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.