I took a more relaxed approach for the event this year. I didnít even commit until the last minute. I was afraid to lock into a rigid training plan with the high probability that my family commitments would interfere. I was able to put in a fair amount of road mileage through the winter. I had a good base going into the spring but I wasnít able to ride as much as I wished. I showed up for some of the group training rides and survived. My training objective was just to spend time on the bike. I was off the back most of the time but I completed the rides. The biggest confidence builder was making 225 miles on the road bike. That was about 12 hours of riding. I learned a lot about my body and how to work through difficult conditions. The 2 lap pre-ride was a set back for me. I suffered the same dizziness that stopped me the previous year. This wasnít a good sign. I was unable to ride again until Saturday before the event. I rode one complete lap in the late afternoon. I came off feeling very good. I established a good sustainable climbing rhythm during that ride. Due to family commitments, I was not going to have another opportunity to ride prior to the event. However, my body was completely recovered from all ailments.


1. Conserve energy.

2. Stay in a sustainable climbing gear.

3. Rest on the road descents.

4. Keep the fluids and nutrition coming in (DONíT GET BEHIND ON THIS!).

5. Keep it safe on the descents.

6. Relax and find a comfortable groove for the single track descents.


The start: I showed up late as usual. I rushed around to get a few more things into my AID 1 box. Unfortunately, my Aid 1 box was not around. I had to trust the support staff to get it there. It wasnít worth getting worried about.

Lap 1: I stayed in the back on the roll out. I wasnít feeling great but I was able to ride in my pre-determined pace and gear without any difficulty. I started to pass people initially up to the 4 mile mark. After that, my plan was to maintain a recovery pace to Aid 2. Quite a few people passed me. I stayed in my rhythm. It was going to be a long day. It seemed like a long time getting to Aid 2. A lot of people were rushing through. I needed to make sure I fed myself and unloaded the previous remains of dinner and breakfast. (As it turned out, I had to use the facilities at Aid 2 every time I came through. My potty stops probably amounted to more than Ĺ hour at least.)

At some point on the climb up to Aid 3, Steve Schuman caught me and we started to f*ck around with each other. I was in good company. Steve is a good consistent, experienced rider that knows how to finish. I felt a little jittery on the gravel road descent. It still felt like a long time to reach Aid 3. I hope the whole day doesnít feel this long. I stopped at Aid 3 to eat and hydrate. I only needed one bottle for the climb back up to Aid 3 after the short single track loop. I was definitely out of alignment through my first section of single track. It was a lot more work than necessary. I passed a group of 3 riders coming out of the trail. They proceeded to pass me on the climb back up to Aid 3.

I passed a few people including Steve Schuman on the climb up to Sourgrass meadow. However, Steve passed me again before the meadow. I lost him when I had some chain ring problems. I was still having some difficulty finding my single track rythm through Sourgrass meadow. That was the case all the way down to Aid 2. I past a couple gals but mostly rode alone.

I didnít see anyone on my descent from Aid 2 to Aid 1. A few people came in through Aid 1 before I left.

I rode behind a female ss with the tandem behind me on North Fork. I stopped at 1910 because I had to download some more food. I also wanted to plug in my cd player. I eventually got going again. I felt really good. I started to pass people right before mile post 4. I was just flying by them. I maintained my pre-determined gearing but I was going at least .5mph faster with ease. I felt good enough to sprint into Aid 2 so people knew I was feeling strong.

I continued to feel good up to Aid 3. Somewhere along that route I passed Steve Schuman. I didnít even recognize him. I ate and hydrated quickly at Aid 3. I found a good rythm through the single track. I only stopped long enough to grab a water bottle through Aid 3. I was really having a good time all the way down to Aid 2. I was riding all alone.

I had planned to take an extended break at Aid 2. I wanted to make sure I took in the fuel that I would need for lap 3. I had a lot of confidence at that point.

I just stayed relaxed on the single track back down to Aid 1. As I came off of the descent from Buckhead shelter, my knee started to hurt. I have felt this before when had tendinitis. This concerned me. Tendinitis has the possibility of becoming very painful. I maintained an easy pace through the plateau. Steve Schuman caught and passed me. We helped each other out at Aid 1 eating and doing some maintenance on the bikes.

He took off ahead of me and I never saw him again. I tried to relax through the North Fork trail. I was starting to feel a little fatigue. My knee was really bothering me. I just needed to hang on to the hope it would not swell up. I wasnít moving too quick as I started to climb 1910. I gave myself permission to drop down a gear. At this point, I was focusing on reaching significant milestones. My knee did loosen up as I continued to spin. At one point before I reached milepost 4, I needed to get off the bike and walk. My legs and feet needed a change in position and a different range of motion. Just as I got off the bike, Matt Bergeson came down the road. He walked with me and offered good words of encouragement. I felt fine and had little doubt that I would complete the ride. I was a little concerned because I had lost one of my water bottles on N Fork trail. I was really feeling thirsty. I had to conserve my one Gatorade bottle. The rest of the climb to Aid 2 wasnít that bad. I cruised in feeling good and looking forward to some water.

From that point on, it was just more of the same. There was nothing extraordinary. The only milestone left for me was the climb up to Sourgrass meadow. I walked the first steep section. After that, it was no problem. I relaxed and enjoyed the descent all the way back down to Aid 2. At that point, as far as I was concerned, it was done. I ate and drank and joked around with John, Roy and Miles. They were the last ones there. It was pretty obvious that the party was over. I left before they asked me to get a broom and sweep up.

I just took it easy coming down. I was a little bit tired and I didnít want to make any stupid mistakes. The fatigue finally hit me just before descending down the Tie trail. I continued to ride safe to the finish.

It was fun to see my family and friends at the finish.


My only goal was to finish. I rode a very conservative ride. I have suffered far worse on many other rides. I didnít have any serious bonks. I didnít have any major physical problems with the exception of the tendinitis (that did hurt).

Monday: I make to work on time and I donít feel too bad. However, I felt pretty bad by Monday afternoon. I am definitely sore all over. I can barely walk up and down stairs. I just want to get back home and sleep.

Tuesday: As I finish writing this report, I am feeling a lot better. I am already looking forward to the next ride.

The real post ride party wonít be until Ridefest in a couple of weeks. That is what I have been looking forward to the most.

Thanks to all that supported me. It feels like I finally graduated and I am an official DOD alumnus.