300K Calendared Rando Ride
The ride went well for me. I cannot say I finished feeling powerful. But I finished in a respectful time, and had much fun. The ride departed from the hostel in Quakertown at 4 AM. So I had to rise and shine at 1 AM to get ready to leave and pick Rudi up at Lawrenceville. Turned out that Rudi and I rode the entire ride together. Without Rudi I would not have finished in 14 hours like I did. He was a real “teammate” today. CLICK HERE for the preliminary results.
Early on I found myself in the lead group pedaling down to Bethlehem, PA, which included Sean, Dale, Aleksey, Gavin, Bill, Jimmy, and me. Eoghan was in there, too, until he dropped back to help Alf. We all made it to the first controle (mile 38) about when daylight arrived. The shell station was crowded with bike riders for a bit. Pretty much right after we left the controle we had to climb one of the bigger hills on the ride. I got dropped by Sean, Alex and Rudi at this point. And it was about this time that the on and off again rain during the ride started. I’d have to say the ride today was one in the rain. Temps were in the upper 40s to mid-50s. On a positive note, the rain never became a downpour. It never soaked one through to the skin.
Before I got to the next controle at the Village Bakery (mile 69) in Delaware Water Gap, PA, I was caught and passed by Bill, Gavin, and Jimmy. And then caught and passed by the tandem team of Victor and Kate. Again there was a crowd of bike riders at the controle, all except for Sean who was long gone up the road. Just as Rudi and I were leaving Eoghan and Alf came rolling in. They were doing quite an exceptional ride for two who were not with the leaders at the outset.
Rudi and I learned during the next segment of the ride that the cue sheet Rudi was using was not accurate. Somehow he had printed off an old version of the sheet. We relied exclusively on my Garmin eTrex 10’s directions for the remainder of the ride. Rudi continued to take note where his cue sheet differed from my directions. We did not see any other riders while riding this segment. The scenery I thought was beautiful. Much of the ride was along the Delaware River. Just as we were leaving the next controle, the one in Hainesville, NJ, Eoghan and Alf came rolling in. Those two were continuing to do really well.
There was a big hill in this next segment of the ride at about mile 113. Rudi had to wait for me at the top. I had to zigzag my way up this one, and it wasn’t easy because the road was kind of narrow and the pavement was rough and uneven. It was not a short hill either. We kept going after regrouping and just before we got to the next controle back at Delaware Water Gap, PA Eoghan and Alf caught and passed us. The four of us ended up arriving together at the controle, though. Eoghan and Alf stopped to eat. Bill, Gavin, Jimmy, Dale, and Aleksey were already inside finishing up a long sit-down meal. Rudi and I beat everyone out of that controle (except Sean who was well up the road already).
This next stretch of the ride was where Rudi really shined. He put it in a somewhat big gear and just cranked down River Road with me in tow. Big help for making up time and eating some miles out of the ride. Just before the biggest hill along the river in this segment Bill, Gavin, Jimmy and Aleksey caught us and passed us by. Rudi probably could have gone with them, but I was not up to the task. Rudi stayed behind with me. Then Dale caught us. He was experiencing some bike issues, but could not figure out what the noise was coming from. He dropped off the pace, but later in the ride caught us and passed us.
Just as Rudi and I were leaving the Citgo Station controle with only the finish of the ride in sight Eoghan and Alf came rolling in. We said a few words, and we didn’t see them again until we were lounging in the hostel at the finish. If I were to give an award to the most consistent and steady riders for the day I’d have to give it to Eoghan and Alf. Anyway, as Rudi and I were climbing the last few hills from Reigelsville back up to the hostel we saw it was going to be a close call to beat the 14 hour mark. I wasn’t too concerned about the time at this point, but my strength was coming back after having consumed a bunch of prunes and two chocolate milks back at the Citgo. After clearing the top of the last hill we kind of went into TT mode and gave it a push to beat the 14 hour mark. We came up 1 minute short. Oh well. Click on the map below to see the route at RWGPS.
Bill, Gavin, and Jimmy were gone when we arrived at the hostel, but Aleksey and Dale were still there. They told us that Sean had finished the ride in 12 hrs 10 minutes, and that Aleksey had arrived second almost 1.5 hours later. Then came Bill, Gavin, and Jimmy. And then came Dale, then came Rudi and me. And not too long after Rudi and I came Eoghan and Alf.