FulGaz Death Ride Challenge Completed!

Yes, I know that sounds a wee bit melodramatic, but this is a very challenging 100 mile/163 kilometre ride with six highly categorised climbs.

FulGaz say:

“The Death Ride, also known as the Tour of the California Alps, is the toughest ride on FulGaz. It covers 163 kilometres and 3992 metres of ascent, with six epic climbs over Monitor Pass, Ebbetts Pass, and Carson Pass.

“You’ll experience breathtaking views, thrilling descents, and steep gradients that will push you to your limits. This is not a ride for the faint-hearted. You’ll need to complete as much of the full ride as you can in one single go, with no pausing or saving for later. The clock doesn’t stop, just like in real life. But don’t worry, you can take as many breaks as you need for food, water, or rest. Just keep FulGaz running and enjoy the ride.”

“Enjoy”? What sort of maniacs are they?

So the Challenge was taking place during February 2024.  That coincided with the second half of the FulGaz Grand Tour  (I had finished 12th out of 160 participants) and then a long weekend in Tenerife and La Gomera riding motorbikes with the Bike Shed and Canary Ride.

Which only really left last weekend. The plan was to ride it on the Saturday but some family coming up and iffy weather forecasts meant a leisurely 8.5km walk around Virginia Water instead. But Sunday was free…

I decided to eat some breakfast and then wander out to the Pain Cave. Our WiFi was acting up despite all the repeaters dotted around the house – probably due to the weather and the vast number of devices all trying to connect at the same time – so I ended up having to play music from my iPad rather than the Apple TV and HomePods in there.  That was the same iPad I was running the FulGaz app on, so it was plugged in to the Schwinn to ensure it didn’t suddenly die on me.

A quick Torq Energy Gel – without artificial sweeteners, but more expensive than my usual Science in Sports ones – which was to be the first of many, a few minutes warming up on the Schwinn trying to get my Garmin f?nix 7S and the the 800IC linked up to the iPad/FulGaz, and then I was away.

Fuelling with the gels every 20 minutes and getting through a couple of litres of water and a few espressos and I eventually finished in time for an early dinner with the departing visitors. I’d done it in 6 hours, 31 minutes and 40 seconds, even quicker than the original actual ride time and an hour ahead of my target time:

 

One thought that kept coming to the fore during the ride was that unlike doing it in real life, you can’t coast down the descents because if you stop pedalling the ride stops too!

At the time of writing, I’m currently 5th of all the finishers and the fastest in the 60-69 year old category.  And I have some significant chafing despite my Giro “Baboon Pants”

So now the only question is “what’s next?”

Total Recall

With the RT booked in for its initial service in a couple of weeks’ time, I was surprised to receive a call the other day from Bahnstormer, telling me that there were a couple of additional recall items that need to be sorted in addition to the heated seat not being very warm (they’ll check it) and the SOS system not working (it’s apparently a known issue and is being looked into by BMW).

So what’s required in addition to those bits?

Total Recall

Total Recall

Well apparently they need it in to check on the build dates for the front and rear suspension units and if – as they suspect – they’re from a particular batch they’ll need to be replaced completely under a BMW Motorrad recall.

The other recall is for some footrest circlips which appears to be a long-standing issue, so I’m surprised my RT left the Berlin factory with dodgy ones.

January 2024

Welcome to 2024! Another year older; another year more knackered!

Back in the UK full time now so it’s time on the treadmill, a few outdoor walks up on Ash Ranges and popping to the Co-op, but mainly it’s the Schwinn and FulGaz who are now running their “FulGaz Grand Tour” which started on January 1st.  21 stages in Italy, France and Spain over 6 weeks.

Here are January’s stats:

January 2024 Stats

January 2024 Stats

Activities: 38 Distance: 434.25 kmTime: 29:40:18 Calories: 25,381

Turning to my weight, at the end of Deember I was 85.8kg, and at the end of January I weighed 85.9kg, up 0.1kg, so maintaining a fairly constant weight whilst eating healthily and not drinking too much with a few minor changes to my meals.

Deep Pan, Crisp and Even

Another ride out on Saturday to try to get some running-in done, check some more possible shoot locations, get some footage, and visit a couple of potential clients.

So I charged up the helmets and cameras and headed off … at 2-3ºC! I was wearing a base layer, a long-sleeved T-shirt, a short-sleeved T-shirt, the Keis heated vest and my Klim Latitude jacket over the top. I hadn’t been able to find my base layer Long Johns (which have probably been tidied away safely somewhere…) so I made do with a pair of Capri-length Nike running tights under my Levis.

Just over 100 miles down the M3 and A303 in an hour and three quarters as the traffic was fairly light.  I’d not bothered with the GoPro after all and regretted it as I rode up past Stonehenge as the first view from the top of the hill heading West is excellent.

With it being crisp and bright, the winter views with that muted brightness were wonderful.  Just a pity I didn’t catch any shots…

A quick sandwich in Street and then back in less than two hours stopping for petrol just before the M3 to make sure the nagging fuel warning wouldn’t come on.  Despite getting up to 11ºC at one point, it did take a few hours once I was off the bike to properly warm up again.

So the RT is now showing 603 miles and the app says it’s just 19 miles short of its initial service mileage (1,000km).  Perfect for the trip from here to Bahnstormer at Alton.

Oh Poo!

I forgot to mention in my earlier update that whilst parked at our friends’ house, some seagulls had decided to show their appreciation and crap on the RT. Nice…

So as it needed a wash anyway, I filled a bucket – it was too cold to reenable the outside tap and get the pressure washer set up – and gave the RT a half-arsed attempt at a clean.

Still, the results weren’t tooooo shabby:

Cleaned RT

Cleaned RT

 

When I wheeled it back into the garage I was horrified to see that the lacquer on the tank had peeled on one patch … except it hadn’t: it was just a small dot of bird crap that I’d missed. Phew!

I’ve also booked the RT in for its initial service towards the end of February, so I’ll try to add some more miles to the 396 currently showing.  I’ve asked Bahnstormer to look at the non-functioning SOS system and to check the seat heating whilst it’s in.

2023 Overall Stats

Well 2023 was a year of consolidation and a combination of real-world activities out in Corralejo, Fuerteventura and virtual activities, especially after we bought a load of gym equipment for use in Alison’s personal training venture.

Since early November 2023, we’re back full time in the UK – other than holidays, of course – so the Pain Cave is visited pretty much every day first thing before work.

This definitely helps with the pain by building support for the affected areas including my knackered (necrosis-riddled) knee and the pelvis and spine from the motorcycle crash. ‘Helps’ but doesn’t get rid of the constant pain that I have had to come to terms with.

Anyway, moan over, here are the stats:

2023 Stats

2023 Stats

It looks like I need to build on the cardiovascular work with some more weight work to add to the single entry last year and to build some more muscle.

First Ride of 2024

With the promise of a dry and possibly bright Sunday morning, I got the cameras charged up and the helmet likewise and decided to go and scout some shooting locations on the South Coast.

The RT is still saying its SOS function isn’t working, so that will need to be fixed on the first service.

I’d also tried fitting R1250GS mirror mounts to be able to mount the GoPros on, but sadly the clutch side one was the wrong one due to the additional LED riding light switch requiring a boss to locate into so that didn’t fit.

Likewise the brake lever one where the boss was cross-threaded – or not aligned properly – so the SOS switch  wouldn’t tighten up properly.

Back to the drawing board!

Having updated the maps in the BMW Connected app, I set a course for the Bluebird Cafe at Ferring (noting that the updated maps still don’t have our new estate in them), plugged all our heated riding gear in, and set off.

The first thing to notice was again that the heated grips are very warm indeed; despite wearing summer gloves, my hands were toasty warm the whole way despite low temperatures of 4ºC.  I just wish the same could be said of the heated seat which has five settings, none of which actually feel even warm.

The second thing to notice was the speed limit display: despite everything being set to mph, the latest update to the execrable BMW Connected app released before Christmas now displays the MPH speed limits in KPH which is really useful (especially as it doesn’t alert you to any safety cameras unlike every other satnav program)…

Still, once we got to the Bluebird Cafe, we stashed our helmets and gloves in the cases and went to get a cuppa. Big mistake as the wind was bitterly cold.  So instead we decided to gatecrash our friends’ house where they had offered us warm drinks and we could chat about arranging some shoots; Simon and Rob are photographers and Cheryl a model, stylist and retoucher.

Then back home before it got dark, although the sun now being behind clouds made it feel even colder.

The RT is now a tad grimy from streams across the road following Storm Henk.

December 2023 Stats

December continued back in the UK on the Schwinn and FulGaz who were now running a four week boot camp to prepare for their “FulGaz Grand Tour” which starts tomorrow on January 1st.

We had lots of Christmas dinners for work and pleasure and we were able to host all of the family over two days – Christmas Day and Boxing Day – with all the food and trimmings, so as usual I was expecting a lot of weight gain.

Here are December’s stats:

December 2023 Statistics

December 2023 Statistics

Activities: 26 Distance: 426.99 kmTime: 23:47:09 Calories: 18,856

Turning to my weight, at the end of November I was 85.5kg, and at the end of December I weighed 85.8kg, up 0.3kg, so maintaining a fairly constant weight whilst eating healthily and not drinking too much despite the Christmas entertaining.

Year on year, I’m down from 88.3kg, a loss of 2.5kg on the year.  During 2023 I’d managed to hit a low weight of 81.4kg back at the start of June. So onwards and hopefully downwards! Here’s to 2024!

November 2023 Stats

November started off with our last flights out of Corralejo as we give up our place out there to allow us to tour the rest of Europe; we were prevented from doing so by Brexit, of course.

So on Fuerteventura, the road cycling ended with the sale of the mountain bike after some 2,465km.

Back in the UK and it was back on the Schwinn and FulGaz who are now running a four week boot camp to prepare for their “Tour de FulGaz” in January.

Here are November’s stats:

November 2023 Stats

November 2023 Stats

Activities: 24 Distance: 356.59 kmTime: 15:31:30 Calories: 13,843

Turning to my weight, at the end of October I was 85.3kg, and at the end of November I weighed 85.5kg, up 0.2kg, so maintaining a fairly constant weight whilst eating healthily and not drinking too much. Oh and loads of time in the Pain Cave.