Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Death Valley 1,000 Insanity

Warning - This is not an ordinary SaddleSore 1,000 
The Death Valley 1,000 is a 1,000 mile motorcycle ride in under 24 hours all inside the boundaries of  Death Valley National Park.  The 'Insanity' version is done between July 1 and September 15 where daytime temperatures exceed 100 degrees F .  My start/finish will be from the Furnace Creek Chevron service station.  Planned start time is 3:00 am PDT, Sunday, July 30, 2017.

SpotWalla Track Map (< click here)  
DV1K 213 Mile Circuit 

RECON:  Saturday, 7/29 - I am riding into Death Valley to verify several items before I make a final Go-NoGo decision about tomorrows SaddleSore 1,000 attempt.
  • Cell phone coverage at all corners and in between
  • Dated Business Receipt (DBR) availability
  • Service hours of the convenience stores
  • Effectiveness of my thermal management system and techniques
SaddleSore 1,000 -  I have plotted a 212 mile course in Garmin BaseCamp which I will ride 5 times to complete the 1,000+ mile requirements for IBA certification.  In addition to dated business receipts (DBR) at the start, every refuel and finish, I will make log entries and send Spot OK markers at each of the corner points as well as fuel stops at Furnace Creek.  These markers and the track will be submitted through the IBA Premier Member certification team as supplemental information.
1 Mile east of Panamint Springs
Speed limits in the park range from 65 MPH on most of CA-190 to 55 MPH along Badwater and Scotty's Castle roads.  Speeds decrease to 35 MPH in the populated areas.  Google puts the moving average speed for the 213 mile circuit at about 55 MPH.  See Google Map

I booked a room for 2 nights at a motel in Beatty, NV, some 40 miles northeast of the my official start point at Furnace Creek.   I will obtain signatures for the IBA witness form in Furnace Creek on Saturday afternoon then head back to the hotel in Beatty.  Sunday morning at 2 am PDT (4 am CDT) I will depart Beatty for the Furnace Creek gas station, obtain the start DBR and complete 5 circuits ending the ride sometime close to midnight PDT.  When the ride is completed late Sunday night I will return to Beaty, NV for the finish witness.   (See IBA Witness and Log)

Leg:  Furnace Creek - Panamint Springs - Grapevine Ranger Station - Badwater Pull-out - Furnace Creek 
212 miles, 3:45 X 5 circuits = 1,060 miles in about 20 hours.
  • Leg 1:  0300 - 0645, 1g drinking water, 1qt wetdown 
  • Leg 2:  0700 - 1045, 1g drinking water, 2qts wetdown
  • Leg 3:  1100 - 1445, 1.25g drinking water, 2qts wetdown
  • Leg 4:  1500 - 1915, 1.5g drinking water, 3qts wetdown
  • Leg 5:  1915 - 2300, 1g drinking water, 2qts wetdown
I have built into the ride plan 5 min breaks at the Panamint Springs, Grapevine and Badwater corners and a 15 min break at the Furnace Creek refuel points.  Leg 4 will be during the hottest part of the day and pose the greatest physical challenge.  During leg 4, I will take a dinner 30-45 min dinner break inside the Furnace Creek General Store.

Declaration:  The Death Valley 1,000 'Insanity' is an extreme physical challenge.  I am prepared and committed to stopping the attempt at any point for health or safety reasons.

Preparation - Even though I have lots of hot weather riding experience living here in the Texas Hill Country, I have been training for this event for some time.  I want to demonstrate the effectiveness of a good ride plan, top quality riding gear and application of sound Ridecraft techniques. Putting many hours in the saddle, riding in 100F plus conditions, are good preparations for this 'xTreme!" Iron Butt challenge ride.

Hydration - I use a disciplined hydration technique when riding for extended periods in temperatures above 90f.  Base on the excellent information contained in the Tom Austin's article, (see Knowledge Base below)

Long-Distance Riding in Hot Weather

Sip Rate - I prepared a sip rate pegged to the outside air temperature to ensure I consume adequate amounts of water at regular intervals.  The chart below was developed to meet my water requirements using my hydration system.  After establishing the amount of water drawn by one 'sip' from my Camelbak system I came up with the rate and tested it under field conditions.  So, every 15 minutes, I draw the sips listed for the outside air temperature.  After one hour, I have consumed the Per/Hr ounces of water listed.  By doing this I consume an adequate amount of water at regular intervals.

Unlike many LD riders, I do not 'ice' down my drinking supply.  Nor, do I carry ice in the pockets of my riding gear in extreme heat.  I do not depend on having ice during rides, even one this extreme.  I do drink cold beverages, mostly water at pit stops as a 'refreshment'.  I realize the benefits of adding cold fluids while riding but I want to rely on the gear for cooling and the water for hydration.  My hydration system is insulated from the heat and the water in it stays lower than my body temperature.  It's a personal choice to enhance the effectiveness of hot weather physical conditioning.  I got used to not using ice during my experiences in the army and being a long-distance runner.

Riding 'Cool' - The LDComfort garments are designed to transfer water away from the skin and hold it in the outer layer.  This means wetting down the sleeves and parts of the body can create a cooling effect when air passes over it and avoid the moisture damage to the skin.  I will be carrying extra water for this purpose and re-wet as necessary.  (Moto Mouth Moshe K. Levy YouTube video)

Using the LDComfort cooling technique, above 95f degrees I found it best close up all vents to protect the interior core of my jacket from the hot air.  I restrict the flow of air entering jacket to through the sleeve ends only.  As the hot air flows along the wet sleeves of the LDComfort shirt it cools due to evaporation.  The cooler air is pushed into the sealed interior of the jacket further cooling body of the shirt.  With all vents closed, the cooler air circulates around the body core, before exiting top at the slight opening at the front of the neck.  This circulation of cool air works just like a swamp cooler and can result in a temperature difference of as much as 30 degrees.

I found that when I 'shrug' my shoulders slightly, move them forward and backwards, the cooled air circulates freely adding to the cooling effect.  It really works well.  In temperatures over 100 F the wed-down of the forearms is required more frequently.  Especially, in dry desert conditions, like Death Valley.  After about 105 F re-wetting is required every 15 minutes to keep the cooling affect at the max.  Keeping my body core cool this way helps preserve body water due to less sweating.  The bottom line is I feel more 'comfortable' riding in extreme heat using the LDComfort techniques.

Data Capture - I will be tracking and recording several data items to demonstrate the effectiveness of the hot weather riding techniques and equipment.  I will have all the data, as well as a summary graphs, after the ride in a full page posting.

Temperature - I will be carrying a Track-It Data Logger to capture the air temperature from inside my riding gear, (center chest).  It samples the temperature every 2 minutes and logs the average at 10 minute intervals. Outside temperatures will logged at each stop and throughout the ride using the motorcycle external temperature monitor. As we all know, riding over the hot asphalt can be hotter than the ambient air temperature.  So, I will use a Fluke 62 Max IR temperature gun to get regular readings of the road surface. When the ride is completed I will gather the official hourly weather reports by the Park Service for comparison. (Source -  NOAA:Obs Data:Hourly Temperatures)

Heart Rate - I will be monitoring and recording my heart rate during the DV1K by means of the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier smartwatch.  This data will show how my body's internal cooling mechanism reacts to the temperature.  As outside temperatures rise a small increase in heart rate will demonstrate the effectiveness of the channeled airflow and evaporation cooling provided by the LDComfort garments.  Rapid rise in heart rate indicates over-heating.

Riding Gear and Equipment:  All The Gear All The Time!
  • Base layer - LDComfort helmet liner cap, long sleeve shirt and riding shorts.  Compression socks
  • Outer layer - Schuberth C3 Pro helmet with SRC Pro communications collar, Klim Badlands jacket and Dakar gloves,  Aerostich AD1 riding pants, TCX X-Desert Gore-Tex riding boots, ess Mil Spec ballistic day/night eye wear, Gerbing heated jacket, but I doubt I will use it.
  • Hydration system - Mil Spec Camelbak 100 oz hydration pack with updated "Antidote" bladder/hose system.  Carrying extra water in panniers.  Replenish stores at Furnace Creek fuel stops.
  • Satellite Tracking - SPOT Gen3 feed to SpotWalla location and tracking maps (Above)
  • Communications - Samsung Note S5, bluetoothed to SRC Pro communications collar.  
  • FLIR Thermal Imaging - Forward looking infrared camera and display for duck till dawn critter avoidance
  • 2016 BMW R1200GS Adventure with fresh 48K service and new F/R Anakee III tires in the high temperature rated "V" compound
See Farkle Data Sheet for complete listing of gear and equipment

Knowledge Base
Death Valley National Park - Current Weather Conditions
911 - Emergency in Park
888-233-6518 - Report someone in park need assistance (They call FICC)
909-383-5654 - Emergency dispatch center (Federal Interagency Communications Center - FICC 

Fuel is available in the park only at Furnace Creek Ranch, Stovepipe Wells Village, and Panamint Springs

General Store - Limited groceries may be purchased in the park at the Furnace Creek Ranch General Store. Panamint Springs Resort and Stovepipe Wells have convenience stores.

Towing services available but check with your service provider.

Long-Distance Riding in Hot Weather 
by Tom Austin, IBA Chief Technical Advisor
Summer 2010, Iron Butt Magazine

When You're Hot, You're Hot!
by David L. Hough, SoundRider!

Long-Distance Riding - "Archive of Wisdom"
Protocols used by the members of the Iron Butt Association to go the extra mile

Fatigue and Motorcycle Touring
by Dr. Don Arthur, MD, 2006

Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stoke
American Red Cross First Aid

Heat and Heart Rate
Understanding the risks