September 4, 2015/ Maria Parker
Now that I’ve had my 3rd full night of sleep post HooDoo 500, I realized that I left out some important details in my initial write up that some of you more interested in the technical side of the race might like to know.
Firstly, my Vendetta was equipped with a compact crankset (50 x 34) with an 11×36 cassette and 172.5 mm cranks. My Garmin was measuring an average of nearly 96 watts before it died in Cedar City. I carried just one water bottle cage under the boom and a small tire changing kit behind my headrest. For lighting I had two blinking red tail lights and used a battery powered prototype of a Surefire light built for me by my coach, Jim Verhuel for RAAM in the front. I used a Stages crank-based power meter. My tires were Continental GP4000SII 700c x 23. The handlebar was not stock. It was a drop bar that Jim cut about 5 cm off of the ends for me.
I was very pleased with this set-up. I felt like I climbed steadily and surely during the beginning of the race and even up to the top of the last big climb up to Cedar Brakes at about mile 410. I deliberately kept my power levels from going too high; and I didn’t have to walk a single foot of the steepest grades, which went up to about 17%. As the race progressed, and before I had difficulty with nutrition, I passed people going up hills, on the flats, and on the descents. I remember watching one rider on a traditional bike in front of me get up out of his saddle over and over again as I slowly gained ground on him and finally passed him. I was thinking about how comfortable I was, moving up the mountain like a locomotive. Here’s a video of that summit, you can see my climbing buddy summit after me:
I was worried about the descents because I’m naturally afraid of going very fast and I don’t get much opportunity to practice, but by mile 100 or so I began to feel really comfortable descending, relaxing back into the cushions and headrest and enjoying the rock-steady feel of the bike as it swept through the gentle downhill curves.
The most challenging aspects of the race were the nausea and the wheezing at altitude. The course was incredibly beautiful and mostly very quiet.
I mentioned that my Garmin died. When I get home (I’m still making the long drive from Utah to NC), I’ll try to revive it and post whatever portion of the ride is on there.
Next up you’ll be hearing from Ben Tomblin and Lief Zimmerman about their rides. Thanks again for the enthusiasm and support of so many friends! It means so much to me.