Monday, October 6, 2008

Bingen DNF

DNF. Letters I never wanted to see next to my name. Technically, I haven't seen them YET, because the results haven't been posted, but they'll be there.

I figured to do the Bingen, because with my hellacious travel schedule this month (haven't traveled for 3 years, clearly I'm making up for that. I'm typing this in Atlanta...). I was coming off an astounding cold and jet lag from my trip to the UK, but really, feeling much, much better.

Collected Cecil at much too early o'clock, and drove out to Bingen through lots of rain.

I was wearing sleeveless wool baselayer, ls PV wool jersey, shorts, PI Thermafleece leg warmers, Shebeest knickers over THOSE, wool socks, Showers Pass jacket, wool cap, gloves, Bell helmet WITH rain cover, and, in a last minute swap, my PI Goretex shoes with booties over. I didn't think the Keens would cut it. Or my feet in the Keens wouldn't cut it. I also had toe and handwarmers in reserve, along with a change of gloves and a change of socks.

Fell to the back climbing out of Bingen (this is not unexpected), and leapfrogged with Nat along the evil rumble strip. Indeed, so evil that it caused my Planet Bike Superflash rear blinkie to take a dive to the roadside. Nat and I collected all the parts, but it seemed to be non functional. *&^@!. But I had a blinkie on my helmet and another on the back of my jacket, so I was not without resources.

Eventually caught up with Paul, and we chatted all the way to Glenwood. There was a slight climb out of BZ Corners, then a ride through a savanna-type area. I saw three grey deer. It was not raining, and warm enough that I ditched the jacket and overgloves.

Brief stop at Glenwood - I choked down half a sandwich and got my water topped up. I also realized that I had $2 US and 10 GBP in my pocket. That 10 GBP wasn't going to get me far HERE, although it is worth almost $20 US. Fortunately, David was there, and he had water in his truck and Marcello had bought a jug. John signed our cards, and Nat, Paul, and I set out toward Trout Lake. Pulled the jacket and gloves back on.

I remembered the climb out with not so much fondness from last year, but it was not so bad at all, really. Paul pulled ahead; Nat and I leapfrogged each other. The descent into the valley was fun and totally scenic.

The rain had been intermittent, but nothing much to worry about. Followed Nat; he turned right onto Mt Adams Rd. It took us 1.5 miles to realize we had screwed up, and we zipped back to find the Trout Lake Store. We made it with 3 minutes to spare :-)

John signed our cards, I topped up my water and Gatorade, took some Advil, ate a banana, and we headed out again.

This time...up. Much up. Up with varying degrees of up. The vine maples were technicolor red, and the ferns were yellow. Against the evergreen forest, very pretty. The rain got a bit more insistent, but as we were going up, it wasn't so noticeable. Up. 4mph is a speed, but at this rate, we'd be here all day. Then we had longer and longer stretches up less up, and finally, a viewpoint, but nothing to see but clouds. Nat and I chatted most of the way up, before we had to devote effort to breathing :-)

Shortly after that, I pulled over to change out my gloves. My hands definitely appreciated the change. I also zipped up all the openings in the jacket and we started down. And it started to rain. Hard. The temperature dropped, as well.

I started to shake, and was shaking so hard, the bike was shuddering. I kept hoping for some less steep down, or, possibly, even some up! After awhile of this we found David and the promised hot chocolate. Marcello and Paul were just leaving. David took one look at me, took my bike away, and told me to go sit in the car. He dumped a bunch of blankets on me and turned on the heated seat. Hot chocolate appeared shortly thereafter, and I managed to drink it without spilling any, although I was still shaking and shivering. David rummaged in my bag for the dry socks and footwarmers, and I changed those out. Then we took the car for a drive to warm it up. He had the heat up at 90...

More hot chocolate. I did sort of stop shaking, but as soon as I got out of the car, I started shaking again. After a discussion of miles left, terrain remaining, time left, etc, I gave Nat my thermos bottle of hot chocolate and extra toe warmers, and abandoned. I was hoping he'd still be able to finish in time; we spent a good 45 minutes there.

(My right arm is still up there at the corner of FR90 and FR88)

As we were at the end, David packed up, not letting me help. I was allowed out of the car to take stuff off the bike before it went on the rack.

Long drive down (did we ride up all that?), then we rejoined the route at Trout Lake, passing Bill, Lesli, Tom, and some other riders I didn't recognize.

Arrived in Bingen just as Cecil was exiting the pizza place, so we put the bikes away, and got changed. Dry clothes were wonderful...

I wasn't terrifically hungry, but had a couple of pieces of pizza and visited.

I just heard from Nat that he did finish in time.

I am dispirited. I've done rides in equally sucky weather conditions and terrain, with less adequate clothing, and come out just fine. Sigh.

Have to squeeze in a perm mid-month sometime, I guess.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry it turned out this way for you. (Having DNF'd on my biggest ride this summer -- with only 15 miles to go! -- I do understand.) But stopping when you are THAT crapped out and sick is the smart thing to do, and it means you'll be back to ride another day.
Hugs --B

tangobiker said...

Can't tell you how surprised I was when I saw your Bleriot on the back of David's car as you guys passed. I tried to lean out of my saddle and reach for it. ~ Glad you're okay and took care. ~ Best wishes on your "replacement" 200k. ~ B.

JKramer said...

Don't despair, you still got a good workout and you got to hang all day with Oregon Randonneurs in Washington State. How often does that happen?

Sorry about the rumble strips, they are quite insane. Did you notice they painted the biker symbol on the shoulder backwards? WDOT asked for comments after they destroyed the roadway. Oh those WDOT civil engineers are engineer-like!

But seriously, it was good to see you on the ride, wish it would have worked out differently. Do you know what time it is? That is certainly correct Ms Bleriot, it's time to respirit and ride! (a.k.a. Hammer Time;)

Anonymous said...

Given the climbing, the Bingen-Lewis River 200K is certainly one of the most difficult 200's in the region. Add inclement weather to the equation, and there's always a potential for problems. You weren't the only rider who was hypothermic coming off the north slope of Mt Adams and into the Lewis River valley ... which is how I was able to recognize just how seriously chilled you were. We were unable to stop the shaking for a full 45 minutes ... You kept your head and you remained determined throughout the ordeal. I know you wanted to ride ... but I was so glad you decided against it. We were 25 miles from nowhere, and you would have faced a very difficult, and dangerous, ride home had you opted to get back on the bike. Now you live to ride another day!

Congratulations for taking on the most difficult 200k in SW Washington! Congratulations for climbing up more than 6000 feet to just to have a cup of hot chocolate at FR88! Congratulations for riding almost 80 miles in the rain and near-freezing temperatures on the first early-winter-storm of 2008! And congratulations for having the courage to call it a day, when your heart was longing to keep on riding.