100 Mile Road Record Falls
|Dan McGehee, WUCA member #3189
|Bicycle Category and Division:
|Standard, Men’s under 50
|March 6, 2011 at 0721
|March 6, 2011 at 1113:49
|3 hours, 52 minutes, 49 seconds
|100 miles, 25.77mph
|100 Mile Road course near Coolidge, Arizona
|Larry Burns, Gerard Hefferon
|Al Schott, chief, Dean Stoneburner, Greg Hemmerlin, Tom McGehee
By Dan McGehee
Weather conditions were cold for an attempt – 46F – but relatively calm with very light winds out of the east, north-east, swirling a bit on the on the west and north-west side of the course, due to the mountain range just to the north-west of the loop. I would have started at sunrise (6:50AM) but it was far too cold. I was bundled up for my warm-up ride and wished I had brought the rollers to warm-up on instead. Thought I would start at 7:10 then, but at that point I was sitting in the car with the heater on trying to warm up my fingers. Decided to wear the winter gloves for the first couple laps – I was more concerned about being able to feel the shifters and brake levers than I was about the decreased aerodynamics of the gloves! The first lap felt so cold that I do not remember even feeling my legs, I was just trying to stay warm and not push too hard in the process. My nose was dripping all over my face, but I did not want to move my hands or head to wipe it because I’m a psycho over the aerodynamic drag. Watching the heart rate helped tremendously, although it was 4 – 5 beats below where it usually would be. 4 miles from the end of the first lap, I was almost 40 seconds ahead of lap pace, so I dialed back a little. I began to settle into a nice pace midway through the second lap and that helped me come through the second lap split faster than the first, so I was determined to hold that pace so long as I did not feel I was laboring or mashing when I hit the slight east headwind. I focus on the cadence more than anything else during these attempts and as long as I was turning 95 – 96 with full circles, I continued to push the pace, periodically shifting for a 98 – 101 to break up the monotony.
The 100-mile time-trial has become a passion of mine, as I find the process of trying to go faster over that distance very intriguing. Training techniques, diet, aerodynamic positioning, power output, riding nutrition, and a multitude of other factors, make the journey of trying to go faster almost an obsession. I have been wind tunnel tested in both the Texas A&M and the San Diego low speed wind tunnels, bent myself into a pretzel weekly in yoga class, spent late nights working on my bike, and, like all dedicated cyclists, put in countless hours on the road, trainer, and rollers. But I am not delusional enough to think that no other cyclists can ride this distance at this pace – I am sure there are countless riders around the world that could. They would just have to ask themselves if they really want to!! These attempts fit into my lifestyle better than traveling to events – much less time away from my family, my family and friends can be involved in the events, and I lose less time out of the office.
I ride a Cervelo P3 using a carbon rear disc and a front HED H3D with Vittoria tubulars at a pressure of 120 rear and 115 front. My geometry for saddle placement and aerobar extension meets the USACycling criteria. My piece of equipment that is most special is my Pactimo long-sleeve Dimplex skinsuit – incredibly comfortable and fast!! I wear a standard Giro Advantage TT helmet and TT gloves. It was so cold for the first 3 laps that I had to leave my cold weather gloves on and my fingers were still numb – you might be able to notice this in one of the photos. My biggest change over the past year has been cleat placement – and for that, Bill Peterson at Foot Fitness in Tucson has become my guru!! The change has added significant wattage to my time trialing and eliminated the hot-foot problem that would occur with extended pedaling pressure. Thank you Bill!!
Nutrition for a time trial of this distance is a very difficult thing to nail down. I know for sure that better recovery from training has made a difference, and adding FLUID recovery to my nutrition regime has helped tremendously. It has everything I need for a recovery nutrient and nothing that I don’t! One big advantage of the colder temps in this attempt wsa knowing I only had to focus on caloric intake with just enough water to provide absorption. It is always nice when I do not have to worry about dehydration here in the desert.
I am very fortunate to ride and race for the team that I do, for it has afforded me the opportunity to not only race with a group of fun, talented, and driven riders, but also promote a cause that it very, very important to me: clean sport! I race for Team RideClean (rideclean.net) – a truly awesome team of cyclists devoted to the ideal of racing clean of performance enhancing drugs. I am proud to represent the team and hope this endeavor is an inspiration to my mates! The brainchild of husband and wife Doug and Tanja Loveday, the team has progressed to USA Cycling Elite Amateur NRC status due to hard work, a dedicated manager (Marty Ryerson), and the generosity of our sponsors, like PatentIt.com.
Taylor Hansen, an avid cyclist and licensed surveyor living in Pinal County, suggested the course 2 years ago and made sure that it was officially accurate to meet the WUCA criteria. The first time I rode the loop, I was impressed by how suited it was for endurance time trialing. Although it has four ninety-degree right hand turns, only two of them affect the pace of the ride. The other two are a nice break in pedaling to loosen the legs a bit and make me concentrate on efficient cornering technique. On the north-east corner of the loop there are two sections that jog left-to-right and back again right-to-left – a nice detour for the mind between the longer stretches of straight roadway.
The start is on AZ Rt. 287 facing westbound on the west side of the intersection with Eleven Mile Corner Rd. There is a painted “Start” line and a large nail in the pavement on the edge of the roadway. It is marked very specifically on the official WUCA certified survey map that not only accompanies this narrative, but is on file with the WUCA Record Committee. The loop travels clockwise from this intersection to north on Signal Peak Rd, then east on Woodruff Rd jogging into Martin Rd, then south on Skousen Rd jogging into Eleven Mile Corner Rd, and back to the start intersection. The finish line is on Martin Rd. barely over halfway between the Woodruff/Martin jog and the Skousen Rd. turn. It has a painted “Finish” line with a large nail in the pavement at the edge of the roadway. It had been one year since I was down there to ride the course, and the marking was still visible. However, if it were to fade, the survey specifically delineates the point of finish. From the start line, it is 5.64 laps to the 100-mile finish, or 5 laps with an additional 11.4 miles tacked on for pain.
There are four stop signs and one stop light on the loop. In order to navigate through these legally, and safely, I went through the Pinal County Department of Public Safety. It was determined that as a single rider, I would not have to have a Special Use Permit, but I would have to work with the Pinal County Sheriff’s office to determine the safest means to conduct the event. It was decided that an off-duty officer from the Sherriff’s office would be assigned with a vehicle. The cost was $180.00 for the 4 hours and there was a form that had to be completed and signed along with the check. This agreement necessitated liability insurance for the “event” and I obtained that through American Bicycle Racing – as I have for all my track attempts. Bob Lundgren was fabulous in helping me get that on short notice. The fee was $62.60. All of this happened within 4 days of the event, so it was refreshing to see it all come together and showed how many people really care enough about cycling to provided the needed support.
The “worst” part of the attempt was dropping back for a hand-off on the fourth lap thinking that I only one lap to go. Focusing on pace, cadence, and splits, I had lost count and did not realize that I was a lap off on my estimate. I quickly realized that was why my legs still felt so strong, I cursed myself for not paying attention to my overall time and then I focused intensely on that next lap – because I knew the last segment would really be a suffer-fest.
The best part of this attempt, like all of the previous ones, is the teamwork involved in getting it started and completing it. Everyone involved plays a critical role in how the event turns out. The officials, Larry Burns and Gerard Hefferon, performing the timing and documentation accurately, the crew chief (Al Schott) making sure the corners were clean and safe to corner fast on, the crew (Greg, Dean, and my dad) driving, giving hand-offs and split times, and looking after my well-being, were all invaluable to the attempt’s success. Because of the presence of stop signs on the loop, I had to secure an officer through the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to provide a rolling intersection closure. Having Lt. Ruben Leos on the course to control the traffic seemed a bit unnecessary for the first 2 laps on an early Sunday morning, but he was a god-send for my safety through the rest of the event as the traffic increased. I would not do this attempt again without him or one of his colleagues providing the safety he did.
Overall, a very difficult but rewarding experience. I learned even more about my limits as a cyclist and believe that it will serve me well in future endeavors, even in coping with the curve-balls that life can throw. I can not thank enough all the people who have continued to show support for these events, and I hope their experiences are something they will fondly remember for years to come.