However my knee came first. I'm already getting ready for TD2016. The ten days I was out there was an amazing experience. An emotional, physical, spiritual roller coaster of emotions and experiences. the sum is much greater than it's parts. I'm unable to explain what it really was like. Nor do I know if I could. This race is unlike anything I have ever done. You have to do it know it. It has taken over both my waking thoughts and my dreams.
So i'm working on plans for 2016, sans clipless pedals. One of the biggest things that stands out for me about the race is I never felt physically taxed. Not to be confused with being tired. I was exhausted some days but never did i feel like i was pushing my fitness into the danger zone. So I was fit enough to race but my knee was not. I certainly could have ridden more miles most days if my knee hadn't been so painful.
Now that I have done it , the stress of the unknown aspects of the race are gone. there are a few things i'd do differently. my two worst nights of sleep, 3 hours each night, certainly made my race much harder. Trying to recover sleep deficit is very hard when you're trying to race 100+ miles a day. Food I have finally figured out. Racing without Skratch Labs drink mix from the start was a mistake. Eating sweet food was awful with the exception of fruit pies. Real food went down and stayed down much better. Ice Cream is the best food to eat in town.
My Walt Works bike and fork were perfect. the wheels built by Rick Woy at Phoenix Cyclery in fort collins are still true. A testiment to his skill...the rohloff rear hub is certainly a mixed bag. while i saw drivetrains failing in the mud, broken hangers, blown chains, bent derailleurs ect. mine was fine. shifting could have been smoother. the 7th gear/14th gear got hung up on almost every climb if i didn't shift in advance. it did seem harder to spin in the rohloff, the drag was noticeable to me and others with them. so i'm changing the oil and hoping it help smooth it out.
all my other gear worked as expected. I did change my mind on riding with hydration pack. once I Added one to my kit I was sold. It enabled me from worrying about being able to carry enough water and food. I also noticed my Alpine Luddites bike bags I built for my bike were smaller than most, partly due to my frame size, 15", there wasn't room for bigger bags. I just needed extra room for food and water. Maxxis Icon tires, front & rear, were amazing. The Seven Cycles custom ti bars were the worst piece of kit. they kept rotating in the shim. Why am I not surprised? Thompson here I come.
I decided to switch to Schmidt Dynamo front hub to power a real headlight and charge my cache battery which will keep my GPS and phone/camera charged while I pedal. One of my lights stopped working on day three. going downhill ,in the dark, at 35 mph, was an experience to be missed with just one light. Rick is building this wheel for me too.
I put my bike back together last night from it's trip on Amtrak. I scrubbed some of the mud off, some i left on. I wore off the powder coat in places from rubbing. my back brake needs to be bled. Otherwise she just sits in the garage beckoning me to climb aboard and have an adventure....