Results for the 2012 Everest Challenge are in. I was bib #443.
No problems with recovery. Slight leg soreness. Almost fully recovered in 3 days.
- Massive improvement Stage 1— dropped ~39 minutes off my 2011 time, for a podium finish (3rd place). Stage 1 was an act of intense willpower, supported by 2 years of training.
- Slightly slower on Stage 2, but Death Valley Road climb was substantially longer/higher, so my 2012 time was really faster than 2011 when this is accounted for.
- Stage 2 was impacted by poorly understood power loss of 20-40 watts for 90 minutes right in the middle (more on that below).
- 5th place overall, lost out to 4th place by only 27 seconds!!!
My analysis of my times in 2012 vs 2011—
"-" means faster than 2011 "+" means slower than 2011 Bishop Creek/SL: -2.3% Pine Creek: -3.3% Rock Creek (full): -9.5% Glacier Lodge: -3.8% Death Valley Rd: +0.4% (BUT 3.3 miles longer!!!) Schulman: +3.6%
I am delighted with my gains over 2011. And bummed to have barely missed 4th place in the highly competitive Masters 45+ group:
- 27 seconds is about 1/4 pound of bike weight (by calculation). My bike this year was 4/10 pound heavier than last year, thus in theory the bike cost me a place. Or the 1-pound saddle pack repair kit cost me a place. Or whatever.
- In a race like EC, you can’t necessarily know how far behind (overall) you might be— had I known, I am certain I could have pulled my time down another minute or two with some modestly greater suffering (and without my competitor knowing it, all I had to do was advance on him a minute or two the 2nd stage). But I didn’t know. I should have sucked it up and suffered more, assuming that I was only seconds behind. This I did not do, and it cost me a place.
- I lost 20-40 watts of power for about 90 minutes for unknown reasons starting about 8/10 of the way up Death Valley Road— heat, dehydration, too much fuel, I just don’t know and not knowing is troubling. Even the descent down Death Valley Road I felt out of sorts, and had to give up time descending (brain-fade/concentration demanded prudence). I recovered half-way up the 3rd and final climb on Stage 2 and resumed passing numerous riders. Perhaps it was the heat— temperatures dropped and a nice cool breeze kicked in at about the 7500' mark.
Analysis to follow over the next week or so, but I write this at 12:52 AM after a 5-hour drive home after an 11-hour hike.