The plan was to ride my bike for 12 hours. The hope was for 160 miles. The reality was very different.
Well, it started out with a stomach ache and trouble with nutrition. The first 60 miles of the course is at least 80% climbing and I was much slower than I had hoped. I was OK with that, I had all day to pull through as long as I could get my stomach to straighten out. At about 5 hours I finally got a long enough descent to back off substantially and get some food into me. My stomach started to feel better and I hit the next climb with some oomph, still not fast, but better.
Then I had fun for about 1 hour.
Then came the heat and there was carnage all over the race course. Someone with a temp gauge on their cyclocomputer said the heat got up to 97 deg at about 3 PM. Cyclists were stopped at random spots all over the course just because they were too hot to keep going.
I got seriously overheated. Relying on SAGs and self supporting did not help. By the end of my big loop of 112 miles, I was struggling to go 10 mph on a flat road with a slight tailwind. I should've been cruising easily at 18 mph. I hurt everywhere, had a terrible headache, flashing lights in my field of vision. When I got into the checkpoint and tried to talk to one of the volunteers, I wasn't articulating well and I knew I couldn't go on until I had cooled off substantially and got my electrolytes and hydration squared away.
While I was trying to do this Tom came in off the 24 hour course with a DNF. He ended up very overheated as well.
That's when I decided I was done. The cost seems too high to go back out. People were throwing up everywhere, many racers had DNFed, one went to the hospital and had an IV of 3 litres of fluid. He still wasn't quite squared away.
So I got an official finish and I seem to be recovering in a timely fashion. I'm still a little whacked out but my legs are better. No significant signs of anything serious. I'm very glad I decided to pull the plug when I did.
Not sure I will solo this race again. I certainly would not do it without support if there is any chance of heat. I was definitely not able to carry enough water to keep hydrating well between SAGs in those temps.
Tom and I are thinking that a 2 person team might be the way to go next year. :)