Wednesday, May 26, 2010

RAAM Expectations

RAAM starts two weeks from today. I have a hard to telling exactly how physically well prepared I am, but I think my coach has me where I need to be. If not, there's not a lot I can do to change that now.

I'm often asked how I'm going to do this year, and the honest answer is that I just don't know. I had some tough times last year, but then after Taos I probably had the race of my life. My goal is to knock some time off of last year's total, but who knows what this race will throw at me. I consider RAAM very much like a boxing match. It's going to hit me with some hard punches right to the gut, and we'll have to see how I respond.

For those who will follow the race over the Internet, my expectation is that I will get off to a very slow start. I am not a rabbit, but rather a tortoise, and I get into some real trouble when I try to be something that I'm not. Jure Robic, Mark Pattinson, and Gerhard Gulewicz will most likely dominate the first three race positions - these guys are the real deal. After that, there's 27 other solo racers (including myself) who are extremely well qualified for this race. You can see their profiles at Most all of these other solo riders are physically faster than I am and would kill me on a 24 hour race. My hope is that I can be very competitive with these other 27 riders by sheer willpower and perseverance, though I acknowledge that they seem to have this same drive that I do.

Whatever happens, I hope everyone enjoys the race.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

RAAM blog test #2 Bejan Abtahi

My name is Bejan Abtahi I will be posting for Kevin during RAAM along with a few other members of the crew. I am a Spring 2010 graduate of the University of Georgia, and I'm looking forward to providing you all with some truly epic photos and videos of Kevin's big ride.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blog test

Pre RAAM blog test
Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Big Push

Last year I took a week of vacation about 1 month before RAAM. The idea was to get out in the sun as much as possible and try to get acclimated to the summer heat. I have a nice, cushy air conditioned work environment which does nothing to help me get ready for the desert. My mind and body were screaming for some time off work earlier in the year, but I knew that it wouldn't be hot enough in March and April. Anyhow, I had a double cross Georgia record attempt scheduled for the end of my vacation week, so I primarily took it easy on the bike. I remember spending at least a couple hours each day programming the RAAM route into my laptop while I sat in the sun.

I had the same plan this year for my week of vacation, as it seemed to work for me last year. However, my plans for another cross state record to cap off the week did not work out, and in hindsight I think that this was for the best. It takes a lot of planning and effort to orchestrate and attempt something like that, and I was afraid of spending too much nervous energy trying to make it go well. Instead, I devised a plan to be on my bike for about 120 miles on each day of my vacation. This would simulate 2 time stations on RAAM, and hopefully would kick start me into shape in a similar fashion that BRAG did in my early days.

John Hughes revised my plan in a masterful fashion. Instead of steady efforts each day, he wanted me to ride long some days and ride hard other days. I would still do plenty of distance, but he wanted speed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The net result was an awesome week as follows:

Saturday: 270 miles on the North Georgia 400k. Absolutely mountainous (19,000 feet of climbing).
Sunday: Nada. I meant to do a recovery ride, but I was tired and got home late.
Monday: Visited the doctor and got good results. Did a 1 hour time trial (22.1mph, HR 152). Very windy conditions. Total of 40 miles.
Tuesday: Rode 120 miles before attending the Augusta Sports Council awards ceremony. Got to shake hands with Cal Ripken Jr.
Wednesday: Rode another 1 hour time trial, very windy conditions (21.7mph, HR 148). Total of 40 miles.
Thursday: John Hughes saw my time trial numbers and decided I was over training. I did a casual 40 mile ride.
Friday: 12 mile easy ride.
Saturday: Rode 180 miles. Most of it was with Gator Knievel until he decided to do a no-looking front flip over a speed bump at 21mph. He made it about 1/2 way. I think there's a reason 50 year old guys don't do a lot of BMX.
Sunday: rode 100 miles.

Week Summary: The final total for the week was 800 miles. I was motivated to put in a strong week and I think I did it. The temperature never got above 90 degrees, but I can't do much about that. I did get in just about every type of riding possible, including mountains, rough roads, and speed work. In a perfect world I wouldn't have to pay bills and could do this all the time, but I think I've prepared about as well as I can under the circumstances.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sacrificing my health for RAAM?

Customers where I work often hear about what I've done on the bike and make comments like "you must be in really good shape." I never know how to respond; I am very active, but I have no doubts that pushing the limits for RAAM is not exactly healthy. In fact, I sometimes think that it's a little closer to an Evil Knievel type health plan. I would liken my training to that of a boxer - most of the training is very good for me, but then there's the 3-4 big events a year that are not doing my body any favors.

All that said, I've been feeling pretty tired and run down lately. I train hard, so I was having a difficult time trying to determine if it was just a result of all that training or if I had some other underlying condition (anemia, thyroid issue, etc.). I hadn't been to the doctor in 6 years, so I thought it would be a good time to get checked out (especially since I have a hereditary leaning toward heart disease). The results are in:

Blood pressure: 120/80
Weight: 160
Total Cholesterol: 174 (under 200 is good)
HDL: 62 (over 40 is good)
LDL: 84 (under 100 is good)
Hemoglobin: 14.3 (normal)

sugar levels, thyroid Levels, ferratin levels, electrolytes, kidney, and liver tests were all normal.

Long story short is that I'm in pretty good shape and ready to give this race another try.