IPWR Q&A

While I gather my thoughts on the IPWR, I thought I would share some interesting questions about my IPWR ride posed to me by a friend and avid dot watcher Justin B.

I am also planning three articles on my IPWR adventure and another one on my tips and tricks for the IPWR. So stay tuned, more to come.

Physical

What preparation/training did you wish you’d done more of? Equally, was there any area that you felt you wouldn’t focus on next time?
Overall I felt my physical preparation for the event was about right. Over and above my regular training which consists of approximately 270 – 300k a week, I conducted a couple 700 – 800k weekend training rides and a couple of Audax rides. These rides were completed with a full load so I could test what worked and didn’t work. The improvement to this would be to do a 3-day ride because by the third day your body starts adapting more to requirements of ultra-distance cycling. I would have also spent more time sleeping rough and getting used to how to handle it.

What surprised you most in terms of how your body felt/responded as the ride progressed?
I suppose it was the lack muscle soreness. After the first day my muscles were quite sore like you would get from a typical day’s riding but quickly your riding style adjusts, and the muscle soreness goes away. Of course, this was replaced with knee, tendon and Achilles soreness.

What issues/injuries/niggles did you encounter and how did you manage them? Did typical issues like Achilles and knee issues present themselves? Was there ever a point where you had concerns about doing some permanent damage as you pushed on?
Day 4 was a bad day for me. Up until then I had been travelling well and feeling good. I suffered a muscle spasm in my left quad which just about stopped me, it certainly slowed me down and hurt like hell, not even Panadiene forte would ease the pain. When it happened, I was forced to peddle 20k on much one leg to get to Cocklebiddy. The next day was slow going but it came good. For days after it was sensitive and I couldn’t put much pressure on it, but I was able to ride.

I don’t think I was ever concerned about doing permanent damage. Sure the body was in pain but the nothing that bad to cause me concern. Post ride, however, I am suffering Ulnar Palsy in my hands, it’s worse in the left hand which is still numb, and I have noticeable lack of fine motor skills and strength in both hands.

The oft-non-discussed saddle sores?
On this, Bepanthen is your friend, applied early and often, and saddle soreness was never an issue. I also used a “touring saddle” as opposed to a flat racing saddle which increased the comfort, in my case, it was a Brooks C13 Cambium saddle. That said, in the first few days there was some mild discomfort while the body adjusted but after that, it was never a concern.

Do you think that end-of-day leg compression helped with recovery and would you do anything different next time in terms of end-of-day recovery routine (such as stretching, timing of food intake etc.)?
I would tentatively say yes to this even if it was mainly psychological. I will say on the nights I slept rough I didn’t bother putting on compression leggings and still seemed to perform at the same level, so I guess the jury is out on whether they actually did anything but like I say, mentally it made me feel better.

The biggest thing for me at the end of the day was to get a least of a litre of milk into me post ride. Both for hydration and the proteins contained in milk to aid my recovery. Because time off the bike is limited, I wasn’t doing any stretches but then I’ve never been one for post ride stretching. Likewise, there was no specific timing for food. It sort of depended on where you were. For instance, in small country towns, you pretty much knew where you would sleep so you could eat then work out where you would sleep. In bigger places like Geelong or Port Augusta finding a safe location was the priority then you would eat.

Aside from the last 25 hours, what was the most challenging segment of the ride?
Without a shadow of a doubt, Day 16, the climb over the Snowy mountains. Since leaving Melbourne, there had been a lot of climbing, and I had a lousy start to day 16. By the time I reached Adaminaby I was smashed physically and mentally if I wasn’t so close to the finish, I may have pulled the pin. By the end of the day, I really hated the bike. I will say it was the spirit of competition that kept me going, which is a nice way of saying I wasn’t going to let Callum beat me 🙂

Do you think your body composition changed much from start to finish (overall weight and lean body mass)?
I was curious about this one myself, thanks to my Garmin smart scales I can report no real change in my overall weight and my body fat went from 14.2% to 13.8%.

How much sleep do you think you were averaging? Did this change much from start to finish?
On average I was getting 4-6 hours sleep a night, and this remained pretty constant throughout the event. After day 2, I stopped using my alarm, I figured I would just let my body wake up when it was ready, as it turned out, this was about 4-6 hours and at around 0230 -0300h in the morning. On some occasions when I had a bad night’s sleep, I would also have a 15 -30 minutes power nap mid-morning.

What if anything would you change in your race plan? That is, would you start harder/easier next time, now that you know how your body will react over the totality of the ride.
Not much, my mantra was always not to over extend myself and stay in control. So while my start may have seemed a bit slow, it paid dividends in the second half of the race. While others were struggling, I was still feeling strong. 

Nutrition

What was the food plan?
We all start with lofty ideals of eating well, but the realities of roadhouse cuisine soon smash this. Even what I would consider basics, such as muesli bars and pre-package fruit can be hard to come by. From Merridan to Port Augusta it was a case of buying what ever food you can get your hands on that will keep you going, Pizza shapes and lollies such as snakes or frogs became a big staple in my diet. That said, some of the things I tried to stick by, as previously mentioned, I was big on milk post ride and in the mornings. Eventually, I developed a liking for about a litre of UpnGo and a tin of fruit as my first breakfast. I found this worked well because you could buy it the night before and carry it for as long you needed and this was enough to get me through to second breakfast.

Did you have any issues managing glucose/energy peaks and troughs?
Constantly and I was a bit of a slow leaner in this respect. It wasn’t until after Adelaide when I had awful morning I gained an appreciation of how much food I needed to be eating. It was always worse in the mornings until I started having the UpnGo and fruit in the morning.

How did the caffeine intake work out? How did you balance the need/timing to ingest caffeine with making sure you weren’t too wired when you needed to sleep?
I was relatively conscience of my caffeine intake; I pretty much stopped my caffeine intake around midday except for a couple of cokes in the afternoon. My primary source of caffeine was No-doz tablets, I just found it convenient, and it was easy to measure my intake. That said, I still found getting to sleep problematic, which you wouldn’t think would be the case after the early start and long miles each day.

How happy were you with your ability to carry enough food and especially water between the multiple 190km distances between services in the first half of the race?
Completely happy, that said,  given this was a primary concern of mine before the race I had put a lot of time testing my set-up. Besides the standard two frame mounted bidons I had two modified cages on the forks which were capable of carrying 1.5l bottles of water, plus I could carry up to 3 one litres bottles in my jersey or back-sack, so that gave me a total capacity of 8 litres.  As it turns out, that was more than enough. Likewise, the back-sack proved a good way of carrying extra food those long stints.

Did you ever reach a point expecting to find water/food only to find this was unavailable? How much emergency reserves did you carry?
No, but came close, sometimes you just need to be a little creative. Racing over the Easter break certainly made things harder as many shops had reduced trading hours. When I say creative, there was one instance when I arrived in Noojee to find all the shops closed and the pub didn’t start food service another hour. This would mean giving up an hour day light to wait for food when I still had another ~60k to ride for the day. Filling up on bar snacks like chips and ice cream wasn’t going to cut it given I was already hungry.  Then I noticed the kitchen hand preparing what I can only guess was to be rice puddings but at this stage was just tubs of rice. So after some surprised looks from the bar staff when I asked to buy some of the tubs, I managed to secure 3 tubs of rice for dinner. It was rather basic but did the job and was better than waiting around for service to start.

As for reserves, I did the start the race with some extra protein bars and zip-lock bags of oats and sugar, which did prove useful across the Nullarbor but after Port Augusta there was enough towns and shops, that with a bit of forward planning would ensure you didn’t run out of food.

Bike and Equipment more generally

What (if anything) would you change with your bike setup?
Not much, overall the set-up worked well. Naturally, there would be some tweaks to the set-up, but I’ll cover this in greater detail in a separate article on my set-up.

Was there any piece of equipment you wish you had/didn’t need and would consider leaving home next time?
No, about the only thing I didn’t use was a small travel towel and a spare tyre. I was always aiming to travel light, so I had put a lot of thought into what I needed. In regards to clothing, instead of carrying bulky warm weather gear I relied on the principle of layering a number of light layers to cover me from cool to cold conditions.

Would you take a bike lock next time, of could you get away without one?
I actually took a lock with me for this ride, and yes I would take it again. It’s like insurance, sure you might not need it, but it does offer peace of mind when you are in a populated area. Not to cast dispersions on Geelong, but for instance, when I went to the Woolworths in Geelong at 2100h, I was sure glad I could lock my bike up.

Navigation

Any issues with navigating the course? Did you have a hard-copy of the route with you in case your electronics failed?
No real issues, I did take a few wrong turns, but this was more due to me not paying enough attention to my nav system, rather than the system itself. I didn’t carry a hard-copy backup and must admit almost came unstuck because of it. Would I carry a hard-copy? Probably not, I would probably look at how I could carry a backup navigation device.

Any part of the course/towns that were more challenging in terms of food/water resupply?
The first half was challenging because of the obvious distances involved, but at least the supply was predicable. The second half was made challenging because of the unpredictable trading hours of the Easter break, which probably more challenging.

 

IPWR Roster 2018

Since the cancellation of the Indian Pacific wheel race, the roster has been a bit fluid. Many names have dropped off; we have some new names and of course, some might still doing the ride but just not tracking on Maprogress.

Below is a list of names I have gathered from the original roster and the names that are on the unofficial start list on Maprogess. https://indianpacificwheelrace2018.maprogress.com/

As a summary, it appears we will have;

  • 47 riders there on start day,
  • average age around 42.
  • Four of six teams are still starting
  • 31 of the original roster are still starting, with five new starters appearing on the list.

If you spot any errors, let me know.

 

Firstname Surname Country Gender First Time Still Racing Age Bike Comments
Lamri Adjis Netherlands M Y
Paul Ardill Australia M N
Mathew Augutis Australia M Y ? 34 Kinises Racelight Crossed off on Map Progress
Kerwyn Ballico Australia M N Y 57 Specialized Roubaix
Chris Barker Australia M N Y 56 Belgie Spirit
Andre Batista Portugal M Y Y 30 Polygon Helios
Haydn Bevan New Zealand M Y Y 43 Specialized Seqouia
Brad Bootsma Australia M Y Y 45 Curve Belgie Spirit
Karlo Bozic Australia M Y
Joshua Burt UK M Y
Paul Chartres Australia M Y Y 46 Focus Izalco Team SL
Vikram Cheema Australia M Y Y 44 Trek Domane 5.2 Starting Monday
Daniel Cooper UK M N
Mark Croonen Australia M Y Y 49 Ridley Noah
Narelle D’Arcy Australia F Y Y 55 Giant Liv Envie
Ryszard Deneka Poland M Y
Juan Diaz Thailand M N
Jessica Douglas Australia F Y
John Duggan UK M Y
Korpol Engtrakul Thailand M Y
Brad Ewings Australia M Y Y 44 Curve Grovel
Ryan Flinn Sth Africa M N Y 30 Curve Belgie Spirit
Tobias Forkel Germany M N Y 31 Giant Propel
Troy Fynmore Australia M Y
Damian Glover Australia M Y
Brett Goodsall Australia M Y
Rupert Guinness Australia M N Y 55 Curve Belgie Spirit
Ben Haines Australia M Y Y 47 Curve Belgie Spirit
Callum Henderson NZ M Y Y 35 Curve Belgie
Michael James Australia M N Y 63 Cervelo S3
Parrish James Australia M Y
Harley Johnstone Australia M N Y 40 Giant tcr
Bernardka Juric Slovenia F Y Y 44 Specialized Ruby Comp
Joseph Kendrick UK M Y Y 27 Dolan
Robert Leslie UK M Y Y 49 Canyon
Matthijs Ligt Netherlands M N
Purdie Long Australia F Y Y
Phil McCorriston Australia M Y Y 37 Canyon Endurace
David McCoy Australia M Y
Laurence Mead Australia M Y Y 50 Trek
Tess Mercer Australia F Y
Douglas Migden USA M N Y 60
Hugh Moore Australia M N
Rolf Moser Switzerland M Y
Naresh Nagabhushan India M Y
Stephane Ouaja France M Y Y 31 Specialized Venge
Su Pretto Australia F Y Y 56
Pawel Pulawski Poland M Y Y 34 Hultaj
David Robinson USA M Y
Sanne Rohe Denmark F Y Y 53 Curve Belgie Spirit
Heath Ryan Australia M N
Chris Savage Australia M Y
Vilas Silverton UK M Y Y 50
Jesse Stauffer USA M Y Y 30 Specialized Roubaix
Claire Stevens Australia F N Y 42 Baum Orbis
Dean Strike Australia M Y
Steven Sullivan Australia M Y
Damian van Loon Australia M Y Y 45 2018 Giant Defy Advanced Pro
Ryan Vecht Australia M Y Y 41 Walty Titanium
Michael Wacker Germany M Y
Daniel Welch UK M N Y 28 Enigma Echo
Simon Wile Australia M Y
Henry Yates Australia M Y Y 18
Andrej Zaman Slovenia M Y
Iban Zapata Australia M Y Y 45 Curve Belgie
Abdullah Zeinab Australia M Y Y 24 Trek
David Barstow USA M N Y 29 Fairdale Weekender New to the roster
Antony Lamb Australia M N Y 55 Trek Domane New to the roster
Tess Jetnikoff Australia F Y Y 26 Curve CXR New to the roster
Shane Beaumont Australia M Y Y 50 Trek Madone New to the roster
Mark Aldous Australia M Y Wheelie Crazies
Warren Nicholls Australia M Y Wheelie Crazies
Vanessa Aldous Australia F Y Wheelie Crazies
Luke Laffan Australia M Y Wheelie Crazies
Jules Noton Australia M Y Bike Nuts
Fernando De Andrade Brasil M Y Bike Nuts
John Dunlop Australia M Y Bike Nuts
Greg Berry Australia M Y Bike Nuts
Myfanwy Peebles Australia F Y 3G1B
Rohan Murray Australia M Y Y Fikas 3G1B
Lauren Benoit USA F Y 3G1B
Louise Soplaint Netherlands F Y 3G1B
Dominic Shepherd Australia M Y Y Double Century
Paul Moore Australia M Y Double Century
Jen Filby Australia F Y Double Century
Luke Jeffery Australia M Y Double Century
Mike Magetti Australia M Y Stranger Than Ficton
Justin Eagle Australia M Y Stranger Than Ficton
Jaye Fatchen Australia F Y Y Stranger Than Ficton
Shane Hayes Australia M Y Stranger Than Ficton
Dan Rankins Australia M Y Viking Overlanders
Michael Ryan Australia M Y Viking Overlanders
Sam Cuninghame Australia M Y Viking Overlanders
Dale Tan Australia M Y Y 44 Viking Overlanders
Elizabeth Long Australia F Y Y 40 Focus Mares Melburn Durt;Also riding Solo
Kate Fowler Australia F Y Melburn Durt
Elise Gould Australia F Y Melburn Durt
Stefania Capogreco Australia F Y Melburn Durt

IPWR training ride

As part of my preparation for the IPWR, I conducted another ride over the Australia day weekend. Being a long weekend the plan was to complete the 820kms over three days over the same course I used the qualifying ride(but complete the loop this time), in the end, I cracked the 820kms in two days. It was a good hit out with some things breaking and some harsh conditions. Ironically I was happy it wasn’t all smooth sailing, it was good to have things break and fall off, to see what needed fixing for the real thing in March.

The significant change for this ride was the removal of the frame bag. In its place, I strapped just the tool case and tubes to the frame, with the rest going into a “day” pack attached to the seat bag. The big upside to this configuration was easy access to the water bottles.

A side on view showing the new configuration

The other was a change of wheels, after destroying the Pro-lite wheels on a decent from Mt Glorious the week before. The replacement wheels, a set of Vision Trimax T42 wheels and overall they performed very well. Combined with some 25cc tyres, they offered a comfortable ride, did not get affected by crosswinds and the aluminium rims provided much better braking than the full carbon Pro-lite wheels.

Day one – 415kms

The day got off to a bad start with one of the new 1 litre bidons ejecting itself before sunrise. I initially thought the bidon was broken, which would have severely hampered my ride. However, it had only come apart. So after scrounging around in the dark, I managed to find all the pieces, and after a quick water stop in Beerwah, I was on my way.

Next, the power meter started playing up. Not critical but for a data junkie like me it was annoying not to be capturing this data. Eventually, I gave up and completely disabled the power meter. After the ride, I discovered one of the Garmin vector two pods was damaged by the chain.

Somewhere near Pomona, about 180k into the ride, the day bag, which was attached to the seat bag fell off but stayed hanging on due to the attached safety strap. Ironically the strap almost caused the bag to swing into the drive chain, which could have been catastrophic.

Just before Kilkivan (266kms), it started to rain, the light rain was a welcome relief from the heat, and I managed to get into town and under cover before the heavy rain started. The heavy rain lasted for about 15 minutes and was a good excuse for a break. I was wet, but the shoes were dry so on balance, I was happy with that.

Coming into Goomeri, I copped a bee sting, a minor annoyance but resolved it was there to toughen me up.

Unlike the first ride, I made it to Kingaroy before dark; I was feeling good and determined to push on. I attribute this to the I was eating and my determination to take shorter breaks off the bike. Also, I believe it was easier because I was familiar with the route after riding it for the qualification ride.

Riding on the country roads at night was a new experience. While I was a little apprehensive, the reality is the roads are quiet, it’s cooler, and you have great awareness of approaching cars. I quickly settled into a rhythm and continued to ride.

I had planned to stop at MaidenWell, but it was only 2000h, and I was on 399kms. Yeah right! I was going to stop on 399kms! So I pushed on.

I arrived in Cooyar around 2030h, and with a storm on the horizon I figured this would be a good place to stop for the night. Being Australia Day, the Cooyar hotel was in full swing, but the publican was helpful and friendly, setting a room up for me and finding me a feed. While I waited for dinner, I enjoyed a couple of beers and did they go down well. All up I was showered, and everything sorted by 0930h and was in bed.

Day two – 412kms

The day started 0230h, I was feeling surprisingly good, the legs had recovered well, and I was on the road by 0300h. I made good early progress riding through the early morning hours. It’s quiet, cool and great time for some personal reflection. But after 2.5 hours I was really tired/sleepy. A short break, some caffeine tabs and I was right to go; it was amazing what a difference it made.

I stopped in Dalby for breakfast; it was still only 0600h so nothing was only except for McDonalds, so a Maccas breakfast it was. Two breakfast burgers, two hash browns and a large coffee. That hit the spot, and with no shops open to resupply, I pushed on.

From Dalby to Cecil Plains was all good riding, cool and a slight tailwind made it easy going. It was a quick resup in Cecil Plains and back on the road. By this time it was warming up and turning east back to Brisbane, it was going to be headwinds for the rest of the day. All up another 250kms of heat and headwinds. The one upside of the headwind, it provided more airflow, I felt cooler for it. So despite the heat, I was feeling pretty good, but it was slow going.

The back roads to Pittsworth were quiet and in a rather poor condition and this is where I broke the left armrest on my aero bars. Another good lesson for the big ride and something that will need to be reinforced to support my weight.

I stopped in Pittsworth and Clifton for food and water and kept going, still feeling pretty good. While the headwind was a pain I had a good tempo going and kept the bike rolling, all the time trying to keep the break time to a minimum.

The last major stop was in Gatton. I was starting to feel it, but with only 100kms to go I was determined to push on and finish. At this point, I had a change in course, initially the plan was to ride home via Lowood but it was getting dark, being unsure of the route and with a low battery on my phone and no map I figured it was not a good course of action. So I ended up riding home via Laidley to Ipswich, a route I have travelled many times before.

So what is the deal with Ipswich? I ride 750kms without being hassled once. Riding through Ipswich in the space of an hour, hassled three times. Anyway, after escaping Ipswich, I was feeling drained or maybe I just slowed down to enjoy the night ride. Either way, it was good to get home.

So what worked?
After experiencing considerable foot pain on the qualification ride, I purchased some new shoes, half a size bigger and softer than my Sidi shoes. They don’t have the support the Sidi have, and it feels like you are riding in slippers, but for the long rides, they worked well and no sore feet.

Brooks C13 saddle, for this ride I changed to the wider 158mm Brooks C13 saddle, and it was simply awesome. After 820k in 2 days, not a hint of saddle soreness, enough said.

For this ride, I dropped the Frame bag, and I have to say it was a good move. I still made use of this space by strapping my tool case and tubes to the top tube. I didn’t need the storage in the frame bag, and it made getting the water bottles easier. However, the day bag idea needs to be refined and easier to access.

IGA and Foodworks. You can get all your supplies at a reasonable price, and most them have hot takeaway food as well. Which helped make for a quick stop.

What didn’t work?
Solar power bank. I discovered too late that if any part of the solar panel is covered the unit won’t charge and even then it seemed to charge so slowly that I am not sure how useful it would be. I ended up losing the power bank because it was poorly attached in an effort to get it to charge. As an alternative, I’ve opted for a power bank with fast charging. The idea being it should charge in 3 to 4 hours while I sleep and not having to worry about it on top so it can charge means the unit can be firmly stored away, so I don’t lose it.

My big takeaway from this ride is not to overextend myself. In part, this was confirmed by reading several blogs about the IPWR and clearly where people get into trouble is pushing on when they should have rested. For the race, I will aim to average 350k a day. I won’t consider riding through the night as I believe a good night’s rest is essential for fatigue management and to allow a proper recovery so you can keep going.