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.

Posted in Blog Ramblings, Ride Recaps | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Blog Ramblings | Leave a comment

RUSA Ride #28: 600k

RUSA Ride #28: 600k

This morning Bill O and I departed at 4:00 AM from the Weisel Hostel to do the pre-ride for the upcoming Pennsylvania Randonneurs 600k ACP Event to be held on the 19th. We encountered no real problems, and the weather was close to ideal for such a long ride. I had injured my left knee a week ago and I was not sure I would be up to doing this ride. I hadn’t ridden a bike since doing the 400k pre-ride a week ago. Anyway, my knee held out for about 70 miles on this ride before giving me problems. It was a struggle, but I finished the first 400k vowing to quit at that time. Chris N at the hostel played some psychological mumbo jumbo on me that got me to continue on toward the end of the 600. I had pulled the same thing on him the week before when he was questioning himself on the 400k ride. Such is life.

A few comments regarding the course. When we got to the second controle in Danielsville we were expecting to see a Shell Mini Mart. The Shell signs are gone, but the mini mart is still there. Same management, but when they signed our brevet cards they commented that it still called them a Shell Station. Bill O took a picture of the new sign outside. I don’t remember the new name for the controle.

We made a very short stop at Controle 3, but did not go in. We weren’t hungry and we didn’t want to sit down. The address on the cue sheet for the diner here differs from the address listed on Google Maps. The correct street address is 6238 US-209, not what the cue sheet says.

We had a nice stop at Controle 4 – the Exxon Mini Mart. The address on the cue sheet differs from the address listed on Google Maps. The correct street address per Google Maps is Exit 26, I-84, Tafton, PA 18464. (570) 857-1515.

Before getting to Controle 5 (The Corner), at mile 121.2 the RWGPS file I used for the ride told me to bear right onto Kelly Road. Neither Bill or I took Kelly Road since it is not maintained and had considerable debris on it. We stayed on the main road, Route 590. I’m not sure if the GPS file was wrong, or that the cue sheet should be updated. I recommend not taking Kelly Road.

When we made it to Port Jervis both Bill and I were more thirsty than hungry. So we opted not to visit Mullers Diner. We stopped across the street at the Mobil Mini Mart, 1 Kingston Ave, Port Jervis, NY 12771 (845) 856-4849. This was a very appreciated stop for me. I’d recommend making Controle 6 open so riders have a choice where they want to go.

Bill and I got separated when riding through Gap National Park, but met up again in Delaware Water Gap, PA. Apple Pie Cafe was closed, so we visited Water Gap Convenience Store at 88 Broad St, Delaware Water Gap PA 18327 (570) 730-4675. I’d recommend switching the controle to this convenience store, or at least make the controle open.

The remainder of the ride was totally uneventful. My knee gave me some problems on PA-23 approaching Controle 11 in New Holland. Had to take some of the hills real slow. But later my knee did not hold me back so much on some of the climbs after Controle 12.

We saw a bald eagle while riding in NY. And we saw our share of opossum and porcupines, too. I’m glad I did this ride. Had never done it before as a complete unit.

Click on the map below to see the route. I recorded the route while I rode it. The map is not someone’s mapping of a cue sheet, but instead is an actual recording of a route ridden.

Posted in Blog Ramblings, Ride Recaps, RUSA Rides in 2018 | 3 Comments

RUSA Ride #27: 400k

RUSA Ride #27: 400k

I met Bill O and Chris N at the Weisel Hostel at 4 AM outside of Quakertown, PA this morning to do the pre-ride for the upcoming May 5th PA Randonneur 400k event. The weather was nice for a long ride except for the somewhat significant headwind we had to deal with for the first 100 miles. I had never ridden this course. I pretty much liked it. Not sure if I would want to do it over and over again. But it was nice for a 1-time shot.

Bill and Chris know each other a lot better than I know either of them. I felt like I was accepted into their ride so to speak. Had fun. It was pretty uneventful. We saw a family of fox, and then later another fox or two along the ride. Late in the ride as we were approaching NJ we found ourselves on a road that had lots of large and small toads. Been a while since I’ve seen so many toads out.

My left knee started to act up a little with about 50 miles to go. My left achilles tendon was a little sore and I apparently tried to give it a rest and that’s when my knee started to act up. I’ve never had a problem with Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) or IT Band problems before, but now I know what it’s like. I could barely drive home after the ride my knee was so messed up. It should get better somewhat quickly since I don’t think I tore anything. It better get better quick because I have to do a 600k pre-ride on May 4th.

The three of us stayed together for pretty much the entire ride. My chain fell off and got wedged between the frame and cranks on the hill just as we departed Reigelsville. Bill and Chris kept going. I lost touch with them as a result and then unknowingly passed them. Our brevet cards all indicate we finished together even though I was a little bit (15 minutes) ahead. Click on the map below to see the record file of the ride at Garmin Connect.

Posted in Blog Ramblings, Ride Recaps, RUSA Rides in 2018 | 2 Comments

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Ride: 23 miles

Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Ride: 23 miles

I’ve been procrastinating getting on my bike for a few weeks now. I really should have gotten out on the bike yesterday, but I successfully avoided it. But in two days I’ll be tackling the 250-mile pre-ride for the PA Rando 400k event. So I had to get the kinks out of my legs this morning if I expect to have a good ride on Thursday. It was chilly this morning. But that’s the way it’s been on most of my rides so far this year. So it was not a problem.

I chose to head out the Great Road and possibly do the old Belle Mead Loop I did as a kid. However, I quickly modified it since many of the roads just have too much traffic on them between 6 and 8 in the morning. I was riding my old Schwinn mountain bike. Click on the map below to see the route I ended up doing.

Posted in Blog Ramblings, Ride Recaps | Leave a comment

Saturday Morning Group Ride: 35 miles

Saturday Morning Group Ride: 35 miles

Yesterday I started to put my CX bike back together after last Sunday’s 300k ride. Turned out the casing for the broken gear cable was shot, too. I’ve got all the parts I need to put it together now, and it is half together, but I didn’t bother to finish the repair. This morning I needed a bike to ride. So I pulled the Cinelli out of the basement. I haven’t been on that bike for at least four months. It felt a little strange. I guess it was good I had to ride it today because I plan to ride it when I do the 400k ride I’ve got planned in two weeks. Better get reacquainted with it.

The weather was nothing to brag about today. Very windy. Not particularly warm – something like 41 degrees. There was a small crowd at Village Park this morning. Quite a few cyclists. However, there were three rides departing at the same time – C+, B, and B+. And the B+ group only had six of us planning to ride together: Peter, me, Eric, and three others I don’t know by name. ¬†Eric had a cold. And he decided around mile 13 that he wanted to call it a day and head on home. I chose to go with him since I wasn’t having a particularly good ride myself. I didn’t really want to ride today.

When I got home I went to my fitness club to sit in the hot tub and then take a long shower. Click on the map below to see the route at RWGPS. I did not record the ride today. Didn’t bring a watch nor a Garmin device on the ride.

Posted in Blog Ramblings, Ride Recaps | Leave a comment

RUSA Ride #26: 300k

RUSA Ride #26: 300k

3324k for year. I met Pat and Cecilie Gaffney this morning at the Weisel Hostel at 2:00 AM to depart on the pre-ride for the upcoming Pennsylvania Randonneurs 300k event to be held on April 14. It wasn’t too cold at the start, the sky was pretty clear, and there was a full moon. I was sleep deprived at the start since I had ridden a PFW B+ ride the day before and then watched the Villanova college basketball game from 9 PM to 11PM. However, the ride went very well. Our breaks at the controles were longer than I would have taken on my own, but I didn’t care about a time.

At mile 78.1 we turned onto Community Drive which is a park road. There were 4 traffic control cones posted at the entrance to the park there, and we were warned the road was not open to through traffic. The past couple of storms had caused several trees to fall across the road and power lines were down. The three of us were able to get by, but it really was messy.

I surprised myself today by not having much trouble climbing the two hills I don’t particularly enjoy on this route. The first came at mile 38.4 – Blue Mountain Drive. And the second came at mile 112.6 – Old Mine Road.

And the only real bad on the ride for me happened around mile 150 when my rear gear cable snapped at the shifter forcing me to ride in a 34×12 gear. I was able to adjust the rear derailleur so I could use a 15 instead of a 12. But that was not going to be conducive to the hills yet to come in the ride. About 7 miles later I found a homeowner who had an auto garage and he loaned me a pair of pliers so I could shorten my chain and make it a single speed stuck in 2nd gear. That would allow me to tackle the hills, but the gear was too small to ride any faster than 10 mph on the flats. So I did a lot of coasting to finish the ride.

I parted ways with the Gaffneys between the time the cable broke and stopping to shorten my chain at the homeowner’s garage. There was no point having them creep along for 37 miles to keep me company. Click on the map below to see the results of my ride at Garmin Connect.

Posted in Blog Ramblings, Ride Recaps, RUSA Rides in 2018 | Leave a comment