Despite my challenges on the 400K two weeks ago, I've decided to proceed with the original plan and ride the Many Rives and Fords 600K this weekend sponsored by DCRand.
After posting my thoughts about the aborted 400K attempt two weeks ago I received a lot of condolences, suggestions and advice. Some of it was even quite constructive. Perhaps the most striking was a simple reminder about weather norms and the calendar. It seemed unlikely the 600K weekend would replicate the extreme heat and humidity we saw in Frederick and if I complete the 600K, there was a full schedule of 400K options in the middle Atlantic region this summer and early autumn. So maybe my SR campaign didn't need to end this year. Also the 600K includes plenty of rolling terrain but very little in the way of extreme grades or very long climbs.
As it stands now the forecast calls for highs in the 80s with humidity mid day only around 50-60% rather than sauna like conditions we saw two weeks ago. I'm encouraged by that.
I've also concluded that my fueling strategy for 200K distances simply isn't adequate for 300K+ distances. At both the 300K in late April and the 400K late May trouble set in around mile 100. Both were in rural countryside and offered no opportunity to stop for a meal until mile 60+ but on Fleche in early April we stopped at mile 35 for a planned control, at about mile 60 to bandage a team member's hand after a fall, and at mile 90 for another planned control, at mile 125, mile 155, etc... we never went more than 40 miles without a stop of 20+ minutes and in several cases up to an hour. Our team captain also called a couple of road side stops either immediately before or immediately after particularly tough stretches.
I will need to be my own team captain this weekend and enforce a similar pattern. I will stop approx every 40 miles to eat, stretch and cool down. Since this route is similarly rural.. some of these increments will mean finding some shade and stopping to take my shoes off and cool down. I'll adjust the menu to include a bit more sodium after reviewing the latest science on electrolyte replacement. A bag of salty chips at each control and more gatorade and perpetuem to supplement plain water.
Here's the course. 378 miles. I have 40 hours to complete it, 4:00 am Saturday until 8:00 pm Sunday. The route is a double loop and we check back in at the start, a hotel, at 242 miles in. With a little luck I'll have sufficient time to stop and take a couple hours nap at the hotel and perhaps a shower and fresh kit. Wish me luck.