Before we dive into Chris’s great and detailed report below, I just want to write a few lines from my view as his coach.
Chris contacted me here at Peaks around this time last year looking to retain his motivation and hit some key race goals in 2018. Chris was no rookie though! A RAAM finisher (pictured) with many ultra events under his belt. Due to family and work commitments our training time was relatively limited at around 10-12hrs a week, particularity thinking to some of his key goals.
We built a plan to increase his endurance base and overall power. The goal being to build the size of his ‘Pyramid of fitness’ – a bigger base allows a higher ‘peak’ and thus increased room to work in the middle.
Its been great to see Chris’s application, effort and progress. It’s a pleasure to (nearly always) see a ‘green week’ in his Training Peaks account and to see how his race results have progressed.
Not only did we work on his pure power, we spent a lot of time via SKYPE and email discussing and working on optimising Chris’s TT position. Now this is not ideal, but as Chris is based in California and I am in Yorkshire, England, we had no choice! We were able to field test and tweak and improve things, helping contribute to the great result Chris discusses below.
This is just the start, we have big ambitions for 2019 and some real gains to go after… Over to Chris to tell us about the race.
October 27th 2018: Chris O’Keefe reports
I ended my 2018 season with the 24 Hour Worlds in Borrego Springs, CA. I raced this in 2015 prior to RAAM and had and did 410 miles. My goal this year was 432 miles which would be 24 laps. The main lap is 18 miles long and relatively flat. The idea of doing one lap an hour made sense to me logically. I knew that this would be easy to start with and get harder as the race moved on. I started out fast at about 23 MPH for the first lap for a time of 46 minutes or so. I knew that each early lap that I could do fast would put time in the bank for later on when the laps would be much tougher.
The first quarter started fast. I was easily holding 20+ mph and riding pretty well. I was drinking one bottle of fuel an hour that had 90 grams of carbs (60 Maltodextrin and 30 Fructose) and it was going down pretty well.
FIRST QUARTER STATS: 108 MILES
Lap 1: 46:00 23.0 MPH 251W
Lap 2: 47:59 22.5 MPH 231W
Lap 3: 49:02 22.0 MPH 221W
Lap 4: 51:24 21 MPH 206W
Lap 5: 53:10 20.3 MPH 194W
Lap 6: 53:23 20.2 MPH 191W
5 Hours 1 Minutes 21.5 MPH 215.6 W
On the seventh lap, my light died and I ended up losing 23 minutes waiting for the team to bring me my backup. Really silly to not have a small backup available to use in case of emergency. But, I tried really hard to not let it impact my mood or mental game. I was watching everybody pass me as I stood by the side of the road.
After my light debacle, I settled into a pretty relaxed next six laps. I was not worried too much about speed and just tried to keep moving at a consistent pace. I noticed that my eyes were starting to have issues around the 10th lap. I was seeing halos around lights and it seemed foggy outside. I was having issues seeing the fog line and new that I would need to get eye drops each lap to help with this. I got a bad case of this at the Furnace Creek 508 in 2013 and was temporarily blinded. This would ruin this race if we did not get in front of this and the crew was helpful in fixing this. We lost time each lap getting the eyes worked on, but it was well worth it as my eyes slowly started to get better. https://www.irunfar.com/…/vision-loss-in-ultramarathons-loo…
I am not certain but I believe I had this condition in 2013 and was getting close to it again this race. I need to be careful in dry conditions.
SECOND QUARTER STATS: 108 MILES
Lap 7: 1:16:09 14.2 MPH 192W
Lap 8: 53:59 20.0 MPH 185W
Lap 9: 58:00 18.6 MPH 179W
Lap 11: 54:57 19.7 MPH 178W
Lap 11: 54:57 19.7 MPH 178W
Lap 12: 55:27 19.5 MPH 179W
5:54:30 18.55 MPH 177.8 W
The third section is nice as it is cool out and the sun is coming up. My eyes were not working well and I could not see the turns that well. This slowed me down. It was good seeing the 12 hour racers come onto the course and blast by. The heat was coming on as you can see the first hour plus lap . It would rise to almost 100 degrees in the shade and felt a lot hotter on the bike. The team would make me ice wreaths using women’s stockings and I would put them around my neck. By the middle of each lap in the heat they would be melted, but they really made a huge difference.
THIRD QUARTER STATS: 108 MILES
Lap 13: 58:57 18.3 MPH 171W
Lap 14: 57:46 18.7 MPH 162W
Lap 15: 59:55 18.0 MPH 157W
Lap 16: 58:46 18.4 MPH 162W
Lap 17: 58:02 18.6 MPH 160W
Lap 18 1:01:06 17.7 MPH 143W
5:54:00 18.5 MPH 159.1W
The fourth quarter of this race is really tough. You are 18 hours in and it is all of a sudden very hot with no shade. The wind that seemed quiet all day seems to kick up more and the mental challenge to stay on the bike becomes much much harder. I could feel my power dropping with the heat rising and knew that this was where it was going to be tough. Just one lap at at time. I used my experience in RAAM to help me get through each lap. Each lap was two RAAM time stations in my mind and I would visualize the time stations going by. I actually did this the entire race. Early it may have been just a few seconds of mentally placing my lap to the RAAM time station, but by the end, I was really using this to take my mind off the suffering. “I’m riding to Athens Ohio. I can feel this breeze and hills move by me….” It seems to work well in making some of the tougher laps go by.
FOURTH QUARTER STATS: 108 MILES
Lap 19: 1:03:33 17.0 MPH 137W
Lap 20: 1:08:19 15.8 MPH 136W
Lap 21: 1:05:12 16.6 MPH 124W
Lap 22: 1:03:52 16.9 MPH 120W
Lap 23: 1:03:26 17.0 MPH 127W
Lap 24: 1:02:43 17.2 MPH 119W
6:27:00 16.85 MPH 127W
SHORT LAPS: 9.52 Miles
Lap 25: 17:09 16.7 MPH 119W
Lap 26: 15:53 18 MPH 119W
I ended up with 441.6 Miles and beat my goal for this race. I worked hard this year on riding faster and longer and more aero on the TT and my coach Andy Jackson really helped in getting me here in solid shape with the potential for a solid PR. Finding a position on the bike that is comfortable, yet aerodynamic is not easy. Like most things that require dedication and time, the minute you think you are really getting there you realize you are barely scratching the surface of what is possible. I plan on coming back next year with many more improvements in place to do even better. Thanks to my crew chief Seshu Gooty who really sacrificed alot of time to help me out and also Vijay and Prashant.
Training Peaks Stats