The Need for Cycling Routes

The Need for Cycling Routes

Back in 2010 I joined a recreational cycling club based in Cranbury, NJ. It calls itself the “Princeton Freewheelers” (PFW), but it has little to do with the town of Princeton. Typical of the way local businesses, developers, and organizations name their companies and practices in the Princeton area. When I joined the club there were only a handful of ride leaders who for the most part lead rides out of Village Park in Cranbury. There were a few rides being lead out of Ringoes in the Sourland Mountains, and there were a few rides being lead out of Pennington and Hopewell. But none from Princeton. Anyway, these ride leaders kept close control over the routes they designed for their rides. To this day, most ride leaders at Princeton Freewheelers do not share their route designs with others. So unfortunate. So there is not only a shortage of ride leaders at PFW, but also a shortage of published route designs.

Then in 2017 I joined a national cycling club with various local districts through the United States. Its acronym is RUSA which stands for Randonneurs USA. And this organization is set up differently than PFW. Instead of depending on ride leaders to lead rides the way PFW operates, RUSA depends on its members to create routes that will be ridden without a leader. Interesting concept actually. But it only works well if members are willing to create routes. I’ll admit that it is more difficult to design a route for RUSA purposes than it is for PFW purposes. However, in the Princeton area there are not too many RUSA routes to choose from. And to make matters worse, the ones that are available currently are short routes. RUSA prides itself on promoting ULTRA-distance cycling events, typically 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k, 1000k, and 1200k. How many RUSA routes are offered in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to RUSA members to do when they want that are longer than 200k? Answer: no more than a handful. None of the 1000k or 1200k variety. So what gives?

Well, it seems no matter the cycling club there will be a problem getting members to lead and to create routes. Fortunately for me I am very comfortable leading PFW rides and designing routes for both PFW and RUSA. I add links to my RWGPS route maps to all my postings on the online PFW Ride Calendar, and I’ve started creating RUSA routes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that are included in the RUSA Permanents database. My goal with regard to RUSA routes is to create the ones I wish had already been created so I can have more fun with RUSA. As it stand now, I foresee myself getting bored with RUSA in the somewhat near future if I don’t create routes for it.

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How to Stay Comfortable during Long Climbs

How to Stay Comfortable during Long Climbs

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The Importance of Intensity in Physical Activity

The Importance of Intensity in Physical Activity

Higher intensity workouts are better for good health than lower intensity ones. But to train for ultra-endurance events you have to do a lot of lower intensity activities for long durations. Accordingly, to maintain good health you should probably not focus your life too much around preparing for ultra-endurance events.

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Exercise Is Not Such a Good Weight Loss Tool

Exercise Is Not Such a Good Weight Loss Tool

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Ultra-endurance Cyclist Lael Wilcox

Ultra-endurance Cyclist Lael Wilcox

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BR2B 1200k Day 1 Was an Experience

BR2B 1200k Day 1 Was an Experience

I had fun at the Blue Ridge to Bay 1200k bike event that started at 5 AM on Thursday out of Leesburg, VA. Saw some friends, met some new ones, and had a good day of riding. It was a wet experience, but I prefer the weather the way we got it if you consider how hot it could have been. I rode much of the day with Rudi Mayr who had traveled to the event with me by car.

I did not have high expectations for this ride going into it. The last bike ride I’d gone on had been the PA 600k on May 4th and I had to rest my left IT Band after that for about 10 days before getting somewhat serious with the rehab of the glute and hip flexor that tie into that IT Band. I knew it would be an uphill battle getting into riding mode after such a long time off the bike. And early into the ride on Thursday I knew I wasn’t really into riding my bike. So I decided to finish out the day by getting to the sleepover controle (233 miles into the event) in Sheperdstown, WV and throw in the towel at that point. Get a good night’s sleep and ride the 42 miles back to Leesburg, VA in the morning where I had my car parked. The route I took to get back to Leesburg can be found if you click on the following map.

My chain fell off several times on Thursday, and at some point getting it extracted from the crank I bent a link. Rudi helped me remove the bent link and my bike was then back to working pretty well. I got to the motel in Shepardstown, WV at 1:30 AM on Friday morning. The food at the motel was good. And so was the shower I had before I got into bed.

This was my second DNF as a RUSA rider. My first was my first RUSA ride back in January, 2017. I shouldn’t complain about this DNF because I pretty much expected it before I started. I had gotten registered for this event back in January. Paid my entry fee. And qualified to ride it in every imaginable way. Furthermore, I didn’t get injured until after all options for an entry fee refund had expired. So what did I have to lose by going ahead and starting the ride. I had a great time riding the first day. So I have to say the outing was a success.

Where does this leave me with regard to my RUSA event plans for 2018? I had originally planned to enter the Lap of the Lake (LOL) 1000k to be held in July. I don’t think I’m going to enter it now. I’m registered for two 1200k events in August. And I have every intention of riding and successfully completing them. I’m going to focus on getting healthy and ride-fit between now and then. That’s all.

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Getting Ready for My 1200k Ride

Getting Ready for My 1200k Ride

Today I am putting finishing touches on my Cinelli to ready it for my first Grand Brevet of the year that begins on Thursday at 5 AM out of Leesburg, VA. If you click on the above-map you can see the route at RWGPS. It has the controle stops marked as cue sheet entries. I threw this map together by adding four route files the event organizer gave me. Now I can create my own timing grid so I can figure out the weather I’ll be facing during the ride. Preliminarily it looks like some rain, but not so hot or cool weather. Should be pretty nice for such a long ride.

I haven’t gotten out on a road bike for almost a month. I’ve been dealing with a left IT Band problem since I last rode. So I gave myself 2 weeks of rest and some rehab. And then two weeks of rehab. If I’d ridden, then the rehab work would not have been as productive. Hopefully my left leg won’t give me problems during the ride. I feel pretty good. Pretty rested. And a little heavy. I’ve been having fun eating a lot. Not good!

The course isn’t very pretty. And there is more overlap in it than I think there should be. But it is a grand brevet, it’s somewhat close to home, and a ride is a ride. It has hills, but I didn’t notice any that were too extreme. I’ll pass through DC and WV during this ride which will bring my “state count” up to 13. By the end of the year I hope to also add DE, MN, WI, and MI to the count, which should bring the “state count” up to 17 which is not too bad for doing RUSA for only 2 years.

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