Sunday, January 21, 2007

Bike Ride Report - DC Randonneurs Annual Meeting in Glen Echo

Yesterday I decided to go to the annual meeting of the DC Randonneurs, of which I am a member. The meeting was at the Glen Echo Town Hall. Doors open at 2, with a potluck dinner, and the actual meeting at 6.

I decided to ride my bike.

First I had to figure out how to get there. I know many good ways to get to College Park, but from there to Glen Echo was a mystery. I could go all the way down to the Mall, and then up the Capital Crescent Trail, but that seemed out of the way.

So I e-mailed the dcrand list. I got two good responses, one from Crista, and one from Bob Sheldon. Crista's looked scenic and traffic-free, but Bob's was direct, and he said he rides it often, so I decided to be efficient and try Bob's.

The route looked to be just under 40 miles one-way, and I could stop for lunch at the Hard Times Cafe on Cherry Hill Road and have some tasty Cincinnati 5-way for lunch. (Yes, Amy, I have found out where to get Cincinnati chili in Maryland.)

I decided to set out around 11, get to the meeting around 3 and head home around 4, which would hopefully get me home at 8, and the riding at night in the dark would all be on familiar roads.

Since we're only talking 80 miles, I decided to ride the trike. I also like the trike when it is below freezing and when it is dark out, because you can't fall over.

You will note the shed is a bit of a disaster area. That's because a couple days ago it was really cold out and I was in a big hurry putting the bike away so I could get in the nice warm house and I accidentally shut Monkey in the shed and didn't notice.

I didn't realize it until the next morning, when he started barking when he heard me getting into my car. It got down to 20 degrees that night. This is very bad because Monkey has no real fur because he's a whippet, and he hates being separated away alone by himself.

He destroyed many, many things in the shed.

Anyway, it was about 30 degrees out when I left, with a strong 15-20 mph wind from the WNW. Not to worry. I had my tasty chili, and got to Glen Echo just after 3.

Here is the rockin' randonneurs' party:

The route from Bob turned out to be very nice. I did have many cars backed up behind the trike on Bradley Boulevard, but this was in Chevy Chase, and folks there are very genteel and polite. Not a problem. I did have to do a couple miles of Piney Branch Rd. in north Takoma Park, to which was not so nice, but all in all the route was fine. Coming back, I was on Metzerott Rd. by nightfall, and from there I know the roads well and am comfortable in the dark.

One of my goals in this ride was to test some new cold weather riding clothes I got in a recent binge at Patagonia. I never look at catalogs unless they are bike parts or Patagonia. I read the Patagonia catalog and think how nice and warm I would be riding in those fancy clothes even though I would be working hard they would be very breathable and I would not be shivering freezing cold when I stopped.

The Patagonia stuff did in fact kick butt.

Here is what I wore for a long, strenuous bike ride with two lengthy stops for food and socializing:

DeFeet Wool bike socks
UnderArmor Cold Gear bottoms
Performance fleece pants
Patagonia Wool 4 shirt
Patagonia lightweight R4 fleece jacket
sweat-wicky wool bike skullcap
fleece gloves

When I stopped for lunch, I took off the R4 jacket and put on a down sweater. The sweater weighs nothing and compresses down to nothing, and is very toasty.

When I stopped at Glen Echo, I took off the R4 jacket and the Wool 4 shirt, and put on a light
Capillene base layer and the down sweater.

For the ride home, I kept on the capillene shirt, put the wool shirt over it, and the R4 jacket, and put the down sweater back in the trunk rack. At this point the wool shirt and the R4 jacket were very sweaty and damp, but still warm.

It was a very hard ride home. The temperature dropped below freezing. I was in good shape except for my feet. I couldn't feel the front halves of them, from the balls of my feet forward. They were back to normal in an hour or so.

This turned out to be a much harder ride than I expected, especially on the heavy, slow trike. It turns out I went 76 miles and 5400 feet of climb. That was more climbing than I had anticipated. I spent 7:15 pedaling, for an average speed of just over 10 mph.

I'm not planning on doing any brevets on the trike. I suspect part of the slowness of the trike is the Rohloff hub. The Rohloff is a 14 speed internal hub, and the gears are in an oil bath. I suspect the oil is more viscous in the cold which adds mechanical drag. It also shifts poorly in the cold. I'm going to have to call Rohloff USA and see if they have any winter oil.

Also I felt like I got hit by a truck today. I did a DC Rand training ride of 105 miles and 7400 feet of climb (on the Cobrabike) last week, and did not feel as bad afterwards as I did today. Two weeks ago I did a 130 mile brevet with 8000 feet of climb (also on the Cobrabike) and did not feel as bad as today.

The training software that comes with my GPS tells the story:

Ride Calories
Brevet 7946
Training ride 8871
Glen Echo 10169

There it is. The ride to Glen Echo on the trike was in fact harder.

Here's a map of the route.

The MotionBased page for the ride has the track on a Googlymap, and all the horrible elevation charts.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Brevet Video

My friend Lou shot some video on the Woodbine 200k, which you can get to from his blog. There is some footage of me on the Cobrabike in the first four minutes.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Bike Ride Report - Woodbine 200k Brevet

Yesterday I rode the DC Randonneurs' Woodbine 200k brevet.

It was a tough one! Especially since I haven't ridden more then 40 miles since August, due to the arrival of Max the Cutie Pie Guy.

On the upside, it was in the upper 60s most of the day. On the other hand, there was a 20 mph headwind in the afternoon. Which is better than sleet.

Here's the scene at the ride start at 6:30 in the morning. I didn't sleep in the parking lot in Debra's Element, because the start was less than a half hour from home.

The first control was at the 7-11 in Gettysburg, PA. A good photographer would have taken pictures of the scenic battlefields we rode through. Me, I had to get to the bathroom.

Luckily, you don't have to count on me to be the photographer. Bill Beck, who organized the ride, drove out and took many excellent pictures, including this one:

Check out his Flickr page for the ride. His pictures are terrific. I think this is the only picture ever taken of me on a recumbent where I don't look completely goofy.

I also missed the camel by the side of the road. I was riding for awhile alongside Lou Lamoureaux. The camel was on a big downhill. Lou told me about it after we'd blown by it. We had a nice discussion about the advisability of letting farm animals into the kitchen. Lou thinks the line should be drawn at horses and cows.

Here is the only thing I remember from the midpoint control at Dillsburg, PA.

Look how big those slices are! So hot and tasty!

It seems that since I am out of shape and slow, I got to eat pizza. I hear the pizza store opened late, and the speedy riders had to make do with gourmet sandwiches from the foo-foo coffee shop next door.

On the way home in Taneytown, I realized I was right in front of the Antrim Inn, where our friends Randy and Sherri got married.

I don't know how I missed it on the way out. I think I was distracted by the Sheetz across the street.

This ride was more or less and out and back. The return route was different only for the last 15 miles or so. I was feeling good. I had about an hour of daylight left. I had heard there was 6000 feet of climb on this ride, and my trip computer (which runs high) said I was at 6800. So I was thinking maybe Bill had an easier route home than the way out.

Ha ha ha.

I think the first point where the return route diverged from the outbound route was at Buffalo Road.

Here are some cute, friendly goats at the farm at the start of Buffalo Road.

When I think of buffalos, I think of vast expanses of prairie. Nice flat prairie. Well, that has nothing to do with Buffalo Road.

It's just brutal. It's really steep, and it goes to the top of this ridge, and then down to the bottom and then back to the top again. With 15% grades. Yeah buddy. 115 miles into the ride. It was all right.

It was about a half hour after dark when I got in. I recorded 8000 feet of climb. But I felt like I earned the brevet for sure.

Here's the happy scene at the final control at the Pizza Hut in Woodbine.

At the my MotionBased page for the ride, there are lots of statistics, and links to a big Googlymap with the GPS trace and you can download it to Googlyearth too. Note that the battery died on the GPS (Garmin Edge 305) died a mile and a half from the end.

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