Today was a fun morning. I was invited to speak to a 10th grade Life Management class for an hour. I got to tell them all about my ultra running, and we talked about goal setting and stuff like that. It was cool. For some reason, my wife thought it was rather comical that I was talking to anyone about Life Management, I can’t imagine why. I mean, our life with 3 kids, 4 horses, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 2 birds, a hamster and fish is the most calm, peaceful, relaxed, well planned, and organized vacation of a life that a person could ever imagine. Isn’t it Honey? NOT! Yea, I suppose complete chaos is a more accurate description, but hey, only WE know the truth. SERENITY NOW!!!!!
Archive for October, 2007
Today was a trip for me, Emily and William to head to Gatorland. In case you didn’t know, World Famous Gatorland, established in Orlando in 1949, and in the opening collage of photos in Chevy Chases VACATION movie.
We had a blast. Photos at http://daveharperphotos.irun100s.com/GalleryThumbnails.aspx?gallery=44350
On a running note, I’ve got a few nice short runs in. I’ve only ran one 4 mile run between Badwater and Furnace Creek, and I’ve been surprised now good I feel on some short, fast 3 mile runs. They’ve been very fun.
Tomorrow I’m going to try to get out and paddle my kayak for a couple hours.
Well, I am finally home, and managed to take care of most of the ‘must do’ items that were awaiting my return. I’ve uploaded several photos from Furnace Creek in my Photo Gallery with some explaination for each. http://daveharperphotos.irun100s.com/GalleryThumbnails.aspx?gallery=43192
While I was in California, my Dad was having some issues of his own, and during my time away, he had chest pains, went to Dr. for tests, scheduled and had open heart surgury to bypass two 70% clogged arteries, with a third completely closed. Uh, ok, he was fine before I left. He is otherwise in excellent health and never had an actual heart attack or damage to his heart ( he walks a couple/three hours every day) and is recovering wonderfully. Though I’ve not been able to visit, as I’ve been sick myself and can’t chance being near him.
I’ve been very sick since the event, with sinus and lung congestion/coughing. I suspect I was actually getting sick as the race was beginning. My family had been all circulating a very bad cold for the last couple weeks, and I’d avoided getting it, I thought. I think I was actually becoming ill as the race was starting, and this was part of my problem with lack of strength/energy. That is pretty much how I felt, weak, achy, tired, even though I was trying to ride 500 miles. The cold air, especially at night, just made things worse and started a cough that really hampered my efforts. In any event, it’s over now, I rode 300 plus miles with 200 of it into headwinds, and much of it uphill and on horrible, rough, slow pavement. I’m rather glad to have it behind me.
Everyone wants to know “what’s next”, and I’ve yet to have anyone believe my answer, “Nothing”. I am pretty much finished with the ultra events for now. I’ve accomplished everything I could imagine, in fact, much more that I ever would have dreamed I was capable of doing. Two Western States 100’s in a row, Three Badwater 135’s in a row(one of them 10 days after doing WS 100). A total of 7 100 mile or more completions, four 100 Kilometer runs(62 miles), seven 50 milers, 10 50k’s plus pacing for 50 miles on three occasions for friends in 100 mile runs, and most all of these done out West in snow, or high altitude, and with tremendous amounts of climbing. Just prior to all that, I completed six Ironman distance Triathlons(2.4 mile swim/112 mile bike/26.2 mile run). I’m proud of what I’ve done, and am at a point that I’m ready to move on to new challenges and adventures.
On Tuesday, two days after FC508, after getting my bicycles and equipment packed and shipped home, I had time to do some hiking/running near crew Steve’s house outside of Los Angeles. I did 3 1/2 hours in some very cool mountains, some photos of that are in the photo gallery, including a find of some clam type seashell fossils in the trail. These fossils where at about 1,100 foot elevation and 8-10 miles from the ocean, but they are clearly from a time when they were under the ocean, very cool photo of them in the gallery.
Thank you so much for all the well wishes and encouragment during my event. I appreciate it more than you know!
From Dave. After end of my race.
I want thank everyone for the well wishes, both on the blog and privately. I will respond in due time, but am posting this before I have been able to read them.
I gave it my all, but again came up short in this difficult event. I went 308 miles at which time it became apparant I would not have time to finish the remaining 200+ miles before the end of the event..
My day started fine, I rode comfortably, conservatively, and felt good. My plan was to go very easy the first day, to be strong in the night and second day. I did that exactly as I planned. By mile 70 or so, I was feeling some weakness in my legs, which I attributed to almost continual headwinds. The whole first day, into the night I was fighting headwinds that were draining my energy.
It was also very cool, then very cold at night. I train almost exclusively in Florida heat, usually the hottest part of the day, and this cool air had me coughing and hacking with an asthma like cough. I literally could not take a full breath.
At mile 200, I managed to climb 5000 foot Townes Pass, bundled up in all the clothes we had and started the 18 mile descent about 2:00AM. Toward the end of the descent, I was falling asleep on the bike. I was dozing off, and would wake up veerying across the road.
Traveling 35-40 mph. Steve and Willy were wantiing to stop me, but were afraid to pull up beside me with my erratic driving. I did make it down, and we agreed a nap would a smart thing for me.
We took a long break, but at this point, were getting dangerously close to putting ourself into a position where it would be impossible to have enough time to finish.
I had the help of a partial tailwind heading south through Death Valley, but my legs were not strong. By the time we arrived at Furnace Creek, I told my crew my calculations were putting a finish out of reach. They disagreed and convinced me to continue. 18 miles later at Badwater, we stopped, and again I explained I did not have the strength to do the remaining 235 miles at the pace needed. After some debate, I was back on my bike.
Three miles later iI stopped and told them I was done. A friend of mine crewing another racer, saw that something was going on, stopped. After a talk with him, I removed my bike computer watch, an all time/distance tracking devices. I would get back on the bike, and just ride. Ride hard, enjoy the scenery, be happy to be in the California Desert. I got on my time trial bike and cranked the next 30 miles of rolling desert at 24-26 mph average. As I started the climb out of Death Valley, I started throwing up, then dry heaving.. I stopped and ate, recovered, and continued climbing. I worked hard for another hour to climb Jubilee Pass. I got to the top made the short descent after it, but my pace was slow. Eventually, we all realized that it was impossibe to complete this event. I saw no honor in prolonging the suffering, just to say I rode 350 or 400 miles before the end of the race if a legitmate finish was not possible..
We packed it up, and started driving the 200 miles to the finish line. We stopped and tallked with many racer/crew friends on the course. Stopped and gave additional inner tubes to a Dutch team that had had multiple flats, and was out of spare tubes.
I honestly do not know what went wrong on this day. My bikes performed perfectly, my crew was perfect and never missed a beat, I rode exactly the way I wanted early on, and my training has been SO good. The headwinds and cold contributed I’m sure, but for some reason, my body just wasn’t performing at 100%.
I’ve attempted this race twice now, and both times come up short. I do these crazy events to find my limits, and in this case, I’ve found it. It was an adventure, but not one I’ll be repeating again. Thanks so much for all the well wishes!
By Crew, (Steve and Willy)
The race started on time, 7:00am, the riders rode the first 24 miles without crew support. When David arrived he looked in great shape. Fed him a banana and changed water bottles. He climbed the short uphill and then he has been going great guns. The temperature was cold when he started but by 11:00am when he reached the windmills sun was shining the sky was
California blue. 34
5:30am Santa Clarita, CA. Pre-Start.
This is the morning. All the training will be tested over the next 48 hours. It is early here, I just took a shower, and relaxing for a few minutes while the crew gets things together before we go get some breakfast. All the feeling of anticipation, worry, anxiety, excitement are there, more than ever. I know I am ready to tackle this beast of a race. I can’t wait for us to start. As we are moving around the hotel, and gathering our last minute supplies and making final preparations, the intensity is slowly increasing before the 7:00am start.
These are my last few minutes to truly relax. From 7:00am for the next 40-48 hours, the clock will never stop. Whether riding, eating, stopping to fix something or peeing, the clock is ticking and you are in a rush. The clock never stops. And my goal this year is to pretty much never stop either. Not entirely true, we do have a plan of certain strategic breaks, but by and large, I must be on the bike all the time.
Team is ready, I am ready, I can’t wait to get things started. We are going to have a great time out in the California desert. I can’t wait for the climbs, I think I’m ready for them, and the descents down the mountains, well, they are pretty scary with the high winds and often dark of night, but they are exciting and fun too. Especially when you get to the bottom in one piece.
That’s the last you’ll hear from me till this adventure is complete. Other posts will be by my crew, Steve and Willy, or my wife, Tamara.
Dave and crew packed the support vehicle and headed for race check-in arriving around 3:30PM. The parking lot was beginning to fill up with support vehicles ranging from two door hondas, mini vans and trucks. The cycles were nothing but the best and fully loaded. Anyone rookie would be impressed with the competition. Dave appeared relaxed and cool. The weather was windy and cold. Just before leaving the freeway we had a small sprinkle. Upon arriving the van was decked with all the required safety equipment and the photo is of Dave and the Furnace Creek official reviewing the van safety compliance.
If you want to monitor the FC508, which starts Saturday, visit http://www.the508.com/2007web/ They will have photos, video, and mid-event updates of what is going on.
Two magazine articles were just published about my 2007 Badwater, Furnace Creek, Death Valley Cup attempt. I’ve scanned both in with links below. I think both writers did an excellent job.
Competitor Magazine, did a nice full two page color, with this article in the ‘centerfold’ of the magazine. It was very nice. http://www.daveharper.com/2007CompetitorPage1.htm
Focus Magazine is a Lake County Magazine, and also had a very nice full page article. http://www.daveharper.com/2007FocusMagazine.htm
Tomorrow I head to Los Angeles, for Saturday’s start of the Furnace Creek 508, and completion of the Death Valley Cup. I believe I’ve prepared well this year. My bicycles arrived at my crew’s house today(in LA). I will spend Thursday putting the two bikes back together, and doing all my grocery shopping and preparing the van for two full days in the desert. It’s going to be quite an adventure, I can’t wait to get started. I can just imagine the first miles, it will be cool and very slow as we are escorted out of town, then the first climb on San Fransiquito(sp?) road, the Windmill climb a few hours later, Mohave, Trona, the Trona Hump, the anticipation before Townes Pass, at mile 200. Two hours of maximum effort climbing, followed by sheer terror of descending at 50mph down the curvy mountain in the black of night. The eary quietness of Death Vally as we travel south past Furnace Creek, then Badwater, where we will probably stop and pay homage for a few minutes. Then the deceptively long and tough climb out of Death Valley, on rough roads and seemingly endless uphill. Shoshone. And that’s where I was forced to abandon last year. In a way, it will be where I start this year. Everything I am doing is to get to Shoshone, in good enough condition to finish what I started last year. This time, we are going to do it. My crew is ready, and I’m ready.