Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bike Ride Report - Lost River 200k

I rode the Lost River 200k yesterday. I finished 26 hours ago, and I have now sufficiently recovered to make a blog entry.

It was quite a challenging ride. 127 miles and 9650 feet of climb according to the Garmin Edge 305. We had to go over Wolf Gap both directions and Mill Gap (near Lost River, WV) both directions. Westbound up Wolf Gap has 2 solid miles at 12%. The rest of the climb is not quite so steep. Inbound on Mill Gap has a section the Edge reported at 22%.

I drove out with Scott the night before, and we shared a room at the Super 8. I decided not to sleep in the Element because the lows were going to be in the 20s. It was around freezing when the ride started, and it got up to the mid 40s during the day. There was a light wind from the northeast.

I see that the Super 8 has been letting people bring bicycles into their rooms. Look at those scuffed up walls!

Here is the scene at the start. I believe there were 14 of us.

The horses were intrigued by my bike when I stopped for a Goo Pack at the end of Back Road.

Here is the scene at the top of Wolf Gap, which is the first and worst of the four ugly climbs. I never realized it before, but there is a restroom in the campground across the street from this sign. I rode with Scott for most of the ride, and waited for him to catch up here. He was having problems shifting into the low gears all day.

We had lunch at the Lost River Grill, which is the first control. We didn't get out until the official control closing time. I was very close to missing the cutoff for the next two controls due to the ginormous hills between them.

For example, at the next control, only 19 miles away in Wardensville, I only had a cusion of about 20 minutes.

That's Matt Settle, our RBA, in the doorway.

Besides Scott and I, there was one other recumbent rider, Dana, who unfortunately chose this horror show of hills as his first attempt at a brevet, attempted it on a Gold Rush, with a faring and Aerospokes. That would not be my first choice of a bike for 2 miles at 12%. He was done after going over Wolf Gap the first time, and was trying to figure out the easiest way to call his wife for a ride. There's no cell phone service in the valley past Wolf Gap.

So while Matt is going in the door there, there is a nice yuppie couple walking across the parking lot to the store. Matt tells me Dana is going to ride in to Wardensville, and call from the pay phone at the 7-11 up the street. I told Matt, "Oh, I remember that 7-11, I was throwing up in the parking lot there during the 300k last year." The yuppie couple pretends very hard that we don't exist.

I always like to do my part to promote the pastime of randonneuring.

Anyway, I got out of the control, five minutes before the close, because I was very worried about making the next at Edensburg, since I was feeling a bit spent, and there was the big, big climb back over Wolf Gap to contend with. At this point, I stopped waiting for Scott and taking pictures.

I made the control at Edensburg with 11 minutes to spare. I passed Matt on his way in about 2 miles from it 5 minutes after it closed, and I passed Scott about a mile later. I desperately wanted a break going up Wolf Gap, but it's a good thing I kept the pedals turning.

From then on, the terrain is more mellow. (It takes a lot to make Back Road seem "more mellow".) I got my cushion up to a half hour at the last control at Mt. Olive, and took a little break at the Clary Store to put on my lights and reflective gear. The 305 battery was dead, and I finally got the USB battery pack Scott told me about to work while I rode. I got it set up at the Clary Store, and then had to fiddle with it for the next couple miles to get it working. This is a great gadget. I cruised into the Super 8 with a half hour to spare.

This brutal ride took me 13 hours, the longest and hardest 200k I've ever done. Scott and Matt arrived together at 8:27, just three minutes under the limit!

Here's the MotionBased page.


Anonymous said...

Well done, and thanks for the report and photographs. With such height gain and so early in the season, I am not surprised it took you a while to recover.

Joe Bruton

Cham said...

Very nice. But I would have just ditched that silly bike and walked. I'm supposed to be at Wolf Gap next weekend, something about 20 miles to Halfmoon. But I'm not, instead I'll be up at Indian Springs, alone, no trail, no friends, no nothing except my pack. We'll see how I do.

The yups tend to hang at the Kac-ka-pon in Wardensville after their stay at the local B&B. If you walk in there covered with mud and your feet bleeding the waitress will be very nice, but the yups will pretend like you don't exist there too. Oh well, somebody has to buy all those Northface jackets.