I love group rides. The way my mind works, unless I’m having a terrible day from the get-go (cue Dec. ramble story) all I have to do is show up and start the chain of events to make sure I go the whole distance.
- Morning of ride: Wake up – show up at start. Everybody sees me and knows I don’t have the sniffles so what excuse is there for not riding…
- Tell everyone I’ll see them at the next stop (can’t back out on a promise)
- 0-30 miles: First third goes good b/c I’m still fresh.
- Ok Bob, you got us out here, NOW what. Start to question my sanity about 40 miles in. Contemplate the ‘bail-out’ route but think to myself that knocking 20 miles off the ride – and being guaranteed no camaraderie for the rest of the day is a recipe for less of a good time.
- 50-60 miles: lunch stop. It’s all downhill from here (FIGURATIVELY, not literally but I tell myself lots of fun little lies to get through the day…)
- 70-80 miles: back in the saddle, but I start to wonder why I don’t just spin on a trainer and watch one of those videos where they ride through scenic vistas. I don’t actually wonder this, but there are always parts where I wish for a fast forward button.
- 90-100: all the familiar landmarks start to fall into place and just the thought of being finished is sweet enough to get me through. Falls Rd. and Lake Ave. don’t seem that menacing when you know that even at 4mph you’ll be done in 25 minutes.
This Sunday Bob hosted another one of his Ramble rides, which have quickly became one of my favorite things. I could go for shorter rides, but aside from commuting I never seem to get out of the house. I’ve also had a ton of other things going on for the last few months so it makes sense to take a day off and cram as much excitement into it as possible. We met up in front of the Conservatory at Druid Hill Park – a super convenient location that let me sleep in till after 7 and not ride an extra 15 miles before the official start. 8:10 sharp and we were all present, accounted for, and ready to roll!
1st rest stop – same as the pancake ride ‘cept we turned left out of the parking lot. There were a bunch of hills thrown into this ride that were left out of ‘pancake’. Each one took me past nice scenic areas so I had something to gaze at while I was chugging along at 3.4 mph. Feet were frosty, but I wore light socks and didn’t fool around with the booties so it’s my own fault…
Here’s where I stopped to eat a clif bar. Unbeknownst to me Dave #1 was waiting for me 1/3 mile up the road at the next intersection (sorry Dave).
By now the weather started to warm up, and the terrain leveled off for a few 1000 feet before the designated lunch stop. I almost missed the turn after the RR tracks, but Janet saw me as she was leaving and told me where to go. It was good and a welcome rest – standard diner fare, but plenty of it. The locals taunted us with their motorized scooters as we were prepping to roll out.
As the afternoon progressed I started to wonder if I was building up any equity in all of the hills I was climbing or not.
The answer: yes. lots of descents, but there were still plenty of hills to obscure the view of the finish line. Actually, there was 3/4 as much climbing after lunch as there was in last months entire ride.
Mile 80 Rest Stop. Am I the only one who thinks about the fact that I’m going to have to carry the extra weight with me as I’m refilling my bottles at a Royal Farms? Dave #1 continued to let me play catch up all afternoon. 20 miles and maybe 2 more big hills and our reward awaits. (Note to self: planning a stop for a guilt-free pitcher of beer and some nachos at the end of the ride is a FANTASTIC motivational tool…) Bob and Isaias had been waiting at the Dunkin Donuts down the street and were pushing out at the same time as us (I just caught a glimpse of Isaias’ tail light gliding away). Bob stayed with us for the last 25.
This ride was the most difficult for me in a long time. possibly ever. As usual the effort was worth it. Thanks Bob for all your work in planning/hosting the ride and taking our verbal abuse about the hill climbs. Don’t change a thing 🙂
Tech Stuff: Equipment is pretty much dialed in as good as it’ll get. I love the Vittoria Randonneurs. The trucker is awesome on the flats and downhills, but once the grade kicks in weight (bike, cargo, ME) is a KILLer. I’m ditching the camera for now since I don’t have time to take real photos anyway, but that’s it for non-essentials. If the rear was spaced for a 130mm wheel, and the bb drop wasn’t so low, I’d be online looking at lighter wheelsets and 28mm tires right now. Only improvements at this point will be expensive ones, both cash and effort…
- Bike frame. I still like steel, but the Trucker is about as big as they come. As mentioned above, even if I look past the extra 2 lbs my frame is over a lighter steed, I still have rear triangle spacing issues and a low bb that’ll have me clipping pedals in corners if I went to a smaller tire.
- Rotational Weight – I wasn’t going to strip the tires off my bike just to get an exact weight, but my Alex Adventurer spare wheelset weighs in at 2400 grams and the a719’s are at least 100 grams heavier for the pair. I don’t want to get crazy or anything but I would love to build a set of 32/36 Ultegra/Open Pros. That’d be 1.5 pounds I don’t have to turn over any more.
- My frame. Still 12 pounds off the mark there. I went looking up a stat from my Civil War Century ride in 2009 and realized I only lost 15 lbs since then. Grrrr… Fitness can be a nuisance, but I will be thinking about some of the hills from today the next time I have a bad morning and want a donut.
GPS – Before the 3 Glens ride, I was goofing around with Garmin Road Trip for 1 hour creating a turn-by-turn route from Bob’s Bikely cue. The result worked great, but what a pain. Problem was that I had to manually rearrange the imported waypoints of the gps file and segment the 1100 point track into etrex-digestible chunks. This month I created a script to do it for me so I cut my prep time down to 5 min. Check here if you’re in the same boat as me and have a web server at your disposal (sorry, I’m too lazy to host it and manage the file upload/conversion/write part, but you can have the script…).
Numbers: 8:52’03″ | miles – 105.19 | average – 11.8 | elev gain – 7793′
(miles/time/avg from the cateye, elev from etrex)
Ancillary Data: Weather – Gorgeous | Fitness – eh, not bad | 2 day recovery report – bum and left knee still hurt a ‘little’ but everything else is back to normal.