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Old September 9th, 2008, 10:57 PM   #21
sk8crazy
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Lawrence,

I am humbled by your accomplishment. Fourth place with iffy health issues, unfreakingbelievable. You went there to skate and skate you did. You have, without a doubt, my utmost admiration. You are the best. Cheers! "Further words fail me", she says as she reaches for a tissue to wipe her eyes.

Christine

Last edited by sk8crazy; September 10th, 2008 at 12:04 AM.
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Old September 9th, 2008, 11:16 PM   #22
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Default Good job!

Hip hip hooray to all the relay skaters, and a special cheer for the solo skaters..

Especially to our very own "MoreCowbell"!!!
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Old September 10th, 2008, 03:52 AM   #23
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Hooray to team SkateLogForum, and Hooray to Lawrence!

You're all machines!
== John ==
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Old September 10th, 2008, 01:12 PM   #24
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Wondergirl took some photos and video during the event (don't blame her for any photo issues though, she wasn't used to the camera), and I have posted them to my webshots galleries:
Entire album

Brian Shicoff in the paceline

Biff, Johnny, Luke, Phillip and Lawrence pulling a Relay skater

Yes, he skated the entire thing bassackwards

I was there, and feeling good (it was early)

Shicoff looking cool

Rick and Biff waiting to support their skaters, the shinny section in front was very, very slick

Lawrence: looking for his cowbell?

Great, I've got to skate one more lap to hit my goal
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Old September 10th, 2008, 03:10 PM   #25
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Got some photos uploaded:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thelife...7607215447833/
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Old September 10th, 2008, 04:28 PM   #26
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AustinSkater & Bryan great pics!!
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Old September 10th, 2008, 05:04 PM   #27
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Link to Intrepids blurbs and pics in the training log

Good pics Intrepid, Krista must have been really proud.

Way to go SQ and SkateLog teams. Some real impressive numbers.

I wish I could have been there with my skating buddies.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 05:44 PM   #28
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I just can't help but feel that this is an appropriate thing to post here.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 09:57 PM   #29
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Default cornering, meat, Lawrence, ranking

I had a good race but am a little hurt by Wonder Girl's distrust in my corner maneuver.

Bryan, did I hear that you were eating meat-based sandwich between laps?

Lawrence lived up to expectation. It was humbling to watch.
The condition worked against him in many ways.

The top French Coussy was the only person on course who seemed to have a chance against Lawrence in time trial type situation. The top 3 solo skaters worked together for 5+ hours. To them it was more like a 19.5 hour skate + 4.5 hour recovery.

I'm working on a very wordy race report.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 10:36 PM   #30
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Good job on your podium finish, Johnny!
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Old September 10th, 2008, 11:51 PM   #31
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My result: 119 laps/315.55 miles/508.13 km, 4th place. No podium, but a new PR by 49 miles!

Thanks for your kind words everyone, especially Johnny. Congratulations once more on your awesome performance! You were much stronger than I gave you credit for.

I'm working on my own race report, will post that with photos soon.

P.S. to Christine: Renee relayed your message to me mid-race, thank you! I did my best to keep smiling.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 11:58 PM   #32
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Looking forward to your race report Lawrence. You are an inspiration to a lot of us.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 01:38 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by More Cowbell View Post
P.S. to Christine: Renee relayed your message to me mid-race, thank you! I did my best to keep smiling.
You are more than welcome. It is so easy for someone not participating to say something like that from the sidelines, but I am so happy you did your best. Like I said a number of times ... the thing I remember most about you was your amazing smile during and at the end of the 24 hour last year. I am so looking forward to your report.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 05:49 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by More Cowbell View Post
My result: 119 laps/315.55 miles/508.13 km, 4th place. No podium, but a new PR by 49 miles!
You da man Lawrence! Remarkable average speed improvement over last year!

Sounds like you might have been right up there with an even playing field. I think you should stand on your stairs and pretend it is a podium . Maybe even go to the top step.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 06:04 AM   #35
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Still working on the race report, but here are a few photos to whet your appetite...


Crashed out in the paddock just after the race. I did not move from that chair for two hours.


The solo podium. Johnny is in the yellow/red jacket.


My feet and ankles as of Wednesday night. Not for use as flotation devices!

By the way: great photos, Bryan! You put a lot more effort into titling and tagging your Flickr account than I do. I liked how you noted my tattoo in one of my finishing photos. Also liked the "all f---ing night" tag.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 06:38 AM   #36
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Oh man, those feet... I know that feeling...

They need to be stuck into a cooler of ice

How about the back, and the hands?
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Old September 11th, 2008, 12:01 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnny View Post
Bryan, did I hear that you were eating meat-based sandwich between laps?
Not between laps, but when I took a break I would eat a turkey/cheese sandwich and drink some chocolate milk. It's how I trained nutrition-wise this past year, and I had plenty of energy throughout the night.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 04:37 PM   #38
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Ouch Lawrence! My ankles are hurting just looking at that picture!
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Old September 11th, 2008, 05:02 PM   #39
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Ouch Lawrence! My ankles are hurting just looking at that picture!
The scary thing is, they look a lot better this time than they did at the end of last years 24hr Inline.
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Old September 11th, 2008, 07:00 PM   #40
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Cool the long ass story, and I'm sticking to it

Montreal 9/6/2008
24-hour skate, loop course, Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve (4.32 km)

_Expectation
I decided to make Montreal the 2008 "A" event when Tibetan border closed.
I looked at past winning times and thought them reachable.
For 2008 the field would double in size, and Le Man winner would participate. Other factors included the single-mindedness of Lawrence, the top-returning participant. I thought getting on podium would be a moving target and picked 300 miles as the goal.

_Race Plan #1.
Stick to the eventual leader like glue. Stay with paceline when possible. Basically race like an Italian road cycling sprinter. Stop every 4 to 6 hours.
The obvious flaw is my ability to identify the right lead at the start.
This plan also didn’t match the goal, but it was early in the season and all my neurons were devoted to duathlon and the Tibet trip.

_July Austin rehearsal
Brian Shicoff organized the 12-hour skate in Austin.
I suffered unexpectedly. I went out too hard, ate too much. I watched in awe as Lawrence (aka More Cowbell) tapped out steady rhythm.
Lessons:
Steady pace
Minimum non-rolling time
Minimize calorie requirement
Don't challenge the climbs

_Race Plan #2
Let Lawrence set the pace.
3 scheduled stops at hours 12, 18, 21
Reduce calorie consumption.
New goal: 289 miles.

_Last minute surprise
Biff got a solo spot few weeks before the race. This resolved many issues. He would hand me food and provide an hourly lap pull. We would discuss race strategy on the course. I didn't want Biff to overexert because of his upcoming Austin Ironman 70.3

During actual event, Biff surprised me by hourly 3-lap pulls at the speed I needed to recover and provided flexibility of variable heart rates between his pulls.

_Race Plan #3
First 12 hours: Ignore ranking. Stay mostly aerobic and keep moving. Shoot for 144 miles.
Assuming podium finish nonrealistic, hold 13 ~ 14 mph. No stop. Rolling recovery.

_Pre-race
I wanted to hammer out a quick lap the moment I saw the smooth course.
Participants prepared their space with lawn furniture, air mattresses, hammock, clotheslines, shelves, heat guns, and espresso machines.
I resisted the urge to socialize and lay on the paddock floor.
Biff reminded me yet again this is a 9-month journey and a once-in-a-life-time opportunity, and that I could consume large quantity of comfort food after the race. My heart rate was in racing range before I put skates on.

15 minutes before the race, I finally laced up and started the warm up. My body felt heavy after the 3-week taper, carrying friends’ expectations, good wishes, and GPS’s.

_Crazy first hours
In less than 1 hour the big solo pack caught us slow starters. I jumped pack, started to average 18+ mph. I monitored my heart rate thinking these fast laps could be my undoing, but free speed was hard to resist. I vowed not to repeat my Austin mistake while flirting with anaerobic threshold.

We spotted the somewhat-official 24-hour skate record holder Philippe Coussy. He wore the same outfit and $1200 frame as in Le Man photo.

Soloists chatted away. No one seemed to breath hard. A 23-year-old with knee brace described how he blew the left knee doing single-leg 400-lb press. Brian Schicoff and Bryan McKenney seemed to have too much fun. Brian actually cut the line to do extra pulls. Majority of the soloists were capable of impressive marathon times.

Finally it was my lead at bottom of the hill. I slow the pack down to 11 mph climbing.
"You don't pull?" A skater complained with French accent when the impatient skaters formed another paceline to pass me. It was pointless to explain I don't pull fast when there are 22+ hours left. Someone answered the question:
"He doesn't pull; he's from Texas." I thought it was pretty funny.

_Wet
Rained. Just like last 3 previous years.
Energy bled with each stroke. I double pushed just to avoid slipping. Inner thighs started to complain. I don't know how Mark Sibert skated with yellow Matters in the rain in 2007. He must had better technique. But it was too late to sign up for his workshop. Most of us left the paceline of unsustainable speed.

I made a wheel change stop. So much for skating the entire 24 hours. 2 Hours later I heard that lead pack was down to 6 but still hauling donkey. I started to question Lawrence and my chance for a top 6 finish.

I was glad I chose the Peumo with visor instead of the lighter Atmos. Water still got into my eyes. Not putting sunscreen on forehead was a good decision.

Skaters crashed left and right. There were 2 invisible slippery patches at a turn Biff and I kept lose traction yet couldn’t avoid step on. I focused on minimizing underpush and staying in the draft. Under the condition there was no way to avoid crash if the lead skaters went down; might as well draft aggressively. A pretty red fox showed up oblivious to the danger of human presence. She didn’t laugh at supposedly good skaters losing balance all over the road.

_Energy
"It's not how much energy you use, but how much you save." Robbie McCuen on 2007 Tour de France.

I divide the 2.7-mile smooth course into 3 parts.
1. Climbs and turns
2. Headwind
3. Tailwind straightaway
Like a street corner prostitute, I waited for relay racers to carry me through the headwind section. I accepted anyone from 12 to 21 mph. Beggars can’t choose, but wider the better. Some relay racers gave up few strokes to ease my transition then didn’t ask me to pull.

To reduce calorie requirement and muscle strains, I under pushed the turns and threw no crossover the whole race.

Biff brought my nutrition to the course; I pick things directly out of his fanny pack. This eliminated speed variation required to grab items from stationary supports’ outstretching arms.

I did spent extra calories to high-five the guy who skated backward. Just had to.

_Real-time decision
Skaters were chatty after adrenalin returned to normal level.
"You have to climb 100 steps to get to the washroom." A tired soloist complained.
"Then you have walk down 200 steps just to come back down." A local relayer agreed.
This was how I decided Gatorade bottle was the way to go with which Renee was very impressed with.

_Mistake
Temperature dropped with the rain.
I asked Biff to get my arm warmers and long pants ready. I mentally ran through each step and suddenly realized putting on tights required taking the skates off. I didn't think I could bear to put the skates back on. I decided to resolve the cold knee issue by ignoring the problem.

_Negative incentive (9pm)
BBQ in the air. I became immensely hungry. The event organizer had a sick sense of humor and made the skater go through the aroma every lap. This probably would seem funny when I look back. I wolfed down all nutrition in the pockets and craved a big hamburger with no lettuce, no tomato, and no buns.

This was when I noticed some relay teams used Madison-style exchange. Many of these racers held speed beyond my competency. They usually flew by as if I were standing still. Morgan passed me twice; each time I felt the need to improve my DP.

_Brief cooperation with MC
While I focused on staying in others’ slipstream, Lawrence tapped out consistent strides like a metronome. We finally hooked up in the dark. Our alliance came to an abrupt end due to his cramp. We wished each other luck before parting way. He was hurt, teammateless, laps behind, and unable to hold 25+ mph for the fast straightaway. Yet somehow I thought he could still kick my butt.

Saw Shicoff couple times. He looked uncomfortable but said he was OK.
"Just slow and steady."
His body had difficulties holding core temperature, and he wisely brought the cold-weather gears.

I couldn't recognize McKenny in the dark.

_Surviving the 2nd half
Getting through the first 12 hrs without significant discomfort was a major goal.
"You should feel so fresh you could do another 12."
I felt great at 1 am.

Biff told me to continue the strategy of not worry about my ranking. "All the rabbits have gone to sleep."
Road was mostly dry by now. All body parts functional. Stomach complained only once about this unnatural diet.

I had little confidence about reaching 289 miles at this point. I tried to pump myself up: "I'm just like the record holder Eric Gee except I have smaller legs and inferior techniques. I have no previous experience on the course, seldom skate on wet pavement, don't make my own boots, don’t train as hard, and never came close to winning national title at any distance." But Eric fought the 2007 wind using aerodynamic equipment; my race condition enabled me to minimize headwind while enjoyed full benefit of tail wind. Advantage was clearly on my side. Yeah, the official record was going down.

Confidence evaporated at hour 12.5. The outside of right knee stiffened from the cold. I took my first slow recovery lap, which didn't help enough. I reinstated the 12-hour break and spent 5 minutes to warm up the knee while Biff put the yellow Matters back on. I doubled the ibuprofen for remaining of the race.

_Mistaken identity
I registered as Texas Flyer but wore a plain jersey that allowed changing without taking helmet off. Biff wore the very visible red-yellow skin suit. People started to congratulate Biff on the top 5 standing and probably wonder how he skated that far while spending so much time in the pit preparing nutrition.

_Grave yard shift
Statistically 3 ~ 6 am is a big hurdle.
I was busy finding drafts, monitoring nutrition, and generally being terrified of crashing. The 3 hrs flew by. My stomach was digesting well. I added 2 Gu’s to reduce the chance of confusing hypoglycemia with a character flaw.

I was amazed how my form held. “Trust your training,” Biff reminded me.

_The other French skater
2 French skaters entered the race after good results from Le Man 2 months ago.
It was about hour 16 when I noticed #222. He asked the usual: where are you from, how many times have you done this, how can your French be worse than my English.…
Pretty soon we realized we were competing for the same podium spot. Biff confirmed, "He has 2 laps on you. You’re 4th."

Biff and I launched attack after attack; he valiantly came back every time, digging deep. #222 labored to get back to my draft after Biff left the course for the hour. I spotted 2 fitness skaters and pulled the closer one to the other's slipstream. 3 of us hammered for next 2 miles and left the little dude in the dust. 2 very strong relay racers pulled my next 2 laps. I was spent but made up a lap toward the podium. Lap time later showed that #222 blew up trying to defend that lap and Lawrence moved up to 4th.

I was concerned about Biff. The cold and wind couldn’t be easy on someone who made 1 hourly long stop. I actively sought out a pack to stay in so Biff doesn’t have to work so hard for remaining hours.

Coussy was all over the course, jumping from paceline to paceline. You could spot his seemingly inefficient arm swing miles away. Biff confirmed his lap count was untouchable. 2nd place was # 202. I didn’t see him the first 18 hours and for a while wondered if it was McKenney.

7:30am (5.5 hrs to go)
The 2 hills became huge about this time. I was in so much pain I didn't notice the sun came up. I looked forward for the ankle blister to pop to reduce the pressure. I found a French-speaking pack doing modest 12-minute lap. Coussy sat in this pack and skipped all his pulls. So did a well-dressed jovial guy with no bib number on the back. He pulled out the phone and apparently asked about me. Biff found out that the numberless skater was 2nd place Normandeau Patrick; he had 1 lap on me. We tried to lap that pack but #203 and #204 countered our every move.

#201 and Coussy were also protective of Patrick. #201 looked like it was hard for him to skate this slowly. 5 against 2, not counting possibly other Quebec skaters recharging in paddock. I wanted to attack but needed at least 5 fast laps assuming everything went my way. Chances were I would bonk, not to mention lengthening Biff’s recovery for very little gain. What I really wanted was surpassing Coussy, which seemed mathematically impossible at that point.

"You were out teammated" Bryan commented later.

I made the logical move. I begged: "you keep me in this pack, and I don't attack." A very win-win proposition except they didn't trust me and apparently thought my legs could still throw lots of sub-10-minute laps. They didn't ask me to pull, which was a bad sign.

_House of cards
Difficulties climbing. Bladder full. Left ankle not holding correct wheel angle.

I was several laps ahead of Lawrence. 5 skaters working together could attack me in various ways. Alternatively I could draft behind Lawrence and lose at most 1 lap, but Lawrence had incentive to pass me.

I took the easy way out: a short nap before rejoining the paceline. Patrick and his teammates finally relaxed with this 1-lap bribe. 'til the last lap, my heart rate stayed lower than pre-race when I lay on the floor. Top 3 skaters used little energy while Lawrence cranked out his miles, ready for us to falter.

I stayed in the comfort zone and counted all the things that could still go wrong: cramps, crashes, lower back spasm, mechanical, GI…. I started to ignore the race script to focus on staying upright. I skipped gels and water, assuming all the heavy lifting was done. I skipped the sunscreen and GPS swap to reduce the chance of dropping things. All I had to do was keep moving. There ain’t nothing wrong with a 4.5-hour cool down skates.

Biff went to the front to control pace. At every little climb, he tried hard not to put a big gap in front of the world record holder who skated like god just few hours ago. Coussy grabbed his left thigh the whole morning. He gave me a blank look when I asked him what’s wrong. Should’ve learned some French for this trip.

I had no idea about my mileage. I decided to focus on the podium finish. The body strongly suggested that I minimize muscular usage.

_Happy ending
15 minutes to go. I jumped out and announced, “I will lap you twice!” The well-rested pack actually reacted before figuring out the joke. The racers were allowed to finish the lap they're on at the 24-hour mark. Our slow-moving paceline organized to make the cut off. I sat behind the domestique #201 and beat the clock at 25+ mph. That boy could move! It was so exhilarating we didn't realize we dropped our teammates.
That little 600-meters fun probably cost me days of recovery time. I spoke with French accent by this time. "*&^$! We have to climb this *&^%$# hill again...."

Everyone congratulated Coussy. I shook hands with #222, Patrick and his helpers. I received pats (above waist) along with bunch friendly-sounding French words. They let Biff and I moved ahead, and I forgot to ask about Coussy’s left thigh. Biff and I crossed the line under the Christmas light together. I was grateful to have a teammate to share that moment.

_Post-race
Watching the 24-hour community tearing down the paddock home was a bit depressing. Many skaters departed before the race ended. Felt like I missed a party.

Biff didn't want me help packing. "Get out there and have a good time." He knew I wanted to visit with racers from DC, skatelog, and the new friends who helped me in past 24 hours. I only knew them by backsides and voices. I never hooked up with those skaters. My brake ability disappeared and kept running into walls, cars, and people.

I return to assigned space to take skates off and found heavily blanketed Lawrence in shock paying for his pursue. I accidentally stepped on his toenail sitting on the floor all by itself. He graciously congratulated me and commented my speed range as a major factor. The silver and bronze finishes were team efforts. Lawrence's podium chance was slim by hour 18 simply because he was out-teammated. We couldn't touch him if this were a time trial.

_Back to real world
The salt in hotel bathtub made me notice all the cuts on my shins torn open by rear wheels. I again marveled at Lawrence’s wattage.

Walking wasn’t too difficult for the next 3 days, though Biff and I briefly considered abandoning Guinness because the bar had big stairs.

Wednesday morning. I sat at a Dallas Donkin’ Donuts watching the SUV wives doing morning shopping. The suburban scene looked surreal and easy to give up. I limped in the car park full of Lexus and Infinities and couldn’t remember how I pictured my future at the Mercedes-filled Orange County Costco parking lot in 1993. 15 years ago I didn’t know I’d appreciate donut with coffee this much.

I still wondered how much my training would need to change in order to close that 1-lap deficit. Maybe all it'd take was a pair of knee warmers that could be put on while skating. But races are unpredictable. Without that 1 lap lead, the Canadian team could've exhaust me by 10 am. I was lucky to have few enough things to go wrong that I had a good race.

_Thank Yous
Shicoff for coordinating.
McKenney for encouragements with that confident McKenney style.
Renee, Rick and Andrea for staying up all night to support the solo skaters and for peeling me off the floor.
Mark Sibert for making me thinking about the event at 2007 a2a dinner.
Eric Gee for saving my skin and convincing me a sprinter could do well at such event.
Texas Flyers, my team, for providing paceline skills, discipline, introduction to endurance, and camaraderie.
Relay racers for slipstreams and extra room at the relay area.
Lawrence for education, encouragement, and inspiration.
Biff for going beyond the planned roles (manager, support, trainer) and risking his Ironman 70.3 to optimize my race. And for being a friend.
Tanisha for guiding me through triathlon then took away my bragging right by finishing the same Ironman 3 months after C-section, and for giving Biff up for the duration of the event


HRM info
avg: 67%
max: 90%
12005 cal
time: 24:14

Crash: 0
Blister: 2

Distance data:
avg speed = 13.8 mph
fast lap = 28.748 km/hr = 17.97 mph
lap count = 124
total distance = 334.8 miles
total race time = 24:13:53

Approx time not skating
5 min, change to rain wheels
1:30am 6 min, wheel change + nap
10:30am 8 min, bathroom + nap

Planned nutrition:
Hammer gel; espresso 8
Gu gel; no caffeine 2
Red Bull 5
Amino Vital 8
ibuprofen 12
Viviran 4
SportLegs 30
Antifatigue Cap 26
Endurolyte 23
Perpetuem 15
Calories per hour: 233

course
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Last edited by johnny; September 16th, 2008 at 08:03 PM.
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