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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Training Log Archive: Ari-o

In the 7 days ending May 30:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Bicycle3 14:29:07 194.23(4:28) 312.58(2:47) 2374
  Run1 44:17 5.31(8:20) 8.55(5:11) 10
  Orienteering1 23:28 2.27(10:20) 3.65(6:25) 66
  Total5 15:36:52 201.81(4:39) 324.78(2:53) 2449

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Sunday May 30 #

11 AM

Bicycle 8:03:14 [1] 103.32 mi (4:41 / mi) +1485m 4:29 / mi
ahr:122 max:216

This was a day. There was nowhere to stay near Yellowstone and nothing for 50 miles beyond it, so the plan was 126 miles. It was figured that since I haven't been biking much/at all, I'd join for the end bits, which meant I'd help break down camp in the morning and then meet up with them. I decided to do this 23 miles in, for no reason in particular.

So I rode the RV to a point with a lovely view, changed into my bike gear, and set off with the crew. We moved into Jackson, rode a nice-but-rolling bike path, then an annoying roadside path, and then gave up on paths (too soon, ones past downtown were flat and nice) and went through holiday traffic in the kitschy, national park-adjacent town (the only kind).

But then we got views of the Tetons. Jesse described the mountains four times for Shawn, and I just took it all in. A slight headwind, and lots of traffic, but nicely-maintained National Park roads and few trucks made it tolerable. Oh and the Teton views. Big Tits mountains!

Then we took a right turn and the traffic went way, and the day began. We'd seen elk and bison, and went by people looking at bear, and we had a 17 mile, 2600 foot climb (total for the day was nearly 4000) to the Continental Divide. As we went up Crystal and I took turns back-end guiding and catching our breath. I punctured a tire at one point so grabbed a new wheel off the truck (which was nice) and caught up, although the gearing wasn't perfect. Lots of snow, probably great skiing, but no skis. I was near a bonk but gobbled some sandwiches, and we crested the divide: 30 miles to go.

These were the hardest. You can't bomb the downhill with a blind rider. At a "road damage" sign I scouted out a washout and we had to take the uphill lane, luckily there was basically zero traffic. Down down down and then it was flat and we hit a headwind. This was rough for a while but eventually we dropped off of the plateau, the wind slackened off, and we rolled towards town, with Shawn just pounding after 120 miles. My helmet was dead so I was justing listening to the music. We rolled through town at/after dusk, past three or four RV parks, before finally finding our park, and collapsed.

First century, and I feel … fine?

Saturday May 29 #

9 AM

Bicycle 1:55:27 [1] 27.64 mi (4:11 / mi) +252m 4:04 / mi
ahr:82 max:120

Bicycle 27:51 [1] 6.93 mi (4:01 / mi) +86m 3:52 / mi
ahr:70 max:97

Bicycle 17:19 [1] 4.21 mi (4:07 / mi) +7m 4:05 / mi
ahr:63 max:83

Bicycle 2:37:24 [1] 37.86 mi (4:09 / mi) +480m 4:00 / mi
ahr:75 max:127

Glove placement kept ending the activity at stops, so four separate activities.

Biking partway across the country with a blind lady is interesting! It's quite the crew: three vehicles, one an RV with a trailer, about a dozen people, a huge tent for those who don't fit in the RV, a film crew, and anywhere from three to six people on the road at a time.

Here's the way guiding a blind person works. First, everyone is on a radio feed together so they can talk to each other. This is important, because the wind makes it otherwise hard to hear. Yesterday with strong crosswinds they hadn't been able to use the helmet radios and it was apparently very difficult. It looks much less windy the rest of the trip.

There are usually two guides on the road with Shawn. The first has a speaker on the back of the bike playing peppy tunes, she uses these to echolocate and maintain a parallel line, usually about one bike length back and three feet to the right, but can go in a paceline although this is harder. She holds one of the straightest lines I've ever seen, and does it with her eyes closed, which I can't even imagine. The front guide usually calls out road obstructions, calling "lift" any time there is a crack requiring her to change her balance, and other issues. Behind her is another guide. This person constantly tells her her road placement and what the roadway looks like. For instance: "[you're] two feet to the rumble [strip], four feet to gravel, two inch drop to gravel, transition into grass." She then can change her position more finely based on this.

It works surprisingly well. The rear guide isn't necessary but often quite helpful. If I do guiding, it's probably what I'll be doing. The other two guides are generally Jesse and Shawn. Steve, a double-amputee, has had "leg issues" and pretty much unable to keep up on climbs. (As Jesse said: "I'm hanging out with a lot more guns and Trump votes than usual. Guns have come up. Politics haven't.)

Behind this caravan are any other "domestiques" and behind them a safety/support vehicle, which is in this case a truck driven by Mike, which has lots of flashing lights, spare gear, and our day supplies and food and water. It's very well-supported, which is quite nice. Mike is also on the radio, telling us things we need to know, trivia, and sometimes bad jokes. We usually wind up stopping every 5 to 15 miles, depending mostly on Shawn's needs, plus bathroom breaks and food from other riders. There is also the film crew, darting around for shots (sometimes on bikes, usually in another pickup, which was apparently much fun in the snow a few days back). The RV generally goes shopping and ahead to set up camp.

So today, we left Idaho Falls on some city streets, and then hit a four-lane highway east. The roads here are not designed for biking (at all) but the first 15 miles with the full lane were nice. Once we dropped it, we were off on the shoulder and dealing with the rumble strip. I'm sure rumble strips have road safety benefits, but they are especially terrible for blind bicyclists because moving across them is particularly difficult. We made do, had some climbs where Steve got in the truck, and paralleled the Snake River in beautiful country with snow-capped mountains in the distance. We had a gnarly downhill to the river, where I was able to go ahead and scout out and be helpful, and then a long day of mostly spinning gradually uphill. The last 15 miles were along a dammed lake, and tricky because it was hilly and harder for vehicles to pass. Shawn only yelled at us a couple of times (all of it understandable, what she's doing is extraordinarily difficult), we crossed the Wyoming line and picked up a state trooper (out of central casting, mustache and all) and rolled into camp. People were much nicer with Officer Friendly at the back of the paceline.

There was food at camp. We eat well.

Thursday May 27 #

6 PM

Orienteering 23:28 [1] 2.27 mi (10:20 / mi) +66m 9:29 / mi
ahr:119 max:154

This went not so great with some minor mistakes and bobbles until I got a bug in my eye at 15 and had to walk a couple of controls blinking furiously to get it out. I did go around the hill to 19 which was most definitely the correct route choice.

Wednesday May 26 #

Note

So … a few months ago my friend Jesse said he was going to be guiding his friend Shawn on a bike trip. He's guided her on the Birkie before (and I did a podcast) and a Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim and she's gone to the Paralympics, so, yeah, a bike ride across the country.

Originally she was going to ride a tandem bike. But she decided to ride her own. Because she is blind. Completely. Website here.

Anyway, Jesse said if I wanted to bike with them for a week I could, and the timing worked pretty well from Idaho Falls to Denver (rather than, say, the plains or Kentucky in mid-summer) and they have spare bikes and I bought a ticket.

I leave Friday. My butt will be sore.
1 PM

Bicycle 31:24 [1] 7.05 mi (4:27 / mi) +38m 4:23 / mi
ahr:111 max:133

Ride up to fetch all my bike stuff in Melrose. Hot. And part of the Northern Strand closed, but soon to be extended, so that's okay. Not much signage, though.

Bicycle 36:28 [1] 7.22 mi (5:03 / mi) +25m 5:00 / mi
ahr:107 max:134

And home, into the wind. Still hot.

Need more solar. Need more windmills.

Tuesday May 25 #

6 PM

Run 44:17 [1] 5.31 mi (8:20 / mi) +10m 8:18 / mi
ahr:106 max:118

Walked to Cambridge with Mel, then ran home with a tailwind.

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