200k Calendared Bike Ride

200k Calendared Bike Ride

Today was the day for the ePA Rando’s monthly rando ride. It was to start in downtown Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania just across the Delaware River from NJ. Start time was 7:30 AM, which is kind of late for these rides. So the entire ride was to be done in daylight. No lights required on the bike. I wasn’t particularly feeling ready for the ride since I haven’t felt up to doing any bike rides all week after doing my 600k ride in Massachusetts last week. But I’m committed to completeing the ePA R12 Challenge (one of these rides put on by ePA each month of the year), and this one has to get done in order for me to meet the challenge.

I started off riding with the lead group for the first 15 minutes of the ride. No way was I going to keep up for more than that. Soon I was caught by Rudi, Rudi, and Greg. Two of these guys had been my teammates in the ePA fleche run earlier in the year. They dropped me before the second controle, but we met up again at controle 2. I left the controle before they did, but they caught me just before controle 3. I seem to ride better alone since I can monitor my pace to my ability better that way. No speeding up to stay with others, or backing off to stay with them.

I departed the third controle before my buddies again, and arrived at the fourth controle before them. They arrived at controle 4 before I departed. Also present at controle 4 with me was the other Rudi, Andrew M, and Sean B. The other Rudi and I left before the others, and I soon fell off Rudi’s pace. Andrew M caught me soon thereafter, and then Sean B. They both passed by me easily. I was in “let’s just finish” mode. My two fleche teammates then caught me and we rode together a bit before they passed me by. We were all together at controle 5, the last controle before the finish. I stayed put for a bit to try and regroup/rest. Just as I was departing out the parking lot Althea pulled in.

I walked the big hill on Old Mine Road, but otherwise I just plodded along to the finish. I stopped just before crossing the river back to PA to help Greg with a flat tire that had sidelined him. When I saw he’d be able to make it back I left him. He arrived at the finish a minute behind me. CLICK HERE to see the preliminary results for the ride. Click on the image below to see the route at RWGPS.

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How to Run Longer without Getting So Tired

How to Run Longer without Getting So Tired

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Calculating Open/Close Times for RUSA Route Controles

Calculating Open/Close Times for RUSA Route Controles

I’m in the process of creating Permanent Routes to be submitted to RUSA for approval. My first route will be a simple out-and-back 100-miler with just two controle locations amounting to three controles: (1) start, (2) turnaround, and (3) end. But a longer or more complicated route will have more controles. RUSA provides guys like me with an online form that can be used to calculate the opening and closing times for each controle on a RUSA route. CLICK HERE to see the online form. Using it is pretty straightforward. So I won’t go into its specifics. CLICK HERE for a copy of the Application Form for getting a Permanent Route approved.

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How to Use Your Glutes While Running

How to Use Your Glutes While Running

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Preparing for Ultra Endurance Cycling Events

Preparing for Ultra Endurance Cycling Events

If you don’t prepare, then you prepare to fail. It’s just that simple. You can be fit in general. But you have to put in some serious miles to prepare the touch points on the bike to be ready. Think hands, feet, and butt. They have to be “trained” to go the distance.

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Good Pointers for Runners

Good Pointers for Runners

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Headlights are Really Important for Long Rando Rides

Headlights are Really Important for Long Rando Rides

Over the weekend I rode a 375-mile randonneur event in New England. I used my Cinelli road bike equipped with inexpensive battery-powered Schwinn brand headlights, one on each fork blade. I’ve used them regularly since riding my bikes in the dark both to and from the train station 5 miles from home. They give out a reasonable amount of light by which to see the road, be seen by others, and they don’t drink the three AAA batteries dry quickly that power them. Basically I’ve been very pleased with them over the years.

So far this year I have used them without complaints on the various rando rides that require me to ride through the dark in the morning or through the night. In February I finished a 200k event through the Pennsylvania Dutch Country in PA using the Schwinn headlights to illuminate the roads for the last 10 miles of the ride. In March I completed a 360k team event where I had to ride through the entire night since it was a 24-hour ride. And in early May I participated in a 400k event in Virginia where the first 2 hours of the ride was in darkness, and from 8 PM to 1 AM I was riding alone in darkness. In all of these rides in darkness the event organizers had taken into consideration the roads that would be traversed in darkness. The roads were very clean and relatively flat. Translated: I wasn’t going very fast on these roads, so I didn’t have to see all that well where I was going.

This ride in New England I just finished had me climbing a huge hill (some might say mountain) just before the sun went down. And then I had to go down the other side of that mountain in darkness. My headlights would have worked fine if I wasn’t going to be speeding down the mountain. But I was tired, and I was aggravated that my usually adequate headlights were forcing me to brake and waste easily accessible speed that I believed I had earned dearly by climbing the mountain in the first place. ¬†And when slower riders began passing me going down the hill and leaving me in the dust because they could see where they were going at a high rate of speed and I couldn’t. Bummer!

So my weekend ride has enlightened me that I should not count on ride organizers to cherry pick routes for me since I have merely adequate headlights on my bike. I should always be prepared to tackle any course at any time of day, and not feel like my equipment is letting me down. Headlights are not cheap. And getting a dyno hub (and the rest of a front wheel, too) to go with a good headlight can cost a pretty penny. But you will have lighting to see where you are going at high speeds down a big hill if you do. After seeing those guys go flying by me two nights ago I definitely know this to be true.

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