2011 Tour d’Italia Rally Review

The 2011 Tour d’Italia continued the trend of breaking records for attendance by North Texans. Every parking space was full, and everyone seemed to enjoy the atmosphere as a small town stepped up and delivered on a great course, through 3 counties!

The theme for this year has been early, blasted heat and humidity, combined with a breeze out of the south-southwest that can play havoc with riders’ expected hydration schedules, time out on the course, and overlapped wheels. But with a start that was more laid-back, and actually was about 8 minutes EARLY, ten riders, including ex-local, now San Antonio-based, Ed Solis, didn’t disappoint. From the rollout, Ed, followed by Park Place rider Jimmy Olson, set a BLISTERING pace, and held it steady at nothing less than 28 miles per hour! The winds were already up, and by the time we got to our first major turn, I looked back and counted just the 10 survivors, including Curtis Palmer, Tino, and others. From that point forward, we basically rode a solid, 2-man-wide, 5-deep tempo paceline, and stuck together for the next 90 minutes.

It really wasn’t until about 48 miles in, on FM308, that discipline broke down and the attacks, what few there were, began. Tino, the Ft. Lewis professor, launched an attack on a set of rollers, and only about 4 or 5 of us had the strength to respond and reel him in. Looking back, he then asked me, “Do you have it in you to do one more?” I replied, “Yes, 600 watts for 30 seconds”. I then proceeded to push this, and when we looked back, it was just the two of us. We continued trading 1 and 2 minute pulls, until we got to the final left-turn for home at Frost, TX, and then rode side-by-side in to Italy. By this time Tino’s back had begun to give him trouble, and the finish went uncontested. Final time was 2:46, with the others coming in at 2:48 or so.

The reward? 6 cups of Gatorade and 2 different flavors of Sno-Cones, plus a burger if the stomach could handle it. Congratulations were passed around, resolve to see each other next week in Waxahachie and next year at the Tour d’Italia.

Now, one thing does merit some attention. Over the past 10 years, I have succumbed to about 4 separate heat stroke events, at Copperas Cove, at the Richardson Wild Ride, once at the Goatneck, and once last year at  the Cow Country Classic. This year was looking to be the same, but I have implemented three tools that may be helpful to you as you ride these events in such extreme conditions.

1)   I am riding with a jersey that uses “Coldblack” fabric. This fabric repels about 80% of the sun’s IR radiation, and thus can lower your skin temperature by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps keep you cool, so you don’t overheat. It also feels cool to the touch, so something is going on, though I can’t really explain it.

2)   In addition to the jersey, I have taken an older Camelback with a Coolmax fabric that places the bladder right next to the skin, filled it with ice, and removed the hose. As the ice melts, it leaks out of the nipple on the bottom, across my back and legs. It’s messy, but it serves as a VERY effective swamp cooler, and lasts about 2 hours before going empty. Most 100K’s are in the 2:30 to 3:00 range, so it also works to save energy and keep the body running cooler.

3)   Finally, I have been drinking about twice as much, downing at least 100oz. over the first two hours of the rides. In the bottles, I have begun using a product developed by Dr. Stacy Sims and Allen Lim, two of the pioneers of wattage training, and now nutrition and hydration. Google “Stacy Sims Cutting Edge Hydration”, and then look up their secret drink mix formula at http://www.secretdrinkmix.com. It’s a different theory that just may help save your season like it did mine. If you order, enter “OnlineBikeCoach” in the coupon code for a discount.




1 Response to “2011 Tour d’Italia Rally Review”

  1. 1 Kurt
    2011/06/27 at 9:18 am

    Great article Rich, and great ride. I am envious of your training and intensity. Keep writing! BTW, tell Curtis I said hello!

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