I had been in Puerto Rico the first weekend of the December so when DC was getting some wet snow on the ground I was hiking in shorts in a tropical rain forest. I really liked my PR trip and could even see myself maybe going down there for a biking trip.
The DCMTB boys got together for a Patapsco ride. This is a park that I have ridden a good amount over the years but not as much as other places. I think it has to do with it being as far as the Shed for me and that the riding is good, but subject to rain more then other parks. Also the park has many visitors so unless you go at off times you have to deal with a large amount of people.
The weather was cold around freezing and getting up to 38 or so by the time we left. I had started to get sickish after I came back from PR, I guess my body is allergic to the cold. As usual we were to meet at 9am and all of us came late-shocker. I got dressed for the cold with wearing a little too much but glad I had my neck gator. I had a sore throat the night before so I knew I was not really the best idea to be riding in the cold, but I thought I was going to get sick no matter what. I decided to ride my SS Rigid at Patapsco which was a first. I put on a 32 x 20 on the SS which I usually ride a 32 x 18 at places like Rosy, Shaeffer, and Laural hills. The ride went well with Mike K. ribbing everyone, and I actually handled myself pretty well on some downhills going fully rigid. I think I could of run a little less pressure in the tires, but I had just set up the wheels tubeless again. The weirwolf LTs were not the best when it got slippery, I think that a Racing Ralph 2.4 might be the next big tire to try on the SS. I wish there were more Bridges over the creeks, cause that is the biggest reason not to ride there, cause you are likely to get your feet wet, and that is no good in cold weather.
The ride was fun, thinking next time if I go with people I will ride gears, cause for me I need to sit down and not be standing all the time. I found that the 32x20 was a little too much for me on the ridge trail. I was pushing the pace there, not so much that I wanted to but I wanted to be on top the of the gear sitting down. So I would maybe go to a 21 there, I spin allot more then others, since I rode the lodi race with a 32 x 22 and felt that was the right gear while others thought that was way to low of a gear. Will have to see the next time that I end up there what bike I am riding.
Guest Blogger Sara
Until I met Darren, I'd hardly ridden a bike since the training wheels came off at age five. On our first date, we chatted about how he was into cycling, and I asked him jokingly if he had a tandem. He surprised the hell out of me by saying yes. Little did I know that a couple years later I'd be whizzing along on that very bike regularly. Although the first several attempts at riding with Darren caused me a lot of knee pain and frustration (I thought runners were supposed to bike to save their knees from the impact), it seems that we've finally gotten things figured out. We have now realized that: #1. I need to wear regular sneakers and use toe clips (adjusting the bike shoes just wasn't working) and #2 It's unreasonable for a person who doesn't bike (no matter how fit) to be expected to go out for 40+ mile rides without working up to that distance slowly (oops).
Last weekend, the weather was perfect, so we went out on a section of the W&OD trail that Darren used to frequent when he was younger. The parking lot was completely packed--the area has changed quite a bit since Darren's youth (which has brought a lot more contruction and a larger population) and the trail was a popular destination for individuals and families on such a warm day in mid-November. Before we left, we saw a bunch of kids on little bikes slowly following their dad like baby ducklings. Cute.
Darren had wanted to take me on a fairly quick, flat, shorter ride--to get the legs spinning and compensate for our last outing (a longer one on some dirt roads with potholes that made me quite tense). We were passing a lot of people on the trail (not an experience I'm used to since I'm relatively slow on my own!), and some of the riders laughed as we made our way by, saying things like, "No fair...you have two people!" We stopped for a little break at a park in Leesburg and rested by a stream before heading back.
The ride ended up being pretty fun..although there was a lot of dodging in between the crowds and one sketchy turn. We stayed with two different riders for a while on the way back to the parking lot. I don't like when the wheels of our bike and another person's are so close together...not sure how the peloton does it! Luckily, I'm just the stoker, so I don't have to maneuver!
Riding the tandem has already taught me a lot of things. It allows me to better understand a sport about which my boyfriend is incredibly passionate (I even went to my first spin class this week so I can improve). It gets me to return to my roots in the countryside and see some beautiful scenery (a great contrast to my daily life in the city on some of these rides). It provides us an opportunity to work together, in sync, to achieve a common goal--whether reaching the summit of a big hill, rounding a corner, getting fit or simply arriving back home in one piece. It helps me, as much as I fight against it and try to look ahead up the road, to give up control and just enjoy the ride. At least there's no one I'd rather have as my captain :)
For Holloween, Sara and I were to be out in Leesburg for a party and the parade. We decided to do a tandem ride before the party. Sara had issues before with the Tandem and her knees. I have been doing a experiment where she is not wearing bike shoes but her tennis shoes and toe clips so that her feet can go where ever they want. This seems to be working cause she hasn't had knee pain.
I had found a route that did road from Leesburg to Purcerville and the trail back. That route on bikely was 40 miles and I was looking for us to do something in the 30miles territory. I made it 30miles but messed up the ride greatly because of that. We were riding well, Sara liked going through Waterford, but then after being on Milton Rd, we started hitting dirt. Then with Purceville Rd. it was all dirt. If I had a map I would have had us go a little bit west to the next road which was paved. So we did the dirt road on the tandem with 28mm tires a little too small. Sara got annoyed when I would make sudden changes which were because of pot holes I did not want us to hit. We eventually got to Purceville, and then took the bike path back. We ended up riding for 1:50 minutes so next time I will shoot for us riding around an 1:30. Hoping to ride more with Sara on the tandem in the future.
DCCX is the big CX race of the year for me mostly cause it is the race that our little team of 30 members puts on so almost everyone is involved. In years past I have done a fair bit of lawnmowing on the course, but this year with the rain the week of the race I could not get out there. The other big consideration is what kind of facial hair to have; this year I did Stache and Burns.
Also want to give a shout out to Alex on my team who moved to San Francisco, sad to see him leave was able to do a mt. relay race with him and do some riding in GW forest and other places. Hope to visit him and his wife in the future.
This was my 3rd trip to ride here. I have been here on a SS and a CX bike, and rode around a bit on the full suspension bike. I think this place is pretty fun on a SS Rigid bike. Dave and I were going to meet and he had my SS and I brought my full suspension bike. I was almost in a 5 car pile up on 95 getting to Lorton. I was the 6th car and because I had given the people space in front of me I was no way close to hitting this SUV in front me. I had a scary moment where I thought someone was going to rear end me after I just had 2300 spent on my car after someone rear ended me a couple of weeks ago. So I made it through that ok, but Dave was behind me and got caught up in that.
I was at the park for a bit waiting for Dave so I did 2 laps of the first loop by the prison. The trail is fun if a little short I wish they would make this trail a little longer. Once Dave got there we decided that I would ride the SS and Dave the Full suspension Geared bike. With this combo we were able to go about the same speed, but Dave was not confident in my XC tires on the GF with the gravel on the trail so I would gap him on the turns. It was a sunday afternoon around 4pm and not many people were at the park so that was nice. We did a good ride and had a wreck on the rock garden practice thing, and I am not sure if it was the pedals not letting me clip out or not will have to see, but I landed on the rocks and really hurt my leg. As we made our way back, a thorn tore out a sidewall on my tubeless tires Dave was riding so he walked the last 3/4 mile. I went back via the trail and ended up breaking a chain on the SS. I will have to make sure the Cog is lined up better with the chainring. So was a good ride, hope to see Dave riding more since he is now on the DCMTB team.
For any Mid-Atlantic mountain biker, the SM100 is a goal to do either for the first time, a personal best, or to beat your teammates. I had done the SM100 previously in 2007, and had an amazing ride, pulling a 9:33. In hindsight I wish I would've done worse the first time out, because it sets your expectations pretty high. For this year, I was training to beat the time I had gotten in 2007, but although I felt strong going into the race, I wasn't sure I had gotten enough miles in.
I was able to hitch a ride down with Mark W. since Sara was to join me on Sunday coming from PA and I would go back with her. We got down to the site and found the DCMTB crew and set up our tents, eventually doing a pre-ride shakedown on the bikes. The bike was good, but the suspension felt a little slack, so I pumped up the shocks a little bit (looking back, I should've just left it the way it was). We had some good times talking that night and I was able to get to bed pretty early for the start the next day.
I got up with the usual SM100 tradition of the gong and somebody setting off some black cat firecrackers. I did not want to have happen what happened to me last year with the bathroom, so I made sure to get coffee as soon as possible to ensure that the system was flushed out. As I was going to get coffee, I saw somebody coming towards me. She looked like Sara, but Sara wasn't supposed to get there until later in the day, so I thought, "Who could this be?" Then as she drew near, I found out it was Sara, so I was shocked and pleasantly surprised. She had decided that she wanted to see the start, so she drove through the night from Pennsylvania, got to the campsite around 3 a.m. and slept in her car until I got up (she is racking up the bonus points).
As usual, I had forgotten something--this being my DCMTB jerseys. Mike K. was nice enough to lend me one of his, which would mean that I would have a jersey, but I wouldn't be able to change it mid-race like I did in 2007.
This time, compared with 2007 when I started as one of the last 25 people, I was in a good spot with all my teammates. We went down the road with lots of dust, and I was just spinning out the legs going at a pretty good clip. I was going pretty fast up Narrowback and rode well until I went through the only mud puddle on the course. I was able to ride a lot of the Cookie Trail because I was with the faster people and didn't get caught behind slow riders. I was dismayed going to check point 1 that the old Jeep road had been turned into a logging road, which made the trail not as fun as it used to be.
Check Point 1-2
I hooked up with Matty and Kent after the downhill, and we were riding a good paceline to the bottom of Reddish Knob. Once on the Reddish Knob climb, I was off the pace with Matty in front. I slowly made up ground to him and by the time we got into the Lynne Trail singletrack, I was a good hundred meters in front of Matty and Kent. I felt going up the climb that I was burning some matches, and I was not really feeling on top of my game; I felt a bit outside of my comfort zone. On the Wolf Ridge downhill, I was riding better than I ever have before. I got stuck behind a non-technical rider who had about ten of us bunched up behind him. He finally pulled over, and we went on our way. Towards the bottom, Matty caught up to me. Once we got on the road to check point 2, Matty, Kent and I got to ride together again, which was nice. We were going at a pretty good clip, but I still wasn't quite feeling myself, so I had to go my own pace. When I got to check point 2, Kent was still there, but Matty was long gone. I exchanged a bottle, ate some yummy oranges and had some pretzels, and then I was off to Hankey.
Check Point 2-3
I caught up to Kent and passed him on the climb. Then we regrouped after the downhill and rode the gravel road to the Hankey Mt. fire road climb. Going up the fire road climb of Hankey turned into me going through the rings of Hell from Dante's Inferno. I started off okay, but yet again I still wasn't feeling myself, and I had to keep gearing down. Then the mental implosion was underway when more and more people were passing me on the trail. Previously I had ridden up this climb without dabbing, and I knew that if I was going to break my 9:33 I needed to ride the climb at least as well as I had before. I started thinking about quitting once I got through 3/4 of the climb. I stopped at the top of the climb to get my wits about me, and still had it in my head to quit at aid station 3, where I knew Sara was working. I went down Dowel's Draft not even really caring if I was going too slowly or not. I got into aid station 3, and Sara looked happy and supportive, not knowing what nightmare I had just gone through. I was eating food and Kent tried to lift my spirits and cheer me up, but I was still floundering. Kent was sitting in the camping love seat and he said "Come sit down here next to Uncle Kent." Maybe he slipped something in the vanilla Coke that he'd slipped in his drop bag, because boy it sure tasted good. Kent then left and after talking to Sara I decided that I would go do the Brailey's Climb because the route would then return to aid 3 so if I wanted to quit at that point I could.
Check Point 3-4
I was going up the road climb at a pretty good clip and I had a couple guys pacelining behind me for a few miles. I decided to unhitch myself from them and just went my own speed, knowing that I was not going to get my 9:33 and that I just needed to do the race at my pace. I caught up to Kent at the dry riverbed crossing. He had stopped for a second before starting the ascent up Brailey's. I then prepared myself to go up the Brailey's climb; in previous years I have cleared the whole climb without dabbing. I didn't take the climb too fast--just a steady tempo. There was a singlespeeder and another rider who I was ping ponging with back and forth. I ended up pushing into the guy's nuts one time when he had stopped during a rocky section and I tried to go around him. I got hung off and pushed off with my hand, but what I pushed off of was actually his crotch. He was none too pleased, but at the same time I felt that if he hadn't stopped that wouldn't have happened. To return the favor, I let those guys go in front of me on the downhill. I ended up riding the downhill pretty clean. I had a guy behind me at one point who wanted to pass, but there was traffic in front of us, so we kinda went down together in a group of 7. I got down the climb and into the aid station, picked up my drop bag. I looked up to see that I had caught up to Matty somehow, but then I realized something was wrong. He was walking around in a daze, with bandages on his leg and arm, some blood seeping out of it. He said he crashed hard going down Brailey's and he was thinking about quitting (I found out later that he was really out of it there because he had already talked to the race official by that point and quit). I waited for Kent to ride the death march from 4-5.
Check Point 4-End
This is typically the hardest mental part of the race, but this year it was not for me. I ended up not being able to ride with Kent, so I went off ahead of him at my own pace. I was now riding faster than the people around me, so it was nice that now I was catching people instead of getting passed all the time. I must've passed about 20 people going up the climb. As usual, you think you're almost there, but still the rest stop doesn't appear. Finally got to the rest stop, changed my socks and ended up taking some more time, since some of the people I'd passed came into the rest stop and left before I got my ass in gear. After the rest stop, doing the Chestnut Ridge, I caught up to those people I'd passed earlier and ended up actually passing them at the very top because they knew that they weren't that technically proficient and didn't want to hold anybody up. I was doing the downhill a lot better than I did 2 years previously. This is one of the more remote trails to get to, so it was actually only the 2nd time I had ever ridden the trail, whereas Brailey's I have ridden 6 times. So I had a good time on the downhill, wasn't as scared out of my wits as I was in 2007, and got down the mountain--passing four riders (a first)--without any mishaps. For check point 6, I was just going to do an on-the-fly bottle exchange, but for some reason the little kid who was doing the bottles didn't quite understand how to do it, so that did not work out. But that was no issue since I knew I probably had enough water in my Camelbak. The second time up Hankey was not as bad as the first for me--just a lot of out-of-the-seat climbing because my nate was feeling the hours in the saddle. I had to walk up a few parts on the way back to the campground (did not have to do this in 2007), but I got down to the fire road quicker than I thought. Then it was just the ride on in to the campground and over the line to see a cheering Sara looking very happy to see me back safe and alive.
9:28 ride time 10:12 race time
- If I knew that I was actually going to do a 9:28 ride time, I would've taken my head out of my ass, paced myself a little better and done a 9:45 race time.
- The race is long, so there's no need to kill yourself in the beginning. Next time I'm going to make sure I leave it for check point 4-5; if I have extra energy, that's the place to burn it.
- I should've kept my suspension a little softer so I could've enjoyed the downhills more...especially my front fork, since it has a lockout.
- The Crossmarks 29er tires tubeless on my Crossmax 29er wheels worked great aside from the loose gravel, which I don't think any tire can do well at while being fast on smooth sections.
- The bike worked great--no issues--besides some squeaky pivots that I'll need to replace over the winter.
- The race support was excellent as usual, with NASCAR efficiency.
- The post-ride food was great--gotta like them Scud fries.
- It was cool talking to Jeremiah Bishop after the race to hear how his race went since I didn't know how the pros did. What other sport has camaraderie where you can talk with a pro as an ordinary Joe?
- It was really good seeing my teammates at the race and watching some (Roy--Raul's brother from Costa Rica, Tyler and Mark D.) finish their first 100 mile mountain bike race.
- Lastly, it was especially nice that Sara came to encourage me and partake in the event that is the SM100.
Sara and I left that night because she needed some sleep and my back had started to seize up (go figure, I think I went too deep). So we decided that it was best if we slept in real beds for the night. I rode for the first time on Saturday the following week to give my body some time to rest and to somehow to even find some motivation to look at a bike, let alone ride one. It's funny how the mind works...I said the whole weekend I wasn't going to do the SM100 in 2010, but not even 3 days later, you start thinking "If I just do this or that, I think I could do better next year....."
I was going to do a good long Mt. Bike ride up at Gambril/Shed to get ready for the SM100. A Hurricane had come up the coast so the trails had 2 full days of rain, so we thought it best to do a road ride. I had done this ride about a month ago, and it was still fresh in the mind. This time out we has a smaller group of Sid, Jonthan-repeat costomers, and I was able to get Tyler to come out who I had just raced with the previous week.
- I think the first downhill need to Highland then take a right to Harp hill.
- I might have to put on different gearing for this ride, knees can get messed up Alex hurt his knees when he did this ride.
- Always respect the Coxey Brown climb it will always bite your ass.
For the 2009 race season, this was to be my last mountain bike relay race. Scouts Honor is probably the best bang for buck relay race in the Mid-Atlantic Region. It takes place at a boy scouts camp that has cabins, teepees and a fort you can stay in--or you can camp out. The added bonus compared to other races is indoor plumbing for toilets and showers and even an A/C mess hall with free breakfast!
The DCMTB Team was to be comprised of Darren, Mike, Tyler and Leland. Mike unfortunately got hurt in a wreck 2 weeks prior and was not able to attend. We had decided just to give it a go as a 3-person team in the 4-person division and use it for training for the SM100. One big hurdle is getting to the race. It happens to be the same weekend that many kids are going back to college, so a 2-hr trip took us 4 hours.
We get to the race 15 minutes before the required team meeting, and at registration we ended up picking up a random rider whose name was Mike. Coincidence? He was the Hawley rep for Richmond. I asked him if he was fast and he said he was expert skills and sport level fast, so I figured he would be ok. We set up our camp site right on the course so that once someone came by, you would have five minutes to get down to the start/finish.
The rest of the guys put in solid laps with Tyler doing a low 50s and Leland putting in I think a 50 and our new recruit Mike putting in something in the mid-50s.
The Scouts Honor race is different from most races because it is mostly a nighttime race. It starts at 4 p.m. and goes until 10 a.m. On my second lap I was hoping to get it in before nightfall. I went blazing out of the gates and was really feeling good. Since I had already done one lap I was more familiar with the terrain and was able to take my lines a little better. I passed Calvin and several other riders and then came upon one of the two unicyclists in the race. I was calling out, "Behind you. Behind you. I'm coming behind you," but that did not seem to make him pull to the side of the trail. So I ended up right on his wheel during a rooty downhill section. He then wrecked. On a side note, when unicyclists wreck, they don't wreck like mountain bikers. When unicyclists wreck, they jump off the bike and leave the unicycle right in the trail. I ended up hitting his tire with my front tire, which then exploded my front tire off my rim (I was running tubeless stands with UST rims). I swore, which I don't usually do, because our team was in one of the top two positions at the time. That was kinda the unicyclist's fault (I did talk to him later and he said he had called out to me, but I was not able to hear what he was saying). What was my fault was that I had a hole in my spare tube that I had not used for a year, and my air cartridges were not working correctly. I ended up messing around for 20 minutes on the trail until several people came and helped me, giving me a tube and air. So that lap turned into a 1:09, with me having to use my light for the second half of the lap. The other guys pulled pretty strong laps and so although we went from second to third, we were looking good.
On the third lap, I went out on a mission to try to recoup some of that time that I'd lost on the flat. I really pushed it on the hills and tried to keep a fast pace through the corners. I was finding that I was having to dig a little bit deeper than I would've liked on the uphills to keep my momentum going. I ended up pulling in a 46 minute lap--about the same speed as my first lap in the daylight--which was pretty incredible for me since my night laps are usually five to ten minutes slower depending on the course. Everyone else pulled some decent laps, keeping us firmly in third place.
The fourth lap is the dreaded lap of all...it is the late night/early morning lap. I went out at 3 a.m. or so and wanted to keep it going. I had eaten well and stretched out, so I was ok physically. My main issue during this lap was my focus. I kept trying to keep myself looking 20 feet up the trail, but my focus kept going to five feet in front of my bike, which made me react to the trail instead of anticipating turns. Also, during turns I found myself leaning instead of manhandling the bike like I should've. The fatigue had really started to set in. To keep my momentum going, I was using a lot lower gear so I could spin up the wheel quickly. I was also having to stand a lot more to keep the pressure on the pedals and keep my pace going unless I wanted to downshift and just granny up stuff. I came in with my slowest lap at I think around 51. Tyler was having the same problems as I was with the focusing on the trail, and everyone else pulled their slowest laps as well.
Around this time, we were looking at results to see how far back we were, and we noticed that we were in 2nd place. We didn't think this was possible because the team that we were behind was pulling 45-minute laps with some of the riders. We found out that they must've gone too hard and two of their riders had some really bad knee troubles, so they decided to pull out instead of riding the rest of the race with 2 team members.
I ended up with the dawn lap, and I made the bold choice of bringing no lights. I find that the dawn and sunset laps are some of the hardest because you're typically dealing with natural light and artificial light on the trail. What is always great about the last lap is that you can leave it on the trail. When I went out the fatigue was still there, but my focus and reacting was a lot better than before. Just like a wet sponge, I squeezed all the water out, and I ended up pulling a 47 for the lap. Tyler pulled a pretty good lap and said he was pretty beat. Leland, "the young buck," was determined to do a good lap even though I don't think he had to. He ended up pulling his second-fastest lap of the race. The final times were confusing because we didn't know exactly where we were. When Leland came in, he was battling against the person behind him, but we had to triple check to ensure that that person's team was actually a lap behind us. We ended up being a lap ahead--so Mike, our substitute rider, did not have to go out. We finished our race around 9 o'clock instead of around the 10 o'clock time.
- Leland was the revelation of the race. I believe with his motocross skills, he was really able to rip up the course and he put up some really fast times. Being that this kid is only 22, he is only going to get better.
- The course was great--a combination of Lodi and Schaeffer Farms. Would be a good course for a single speed.
- The dew was insane...but with the course being so dusty, the dew made the night laps really great on the trail. Unless it was in your tent, however, all of your stuff was wet.
- Special thanks to Sara for coming down. Even though she wasn't able to see the race, she was able to see the awards presentation with us getting 2nd place...and was able to drive my tired self back to my parents' house for a restful day laying in the lake and in the bed.
- And don't forget the free breakfast!
I was originally planning to do a Gambril/Shed ride on Saturday, but I forgot my shoes! So I ended up doing a ride with Matty, Mike, Ian, Jonathan,Harold, Brett and Donna.
Matty picked me up, and we actually made it to the Hamburg lot on time. There were a ton of people there, and we found out that the Michaux folks came down since there was a motocross race up there. They left when we got there. Jonathan realized he forgot his shoes, so he left said he would come back and meet us on the trail. Brett and Donna were some Michaux folks that came a little later so we acted as the tour guides for them.
We did an ok route, one that I wouldn't have picked, it was on the technical side. I was looking to get some good training in for the SM100. Ian and myself were pushing it on the climbs with Matty getting in there as well, Mike, Brett, Matt were riding the tech stuff well and did one Rock formation on Viper that was a little above what I normally do. Got hurt on the ride, with
- Brett hit a branch that was against a tree, the branch(15-20 ft) then fell on me to hit me in the head. Was scary and I didn't get a concusion but it did remind me of playing HS football.
- On rock candy I almost lost the ability to have children, damn front tire got stuck and I was able to shift the family jewels, but I still got a stem to the groin :-(
- This was the most lasting one, a stupid waterbar hop up I went up it and then got caught up and couldn't unclip and landed in rocks which screwed up my elbow.
This is one of those rides that will never be mastered. I had done OMG-WTF about 5 years ago, and it was that ride that made me get a compact crankset. I did OMG-WTF the last two years and in 2007 with four of us we did the ride right. In 2008 I was with some faster people, and I ended up doing the last 30 miles solo, and taking a shortcut back. For the 2009 version I had wanted to combine the Wild and Wonderful ride. I felt that the flow of the OMG-WTF ride was pretty brutal so I had come up with a route that would have 2-3 rest stops and 80 miles of riding.
For the ride I got a lot more people than I thought I would with Alex, Rudi, Jonathan, Eric, Sid, and Mike. We started off the ride a little fast, this is where the ride has its problems. You need to ride the flatter bits slower or the group is going to come unglued. We did the Hamburg climb and I was doing a pretty steady rhythm and towards the top Alex joined me. Alex would be doing this for most of the day since he was riding a 39-26 or something. We got to the top and the others came up at their own speed. On the downhill we made a wrong turn which wouldn't be the first mistake of the day. The turn is easy to miss cause you want to go down the mountain but you need take a right at the stop sign to stay on Crow Rock Rd. So we went down the wrong way and instead of then doing a left then right we had to backtrack for a good bit to get to Harp Hill. We did Harp, and I usually can ride that pretty strong cause it is not as long as Hamburg. We then took the route to the rest stop, which is now the gas station instead of the cute country store that we used to use. Mike was going off the front during this part and our group was kinda riding at a bunch of different speeds, so it was hard to keep the group together. At Bidle I was confused that the bridge would be out, and didn't want to go that way but Mike was on a mission so he went that way with some of the folks. Luckly we got back together, since I did not have my cell with me to call them.
We then made our way to the Gapland climb and I was in the front with Alex right behind me. We decided there to go to Shepardstown, and we knew it would be a long day in the saddle. Trego Mt. Road was a little more uphill than I thought, but the downhill was nice and I always like riding next to the canal. The Shepherdstown stop was great as usual, getting that food in me was all important. We started to ride better together now since people were getting tired. The Reno climb was tough like usual, with the first summit the steepest of the ride. I made it up it ok with Alex behind me. I think that Alex would have been riding the climbs even better if he had different gears. Once we were all at the top and regained our breath, we took the downhill on our way back to Frederick.
There was more climbing than I originally thought on the way to the last climb. We decided to take a last rest stop and then part of the group--Jonathan, Mike, Sid, Alex--took the shortcut back while Eric, Rudy and I did the Mother Coxy Brown. Once we got to the foot of the climb, we all bade our adieus, said good luck and rolled out. I was in the front setting a good tempo, having to get out of the saddle just to keep turning over the gear. After the first switchback, I was actually tacking back and forth so that I could stay seated and pedaling. Once on the flat middle section, I was able to spin my legs out to prepare for the squat leg press section to come. The next section is hard because of the steep pitches that are thrown in--up to 22% Eric read on his GPS. The way to ride this part of the climb is to actually go as slow as you can to be able to punch up the super short steep pitches. At this point, I was having to use an unusual climbing style since my typical seated upright with hands on the flats of the bar wasn't working anymore and standing was not much better. So I ended up actually holding onto the front of the hoods and was able to engage my full body and back into each pedal stroke. I finished the climb and ended up being several minutes ahead of Rudy and Eric. Rudy, who originally was not going to do the climb, was happy that he did because he said he had more in the tank than he thought. I was really impressed with Eric because I believe he did this climb in a 39-25 or -23 and he said that those gym workouts helped for the climbing.
We then rode the ridgeline on Gambril Road and got the sweet downhill, which has you going around 40+. Both Eric and Rudy missed the left on Shookestown Road and I ended up being in front. After the little rise on Shookestown, we got another sweet downhill, which I liked even better since it wasn't quite as steep and had some sweet carving turns on it. Then down to the school...and when I got to the parking lot I was there by myself. After several minutes, everybody showed up, even those who took the shortcut. I guess Waverly Street is not marked, so it's kinda hard unless you know to turn on it by sight. The guys who did the shortcut did some extra miles, but all made it back safely.
- The ride was supposed to be 79 miles and ended up being 88 because of wrong turns, but with a bonus of extra elevation (8183ft) added to the ride :)
- Mike said I am written off for road rides (I guess he didn't like the climbing).
- I think doing the Iron Mt. race the week before helped with this ride, but reaffirmed that I'm better at really steep climbs compared to more drawn out affairs.
- Next time, have a smaller group or have people go up the road if they are riding faster.
- Lastly, the best way to end a ride like this is to go home and invite a bunch of people over to watch a bunch of pros battle it out on a mountaintop finish in the Tour de France.