Another Ride with Mary

Another Ride with Mary

Mary is doing a good job of keeping me honest on the bike. If it were not for here I probably wouldn’t have gone riding today. I met her at the ice skating rink in Mercer County Park for the third time in a few weeks. This was the third unique route, too. The weather was nice, and so was the ride. Another metric century for me. And another 90+ miles for Mary. I was riding my Felt CX bike yet again.

Click on the map image below to see the recording of the ride I recently uploaded to RWGPS.

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Saturday Morning Ride with Mary

Saturday Morning Ride with Mary

Met Mary again at the ice skating rink in Mercer County Park. We did a metric century together, and the weather was really nice for such a ride. I hadn’t ridden since our last ride. And once again I was on my Felt CX bike. This route was a little flatter. And since it did not get overly hot I was able to finish in fine form.

Click on the map image below to see the recording of the ride I’ve uploaded to RWGPS.

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Saturday Morning Ride with Mary

Saturday Morning Ride with Mary

Not a bad day for a ride. Drove over to Mercer County Park’s ice rink to meet Mary F for a 62-mile ride we had planned. The parking lot I had planned to park in was closed. But I parked across the street just fine. I think we departed a little before 8. The ride went well. First one I’d been on for a while. Things warmed up more than I had hoped. And as a result I overheated. I bailed when we passed through Princeton. So the ride for me was only 52 miles. That explains why the recorded ride did not turn out to be a complete loop.

Click on the map below to see the recorded ride at RWGPS.

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Got the Email from RUSA About New Perm Program

Got the Email from RUSA About New Perm Program

This evening at 7:30 PM I got an email from the new Perm Committee at RUSA.org which outlined how the recently defunct perm program will be resurrected. The new program will be run totally by RUSA on its Web site. No longer will RUSA members be owners of perm routes and be required to administer those rides as agents for RUSA. All perm routes donated to RUSA will be copied into a RWGPS club account with RUSA.org being the club. RUSA members who want to ride for RUSA credit the routes housed in the club account must pay an annual fee to RUSA to be allowed to do so. There will be no per-ride fee. But the annual fee has not been disclosed.

Riders who choose to ride the new perm routes will not be provided a cue sheet. The only information RUSA will provide riders who sign up for a ride is the link to the RWGPS map of the route so the GPS file can be downloaded to a Garmin device. I suspect they can download a brevet card, too. The RWGPS file will have controles embedded as cue entries so a brevet card can be created using the RWGPS file to gather particulars. No open/close times for controles will be enforceable except for the first and last controles. All perms ridden are to be considered Free Routes.

Proof of Passage for such rides can be performed by getting a brevet card signed or by using Electronic Proof of Passage (EPP).

Routes that made up the recently defunct perm program do NOT automatically get moved into this new program. RUSA members must resubmit the old routes as new routes, and by doing so they lose ownership of those routes. The ID number RUSA gave those old routes will be carried over into the new program. Only old routes can be submitted as new routes at this time. And only routes of 200k or less are being accepted for submission at this time.

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116 1000k Brevets in US

116 1000k Brevets in US

At the time I write this post there are some 116 1000k bike routes (brevets) that a RUSA member can ride for mileage credit. They breakdown across the US as follows: California (16), Colorado (4), District of Columbia (1), Florida (7), Georgia (1), Iowa (1), Illinois (2), Massachusetts (1), Maryland (4), Minnesota (2), Missouri (5), Montana (1), N Carolina (9), Nebraska (1), New Jersey (1), New York (1), Ohio (2), Oregon (5), Pennsylvania (3), Tennessee (1), Texas (16), Utah (2), Virginia (4), Washington (24), and Wisconsin (1). I’ve bold faced the ones local to me since I live in NJ. Interestingly, I’m the author of the one in NJ. All the other rides require me to travel. The rides out of Virginia and New York are offered somewhat regularly. The Maryland and DC rides are rarely offered. My ride in NJ is brand new and never been offered. Two of the Pennsylvania routes are basically one, and neither are hardly ever offered. The other one in Pennsylvania is out in Pittsburgh, which is quite a hike for me to get to. And it’s only been offered once.

Why are so few 1000k brevets offered annually? Why are there so few that exist in and around New Jersey? I think the answer to the first question is that few 1000k routes are designed so they are easy to administer. Said another way, few routes are designed so the riders don’t need support, i.e., the riders cannot be self-sufficient from start to finish. What do I mean? Well, the routes don’t have rest stops that the riders can depend on for service 24/7. And too much emphasis is placed on sleepover facilities. Or maybe it could be said that not enough emphasis is made when planning a route for sleepover facilities that don’t need ride organizers to be present.

In any event, the routes are poorly designed so they cannot be easily offered to RUSA members who want to ride them. Now to the second question? Why are there so few 1000k routes in existence in and near NJ? I have a few possible explanations in my head:

  1. The people responsible for offering such rides don’t want to be bothered with organizing such rides.
  2. The people responsible for offering such rides don’t want to be bothered designing such rides.
  3. Few people actually know how to design a 1000k route that is easy to administer. And it’s hard to solicit volunteers to run an event (route) that is tough to administer.
  4. The people responsible for offering such rides don’t solicit others to design such rides.
  5. Members of RUSA who live in or near NJ have not pushed to have 1000k rides offered locally.

I’m trying to change this problem. As I say above, I recently created a 1000k route for NJ. And I’m most of the way through the process of creating one for the Long Island NY region. I’ve got another three that would be easy to write up, but we’ll see. One has a nucleus in Elkton, MD. Another has its nucleus in Carlisle, PA. And the third one has its nucleus in Easton, PA. I have an idea for another one out of Long Island that would take advantage of two ferry rides. And I might modify the NJ-Montreal-NJ 1200k route so it would be 1000k and better designed for easy administration. I have plans for a modified Pittsburgh 1000k route, too. I might want to design a 1000k route for the Tidewater Region in eastern Virginia?

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Changes With RUSA

Changes With RUSA

This afternoon I got the email from Peter Dusel whereby he cancelled his upcoming Lap Around Lake Ontario event scheduled for July 8th. I knew that was coming quite a while ago. But today it was made reality. And soon after receiving the email I checked the RUSA site to see the status of 1000’s of perms listed on the site. They’d all been made inactive.

Today at work my boss asked me if I’d been riding lately. I told him no. That I didn’t have the time, or the motivation to start even though the weather outside is OK for it. I’ve been busy designing long routes and preparing cue sheets for them. The one I’m working on now is 1000k. And I hope I’ll be able to ride it for RUSA credit in September. We’ll see. 🙂

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Covid-19 Pandemic and Endurance Cycling

Covid-19 Pandemic and Endurance Cycling

It’s interesting to see how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected training patterns for cyclists. With group riding outdoors being pretty much eliminated, and the Spring weather conditions being kind of lousy, most cyclists seem to be putting their training on hold. I, for one, am part of that group. I have found it very difficult to get motivated to hop over a bike top tube and pedal for any duration.

It usually takes me about 900 to 1000 miles of riding to get in reasonable cycling shape. That typically takes a month or less to achieve. So I expect when the warmer, less wet, weather comes in a few weeks I’ll be back in riding shape pretty quick. Nothing to worry about.

The sad thing is where I live, i.e., NJ, has been hit exceptionally hard by Covid-19. So many residents are out of work, losing money, and going broke. Will convenience stores be able to rebound? Will they be open when I need them on my long rides? Will my club mates in the local bike clubs want to start riding again? Can they financially afford to? Will they be able to get in shape as quickly as I expect I’ll be able to?

I guess the biggest question I’ve got is whether Randonneurs USA (RUSA.org) will rebound. So many of the members of that organization ride because they are caught up in the various “awards” they can earn doing RUSA rides. And many of the awards require monthly riding, or you have to start over to earn the award. I’m currently in the middle of earning an award that can take up to 2 years to earn. But Covid-19 has eaten into that 2-year window and also disrupted the availability of rides needed to earn the award. Sure, the window can be expanded. But one might think that cheapens the award if you can earn it “with a little help.”

I know my enthusiasm for RUSA has lessened considerably over the past year. Seems like I’m more interested in creating long routes for the local RUSA regions than I am riding the routes. When I joined RUSA in January, 2017 it quickly became apparent that the Northeast was not a hotbed for RUSA cycling. If you wanted to do a 1000k or 1200k RUSA event you were going to have to travel. That bothered me. Sure, I traveled. But ever since then I have been developing my route design skills so I could (or maybe, can) get the Northeast caught up to the 2 or 3 hotbed regions in the US.

Initially I was under the impression that the lack of long routes was due to a lack of riders able to design and create those routes. And that certainly is partly true. But RUSA has an organizational problem with regard to its RBA’s. They are the only ones allowed to “officially” create the routes. And they decide whether or not they like a route before it can be submitted for approval. A lot of time, energy, and mental gymnastics goes into the design and creation of a long bike route. And when there is no guarantee that the RBA for the region in which the route exists will like it, most riders take the “why bother” approach. And as a result, few if any long routes are created. Bummer.

Maybe it’s time to move on? Maybe just design routes for me and my friends? We’ll see after this Covid-19 pandemic passes.

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Fasting and Your Hormones

Fasting and Your Hormones

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Panda POV: Racing The Mid South

Panda POV: Racing The Mid South

The Mid South is a gravel race out of Oklahoma.

See also Hannah Finchamp’s blog post about the race. Hannah won the event.

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How to Lock Your Bike in Town

How to Lock Your Bike in Town

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