RUSA R-12

R-12 MedalLast weekend I completed one of the cycling goals I set my myself earlier this year.  Between the crash in March and the virus in June, the rest of my cycling goals had to be set aside.  But, on Columbus Day, I rode a solo 200k permanent to complete an R-12.  In the big picture, it’s not all that tough but it does require some persistence and a willingness to ride long rides, even when it’s cold outside.

I completed at least one 200k brevet or permanent per month for 12 consecutive months, starting in November 2011.  I rode in Ohio 11 of those months and did a ride in Kentucky for the 12th.  I did an extra ride in February while visiting family in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Five of the rides were solo rides and I am very sure I like riding with other people better than I like riding alone.  But, it is tough to put together a group for a long ride and keep everyone together.  Thanks to Don & Phyllis, Joe, Amanda, Scott, Roy, Mike, Ned, Dave, Larry, Ross and the other riders I shared some miles with this year. I’m not sure about committing to another R-12 until I see how the winter weather works out.  But, I’m not ruling it out.

Gravity Always Wins

Sunday morning, March 18th, I started a ride with a few friends, in celebration of my friend Rich’s 68th birthday. Typical for one of Rich’s routes, it would be 100 miles with a good amount of climbing (I want to be Rich when I grow up)

My description of the rest of that day is second hand.  I have no memory of the night before the ride, breakfast that morning, getting to the start, the 30 miles I actually rode, the crash or the helicopter ride to the trauma center.  So, what I know is what I’ve been told.

I was the first rider down the hill on Middlefork Rd.  I’ve done that descent many, many times. It’s not difficult and not all that fast. There is an easy left bend at the bottom before a flat run out to the intersection with Buena Vista Rd.  My friend Frank was behind me and the other riders were a bit behind him.  Apparently, as I got to the left bend at the bottom, at approximately 40 mph, my front wheel caught a crack in the road and turned 90 degrees.  I went down on my left side with the bike going off the side of the road while I slid down the road to the other side of the small bridge there.  I was, at that point, unconscious.

A local resident who lives at the bottom of the hill called 911 and there was a first responder, followed by EMTs from Laurelville, on site very quickly.  They made the decision to call for a helicopter and I was on my way to Grant Medical Center in Columbus.  My friends called my wife and she arrived at the hospital about the same time I did.  I’ve been told I was talking, and even cracking a few jokes, when I came off the helicopter, but I have no memory of that.  I didn’t recognize my wife and had a small seizure at one point.

But, I was very lucky.  I had a serious concussion, I’d broken my cheekbone and an eye socket and cracked a bone in my thumb.  I had some road rash and a few cuts that required stitches but, considering what could have happened, I came out of it in pretty descent shape.

The following morning, a trauma plastic surgeon installed 2 titanium pieces to stabilize the bones in my face and I went home the day after that.  My equipment was not so lucky.  The frame of my Torelli Montefalco was broken in two and my helmet was broken in 8 places (see the pictures).  The EMT cut my clothes off of me, including a pair of Assos bib shorts (I know, that really hurt.  Almost as much as when they gave the pieces back to me in a plastic bag).

I had started the season with plans to try another brevet series, but the crash happened right before the 200k and I never did catch up on the training necessary to do the longer rides.  But, I’m happy to be riding and to have minimal side effects.  I’m happy to have survived.

February 200k

I held off on publicly committing to attempting a RUSA R-12 until I made it through the worst months in Ohio (ok, typically the worst month.  With the winter we’ve been having, we may be dealing with snow in April)

After yesterday, I’ve completed an official 200k ride in 4 consecutive months.  Only 8 more to go but, in theory, I should have the easiest weather months ahead of me.

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Extra Shot – The Long Scream

The SufferfestI’ve updated my ERG File Spreadsheet to include the newest video from The Sufferfest, Extra Shot: The Long Scream. The video is a 30 minute time trial effort that is designed to be added to one of the other videos, as if they aren’t tough enough one at a time.

This is a good time to talk about the challenge of taking something completely subjective, like perceived exertion and matching it up with something completely objective, like watts.  The 2 latest Extra Shot videos have pointed out that if you aren’t careful about how you set the limits of your power in the spreadsheet, you’ll be left with a workout that is next to impossible to complete.

Since RPE is dynamic, it’s completely acceptable to have long stretches of a workout at 8, 9 or even 10 out of 10, as long as you realize that what constitutes a 9 at the beginning of a workout may not be anywhere close to what constitutes a 9 at the end of the workout.  But, with ERG files that assign an absolute value to each RPE level, a 9 is a 9, not matter how tired you are.

If you set the spreadsheet up so that your FTP falls at say 7/10 then, by definition, you should be able to sustain that for an hour or so.  But, if the RPEs for that time are in the 8,9 and 10 range, you will either not be able to complete the workout or you are starting with an incorrect FTP value.

If you look at the RPE numbers for the latest video, almost all of the 30 minute effort is between 7 and 8.5.  Keep that in mind when you plug in your power numbers to generate the ERG files.  Pick a maximum power percentage that puts your FTP in the correct range to allow you to ride at the 7-8.5 level for 30 minutes.

R-12 or Not R-12

Randonneuring USAThe R-12 is an award given by Randonneuring USA and is earned by riding at least one randonneuring event of 200k or longer in each of 12 consecutive months. Unlike the UMCA Year-Rounder I tackled in 2010, the R-12 doesn’t allow rolling out of your driveway on a route of your own choosing. Each ride has to be an official RUSA or ACP event, brevet or permanent, which means you have to do a lot more planning. The R-12 isn’t based on a calendar year, so any 12 consecutive months meet the requirements.

I’ve had a number of friends complete an R-12 over the last few years.  I know the distance isn’t a problem for me and it shouldn’t be that tough to complete. But, I still have not been willing to make the commitment and say, publicly, that I’m working on one.

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Sufferfest on a CompuTrainer – Version 3

The Sufferfest Version 3 of the Sufferfest/CompuTrainer ERG File Spreadsheet is now available for download.  Version 3 adds an ERG file for the latest Sufferfest video, Extra Shot.

In addition, I’ve had a few requests to start the ERG file at the very beginning of the video, instead of when the video title first appears on the screen.  I set up the original spreadsheet with the start-up delay in order to give me time to start the video , get everything arranged, realize that I can’t reach my towel, etc.  But, I want everyone to be happy, so I added a start time field to the tab for each video.  The default will be the current time delay, but you can now specify the elapsed video time when you want to start the ERG file.  If you want to start as soon as the video starts, enter a zero in the green box.

Thanks to fellow Sufferlandrian Graham Dunn for suggesting a simpler calculation of the workout time.

You can read the original blog post about the thought behind this spreadsheet here.

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