Dutch Ultraskate 2016 – por Felipe Scolfaro

(Traducao livre com ajuda do google – Complete english version at the end)

Este post sera extra longo , a experiência de andar na minha primeira Ultra foi esmagadora e eu tenho que tentar fazer justiça, colocando-o no papel. Certifique-se de gostar do post, se você quiser ver algumas fotos, já que eu vou enviá-los gradualmente

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https://www.endomondo.com/users/6638857/workouts/754179621

Eu fui para a Ultra holandesa para descobrir quem eu era, depois de pensar por um tempo que “eu poderia fazê-lo”, e acabei por compreender  como claramente somos animais sociais, que isso era mais do que qualquer coisa, um esporte de equipe, mesmo para os riders individuais.

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O passeio é tão longo que depois de algumas horas grupos de riders com ritmos relativamente semelhantes começam a se formar, as pessoas fazem pausas, os riders nesses grupos se separam, caem para trás ou remam para longe quando seus corpos começam a reagir ao desgaste acumulado do passeio.

Eu estava andando sozinho ao redor da pista durante o primeiro par de horas, quando vi outro rider todo de preto (também vestindo uma t-shirt gBomb), mostrando-se ao meu lado, vindo da parte de trás. Shumie Loo começou a conversar comigo, e decidimos juntar-se para que pudéssemos desenvolver melhor e ter alguma companhia durante o passeio. O termo “corrida” começou a perder o seu significado nesse ponto, menos de 2 horas apos o comeco da coisa toda. Discutimos estratégias, descobrimos que acredita-se ter um ritmo semelhante e uma estratégia semelhante e decidimos ser  uma equipe.

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Adrian Oh, com quem eu tinha falado com antes da Ultra, também teve um ritmo semelhante e estratégia, e meu plano inicial era andar ao lado dele desde o início, mas ele disparou para a frente durante a partida, e eu escolhi não ir além do meu imaginado ritmo e continuou sozinho antes de ser acompanhado por Shumie.

Depois de algumas horas, quando eu já estava pegando o vacuo do Shumie ( e vice-versa), vimos Adrian à frente de nós com seu t-shirt verde brilhante, e concordamos em alcansá-lo, por isso, aceleramos para onde ele estava, explicamos a história, a nova estratégia (o que eu e Shumi tinhamos acordado), e que estávamos usando o vacuo (drafting). Ele concordou em nosso plano e se juntou a nós. Nossa equipe agora consistia de 3 pessoas, e estávamos usando o vacuo um do outro (poupando energia) e revezando líderes constantemente. Sendo segundo ou o terceiro no “trem” vc sente quase como tendo um descanso…

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Passadas mais algumas horas, e Rosanne de Lange apareceu. Ela e Shumie são amigos e andam juntos, e ela decidiu se juntar ao nosso grupo também, então agora o nosso projeto de comboio (discutindo ritmo e estratégia e ajudar uns aos outros o tempo todo durante a corrida) consistia de 4 pessoas. Mal sabíamos que Rosanne se superaria ainda mais nas horas mais tarde para reivindicar o Recorde Mundial Feminino, mas foi fácil ver o quão rápida ela era, especialmente quando meu corpo começou a sentir o cansaco em torno da 14ª hora. Foi um prazer fazer parte do ritmo mágico que ela tinha, um incrível poder e resistência.

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Durante o passeio, todos nós conversamos sobre as vantagens de juntar-se dentro do bloco, e todos nós entendemos a mesma coisa: durante o treinamento rodamos sozinhos frequentemente , mas durante a Ultra, montar um grupo ia nos levar muito mais longe. E assim começamos nosso projecto de comboio e começou a passar a maioria das pessoas na pista, com algumas exceções óbvias, fazendo um ritmo médio de 19-20km / h para nas primeiras 12 horas do passeio. Apreciamos a sensação de que estavamos , até aquele momento, bastante confortáveis para sustentar um ritmo que poderia soar inacreditável poucas horas antes …

Nosso plano era bater as primeiras 12 horas de passeio apreciando a luz do dia para colocar os aumentar os kms, e em seguida, diminuir para o resto da noite, esperando manter cerca de 15 km/h durante a noite. As últimas 4 horas, ninguém tinha idéia de como elas seriam, então tivemos que aproveitar o que podíamos com nossos corpos mais frescos, para nos colocarmos na faixa de 250milhas cumpridas.

Como eu disse, depois de 14 horas os meus 19-20km/h começaram a virar  15-17km/h na melhor das hipóteses, e tornou-se difícil manter-se especialmente com Rosanne, que começou a se afastar. Shumie ainda estava forte, e se juntou a ela, e eu e Adrian ficamos para trás juntos por um tempo.

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Dentro das próximas duas horas, a minha velocidade ficava caindo, e eu disse para o Adrian que eu não poderia segurar muito mais e que eu estava OK, e ele se adiantou em direcao ao nosso alvo. Foi então, em torno de 16 horas na corrida, que o meu plano de 250milhas(400km) para a primeira Ultra começou a parecer irrealista. Eu já tinha cronometrado 290km, com uma média ainda acima de 18 kmh, mas minhas pernas estavam ficando muito duras … Eu vislumbrei o marco de 200milhas “logo ali na esquina”, e decidi focar nele e depois ver se eu ainda conseguiria andar mais.

Quando isso estava prestes a acontecer, no meio das horas mais escuras da noite (cerca de 03:00), eu vejo as luzes verdes de Adrian aparecendo para se juntar a mim de novo! Começamos a conversar, verificar as condições de cada um, e eu disse a ele que eu tinha perdido minha coordenação e tinha muita dificuldade em manter os 15 km/h até então, o que está longe de ser o meu ritmo, e que eu bateria 200milhas e ia parar. Ele disse: “Eu vou andar com você, vamos juntos”. Nós andamos os últimos kms em modo “Estou quase caindo” juntos, e eu lhe disse que iria verificar com a cabine de comando assim que o meu GPS confirmasse números acima 320kms.

Assim que batemos a meta, nós dois fomos para a cabine, perguntei ao Jery Baan “Eu passei de 200milhas?”, Ele confirmou-me dizendo que eu tinha acabado de passar esse número, e disse a Adrian que ele precisava de mais duas voltas para chegar a isto. Adrian voltou e sumiu no horizonte, este foi a última vez que o vi antes do fim. A título de curiosidade, perguntei Jery qual era a minha posição, e ele disse “você está em 4º lugar para os pilotos individuais”. Por um tempo a ideia de “corrida” estava de volta, e eu me senti muito mal por ter de sair da prova após me manter no top 5 por mais de 18 horas do Ultra. Decidi tentar outra volta.

Falei com meu apoio: “eu vou cair, minhas pernas não estão a responder mais.” Jörg, meu vizinho e amigo que parece com “The Dude” . Ele foi a minha equipe de apoio para a Ultra. Ele também tentou me convencer a nao desistir, dizendo que eu deveria apenas “rolar” ate o final porque eu estava indo muito bem até aquele ponto. Isso me fez dar mais uma volta ao redor da pista. Então eu quase caiu para a frente enquanto pumpeava na escuridão, ouvi de meu GPS que eu tinha caído para um ritmo de 4:30min / km, pela primeira vez em 18 horas, e notei minhas pernas ja eram.

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Era isso, não manter 15 km/h ou mais, nas últimos cinco horas e meia, significaria não atingindo 250milhas. Ao mesmo tempo arriscando deixando de funcionar ou cair por falta de coordenação. O risco / recompensa simplesmente não fazia mais sentido, e eu encerrei a Ultra, fui para o vestiário por um par de horas para ver em que tipo de pernas eu estaria, dormi e acordei por volta das cinco, quando ja era dia novamente, apenas para perceber que as minhas pernas estavam muito duras. Eu não tinha caibras, nem machucados, nem me sentia tão ruim, mas estando tão descoordenado e lento acendeu uma luz de alarme dentro de mim. Eu não alcancei o meu objectivo ambicioso de 250milhas para a minha primeira Ultra, mas considerando o todo, eu estou muito feliz de ter atingido cerca de 206mi (330.75kms) oficialmente, em pouco mais de 18 horas, e eu vou chamá-lo de melhor treino Ultra que já tive, com um sorriso no meu rosto.

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É difícil, dói, a logística é complicada e desgasteante o treinamento, mas a experiência não pode ser substituído por qualquer coisa na Terra. A paz que eu encontrei durante essas 18 horas fica comigo até agora, e eu mal posso esperar para fazê-lo mais uma vez. Minha mente a mil. Uma grande saudacao para quem se juntou a nos, e para o Mark Groenenboom e pro Nicolai Rutkevich por me ajudarem a fazê-lo da melhor maneira que pude nesta primeira vez. Menção especial vai para Harrison Tucker que também me ajudou a extrair um par de voltas extras, constantemente me incentivando e torcendo quando tudo parecia ruim.

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__________________ Original:________________

*** RIDE REPORT – Dutch Ultraskate 2016 ***

This one will be an extra long one, the experience of riding my first Ultra was overwhelming and I have to try to do it justice by putting it on paper. Be sure to like the post if you want to see some pictures, since I’ll upload them gradually…

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https://www.endomondo.com/users/6638857/workouts/754179621

I went to the Dutch Ultra looking to find out who I was, after thinking for a while that “I could do it”, and ended up understanding more of how clearly social animals we are, that this was more than anything a team sport, even for the individual riders.

The ride is so long that after a few hours packs of riders with relatively similar paces start forming, people take breaks, riders in those packs get separated, fall back or push away when their bodies start reacting to the cumulative wear of the ride.

I was riding alone around the track during the first couple of hours, when I saw another rider all in black (also wearing a gBomb t-shirt) showing up next to me, coming from the back. Shumie Loo started chatting, and we decided to team up so that we could pace ourselves better and have some company during the ride. The term “race” started to lose its meaning at that point, less than 2 hours into the whole thing. We discussed strategies, found out we believed to have a similar pace and a similar strategy, and decided we were a team.

Adrian Oh, with whom I had talked to before the Ultra, also had a similar pace and strategy, and my initial plan was riding alongside him since the beginning, but he had darted forward during the start, and I chose not to go past my imagined pace and went on alone before being joined by Shumie.

After a few hours, when I was already drafting with Shumie, we saw Adrian ahead of us with his bright green t-shirt, and agreed on picking him up, so we sped up to where he was, explained the story, the new ride strategy (which me and Shumi agreed upon), and that we were drafting. He agreed to our plan and joined us. Our team now consisted of 3 people, and we were drafting and changing leaders constantly. Being the second or the third in the train felt almost like taking a break from riding…

Add some more hours to it, and Rosanne de Lange showed up. She and Shumie are friends and ride together, and she decided to join our pack too, so now our draft train (discussing pace and strategy and helping each other out all the time during the race) consisted of 4 people. Little did we know that Rosanne would rise up even more in the later hours to claim the Female World Record, but it was easy to see how fast she was, specially when my body started slowing down around the 14th hour. It was a pleasure to be a part of the magical ride she had, just awesome power and endurance.

During the ride, we all chatted about the advantages of teaming up within the pack, and we all understood the same, that during training we rode alone more often than not, but that during the Ultra, riding in a pack would take us further. And so we started our draft train and started lapping most of the people on track, with a few obvious exceptions, doing an averaged out pace of 19-20km/h for the first 12 hours of the ride, while enjoying the feeling that we were, up to that point, quite comfortable sustaining a pace that might have sounded unbelievable a few hours before…

Our plan was to hit the first 12 hours of the ride enjoying daylight to put our kms in, and then pull back for the rest of the evening, expecting to hold about 15km/h during the night. The last 4 hours nobody had any idea how they’d be, so we had to enjoy what we could with our fresher bodies to put ourselves in range for a 250mi ride.

Like I said, after 14 hours my 19-20km/h started turning to 15-17km/h at best, and it became hard to keep up specially with Rosanne, who started to pull away. Shumie was still strong and joined her, and me and Adrian stayed back together for a while.

Within the next couple hours, my speed kept dropping, and I told Adrian I couldn’t hold up anymore and that I was OK, and he moved on towards our target. It was then, around 16 hours into the race, that my 250mi plan for the first Ultra started to feel unrealistic. I had already clocked 290kms, with an average still above 18km/h, but my legs were getting really stiff… I noticed the 200mi milestone right around the corner, and decided to go for it and see if I still could ride afterwards.

Right when this was about to happen, in the middle of the darkest hours of the night (around 3am), I see the green lights from Adrian showing up to join me again! We started talking, checking each other’s conditions, and I told him I had lost my coordination and had a real hard time holding 15km/h by then, which is nowhere near my pace, and that I’d hit 200mi and stop. He said “I’ll ride with you, let’s go together”. We rode the last kms to my new “I’m almost collapsing” target together, and I told him I’d check with the booth as soon as my GPS confirmed numbers above 320kms.

As soon as we hit it, we both went to the booth, I asked Jery Baan “am I past 200mi?”, he confirmed me telling me I had just passed that number, and told Adrian that he needed two more laps to get to it. Adrian heeded and zoomed away, this was the last time I saw him before the finish. Out of curiosity, I asked Jery for my position, and he said “you’re in 4th place for the individual riders”. For a while the “race” idea was back, and I felt really bad about having to drop-out after holding a top 5 position for over 18 hours of the Ultra, and decided to try another lap.

I got to my support, and said “I’m going to crash, my legs aren’t responding anymore”. Jörg, my neighbor and friend who looks like “The Dude” and was my team for the Ultra, also tried to talk me out of quitting, saying I should just roll on to the finish because I was doing too well up to that point. That got me another lap around the track. Then I almost crashed forward while pumping into the darkness, heard from my tracker that I had dropped to a 4:30min pace per km for the first time in 18 hours, and noticed my legs were toasted.

That was it, not holding 15km/h or more for the last five and a half hours would mean not reaching 250mi, all the while risking crashing badly out of lack of coordination. The risk/reward just didn’t make sense anymore, and I called it an Ultra, headed to the locker room for a couple hours to see on which kind of legs I’d be on, slept and woke up around five, when it was day again, only to notice my legs were just as stiff. I had no cramps, no injuries, didn’t even feel that bad, but being so uncoordinated and slow lit an alarm light for me. I didn’t reach my ambitious target of 250mi for my first Ultra, but considering the big picture, I’m very happy having reached circa 206mi (330.75kms) officially, in a little over 18 hours, and I’ll call it the best Ultra training I’ve ever had with a smile on my face.

It’s hard, it hurts, the logistics are complicated and the training consuming, but the experience cannot be replaced by anything on Earth. The peace I’ve found during these 18 hours stays with me until now, and I cannot wait to do it all over again. My mind is blown. A big shout to anyone who joined, and to Mark Groenenboom and Nicolai Rutkevich for helping me do it as best as I could for this first time. Special mention goes to Harrison Tuckerwho also got a couple extra laps out of me by constantly cheering me on when everything looked bad.

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PS: Ehren Mohammadi‘s story…

So I have to add this after a few days, and after talking it up with Ehren. It’s not because I didn’t want our draft train to look like the “train of death” that I omitted it in the first place, but because I didn’t know how he himself felt about the whole ordeal and thought it was just better to keep quiet about it and let him process it. We ended up deciding, though, that it’d be best to share it as well, since a lot of people saw the train and were compelled to join us at one point or the other.

We learned what happens when you don’t watch out while drafting (me, Shumie, Adrian and Rosanne) pretty early during the Ultra. At one point or the other, all of us had a wheel stepped on or stepped on somebody’s wheel. This is exactly the same as a wheel-bite, with the difference that if you’re looking ahead you can see the foot coming and may be able to jump off in time (my case).

After that, it became very clear that especially on turns, you have to watch out for which foot the guy in front of you is (or will be) pushing off of. If you’re lined up with it, make sure you stay EXACTLY behind his board, or even better, switch sides to give a small margin of error. It’s also important to check if the guy in front of you likes to extend his push behind his board, in which case you should give him extra clearance.

Under no circumstances allow anyone who you weren’t riding with for the past few hours (and with whom you didn’t communicate up to that point) to come within an arm’s reach, unless it’s possible to previously state your intention to draft and agree on it.

So after some 8 hours riding, Ehren had been joining either our train or the absolute madness Rick and Harrison were putting on, pulling away at times to join them and joining us back. After sharing some oranges with us, keeping our nearly 20km/h pace with no troubles, Ehren ended up getting tangled with one of our french friends. I was leading the train at that point, and all I could hear was a bony thud. When I looked back all I saw was Ehren sitting still, facing the wrong way. He had the heart of a lion, coming back busted up from the hospital and still taking some laps to “outdo his worst Ultra result”, which was nearly shocking to see.

And so it became clear that you either bond with people early on, or the risks of riding together after you’re both getting tired and still don’t know how each other ride just become unpredictable. You won’t be able to react quickly enough, and may see yourself hitting the pavement. Either talk it up early on, or give each other some room…

 

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