I went as low as 20 mph even.  Then I started to wear down.  I realized I should have held on to that .6 with a little more tenacity.

Early in the ride I was knocking off laps consistently 2 minutes and 25 seconds.  I could complete the route in nearly 2 minutes when I gave it a try.  However, by hour five I was starting to see lap times of 2 minutes and 40 seconds or more.

When I dipped to 19.9 mph average, I gave another push to get back above 20 mph.  It was then I realized I wasn’t going to get 100 miles.  I was pretty much doing the ride either alone or pulling.  There was very little drafting for me.  I had worked very hard and I just didn’t have the juice left to hold it.

On lap 97 I stopped to take a nature break.  That lap ended up being 8 minutes long.  Then I slowed down to enjoy the last hour.

Reaching the end, I was satisfied.  Maybe if I had pushed I could have added a mile to so, but I don’t think I would have hit 100.  However, I took care of myself and had no cramps during the entire time.  I still had enough gas in the tank to make my last lap in 2 minutes and 18 seconds.

My power average for the ride was 177 watts.  I had a peak of 1192 watts.  That was probably when I was trying to catch up to a professor so I could motor pace behind his car.  It was a pretty good work out and I was able to raise several hundred dollars toward the building project.

Crawling out from under a rock

I got up this morning to join David “Locomotive” McQuaid for a couple of laps of the USA Cycling Pro Championship Road Race course. We both plan to participate in the ride on Labor Day weekend. The goal is to do as many laps as you can in four hours. We figured we needed to get out there and get a feel for what it would take.

We’ve done a lap of the course before and I think we have done two before, but I can’t remember. Anyway, going out there again today definitely showed us what we need to do! We covered 2 laps – about 44 miles in 2:49 of seat time. If you count the time we spent at stop lights and waiting for Chris Hartzler and his brother-in-law, it took us over three hours.

I felt bad about leaving Chris and Bruce. I’m certain Chris could have kept up with his, but his brother-in-law is just beginning to pick up riding. So, he was only able to hang with us until we reached the bottom of Paris Mountain. Chris connected with us at the top and told McQuaid and me to go on. I think they ended up completing one lap.

Here is a link to my upload from my Edge 305 to Motionbased account. The most relevant portion of the report is the elevation graph. Two climbs of over 1000 ft in just a couple of miles.

The big problem for me is that once I finished, I crashed — not on the bike, but my body. I thought I would be fine as I had a chance to eat within the first 30 minutes after the ride. However, I ended up just dragging myself around and ended up dragging myself right into bed where I slept pretty solid for an hour. It wasn’t until shortly before I started typing this that I felt like I was getting back in shape.

Why? Sure, the climbing was part of it. However, I think it was the way I did the climbing. My first time up I came across the remnants of the Carolina Triathlon shop ride. Of course, that is a carrot and I wanted to pass them all. I did, but my HR spiked at 192 bpm. That push combined with the rest of the ride must have done something to me. I felt better on the second climb because I didn’t push myself.

Bottom line is that I’ve got a lot of work to do before September!