Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tour de Trek Redux, AKA The Humble Pie Ride

Anyone ever have one of those rides where you find out that you're not even remotely as fit as you thought you were? Today was my turn; the most painful century I've ridden in years, with cramping, knee pain, constant hunger, and a rolling average of mumblemumblemumble.blush miles per hour.

Here's the route; basically, it ended up being Castle Shannon, Robinson, and Cranberry, with various and sundry exploratory stuff. Couple of new-to-me roads today; Backbone out of Sewickley was a moderately tough climb, and plummeting down Hitzel Hill on the other side of the ridge was a bit scary, due to gravel and debris. (Incidentally, I now understand why Oscar Swan refers to Hitzel Hill Rd as "a guaranteed way to make any Red Belt ride unpleasant"..) On the Gibsonia end of things, I took Meridian to 910 as a spur-of-the-moment detour; at that point, I was in enough pain that the only way I could see to salvage some pleasure from the ride was to at least ride a new road.

Ride troubles; by the time I hit Robinson, I was in trouble; felt almost like I was bonking, except that I'd been steadily hoovering down gels, Heed, and some semi-solid gas station food. I was also feeling chronically hungry; perhaps I should have stopped for a sandwich or suchlike. By the time I got to Cranberry, my right knee was getting dicey; I think my form went to hell due to the fatigue, so I started mashing more than was good for me. It's also possible that the cranks are just a fraction of an inch too close; I'd fit the P-38 to Lance a few weeks back, and maybe I didn't quite restore it to my preferred position.

On the bright side, I accomplished my goal; got February's century in for the Year-Rounder challenge, even if it was not my most shining performance. I am pleased that I managed to complete the ride without any apparent serious injury; while it's not the most glamorous of randonneuring skills, the ability to ride within the limits of a physical ailment without giving up or pushing too hard is a useful one.

On the down side, that was not the kind of riding that will get me through a brevet series. Yeah, I haven't done any long rides over the winter; yeah, the bike fit may have been a wee bit off; yeah, I've been sick for much of the last month, excuse, excuse, whine. Regardless, I have a lot of work to do for the season, if I'm going to do as well as I intend.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CTC Fever setting in

Mssr. McKeegan's been posting more Crush The Commonwealth goodies. Buried amidst the pix is mention of several riders gunning for a sub-36:00 time. In that case, I guess I'm gonna have to take this a little more seriously ;-)

I've been vacillating 'twixt the idea of pushing for a fast time vs. treating it like a nice social ride with the boys; at this point, well, fast time is sounding better and better. Besides, if I plan to ride hard, I can omit some extra stuff like, say, camping gear.

So, here's the basic plan. It's roughly 100 miles from dahntahn to Rockwood, and an additional 180 miles to York or thereabouts. That's roughly 400K, which, based on my brevets last year, I should be able to wrap up by midnight or so. I'm thinking York will be a good place to take a rest break; pound down a real meal, maybe catch an hour or two of sleep at a no-tell motel, and get back on the road by, say, 5 AM. That gives me 12 hours to punch out the last 100 miles...perfectly doable.

This elevation profile is basically Bike Route S from Rockwood to Philly; that flat-downward trend past mile 140 is looking mighty recumbent-friendly.This is gonna be fun. Compared to Tom's brevets, this is darn near flat; while there's definitely gonna be some nice climbs, I'm not seeing anything to be afraid of.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Back in the saddle (Ok, Barcalounger)

First commute post-illness this morning. Not bad, although the legs are less than snappy, and the lungs are still bubbling like La Brea.

Amusingly enough, I realized halfway to work that I'd replaced several major components of the drive train the previous weekend, before getting hammered into pulp by the Evil Microorganisms From Hades. Never actually tested, or even adjusted, anything, before setting out this morning. That could have been a poor choice; luckily, friction shifters are forgiving, and I think I'd eyeballed the limits on the new rear derailleur pretty well.

Assuming the long-range forecast for Saturday holds up, or at least stays above 20 degrees with minimal precipitation, I think I'm going to try to get in a century or so. I'm already down a month for the UMCA Year-Rounder challenge, and I'd like to scout out some prospective route segments for the 2010 Pittsburgh Randonneurs brevet series.

Friday, February 20, 2009

2009 Ride Schedule (subject to change, contents may settle, do not eat)

Still a lot of stuff up in the air; with my little girl coming in early April, the spring schedule (especially May!!!) may need to be adjusted. I may skip the 300K on the weekend of May 2nd, and plan to get in the Ohio 300K in September as my last prerequisite for the Endless Mountains 1200K.

Locally, Crush the Commonwealth is most important to me; I've been wanting to do it for three years now, so I don't want to miss out again. Lance's Longest Day Double Century is also a blast, as it's a good excuse to put your head down and hammer across Ohio flatland for most of the day. The Pittsburgh-Erie-Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh-Meyersdale-Pittsburgh rides should be good ways to stay tuned up for the fall, as well as being scouting rides for the official 2010 brevet season of the Pittsburgh Randonneurs.

It should be a fun year for brevets; I'm hoping to spend some time riding with the DC Randonneurs (great bunch of folks), help foster more Pittsburgh-area distance stuff, and end up the year with my first 1200K.

Of course, this doesn't include much local stuff; club rides, populaires, training metrics and centuries, the Dirty Dozen, etc., are not listed.

indicates a ride that I intend to attend :-)

Un-bold is for informational purposes, and to aid in rescheduling.


Saturday 04/11: Pittsburgh Randos 200K
Saturday 04/18: DC Randos 200K, Ohio Randos 300K

Saturday 05/02: Eastern PA 300K, DC Randos 300K
Friday 05/08-05/10: Crush the Commonwealth
Saturday 05/16: Eastern PA 400K, DC Randos 300K
Saturday 05/30-05/31: Eastern PA 600K, DC Randos 400K, Ohio Randos 400K
Saturday 06/13-06/14: DC Randos 600K, Ohio Randos 600K, RBR Rally
Sunday, June 21st Longest Day Double Century (solstice double)
Friday 06/26-06/28: Eastern PA 1000K
Saturday 07/11-07/12 Pittsburgh-Erie-Pittsburgh (dates tentative)
Saturday 08/22-08/23 Pittsburgh-Meyersdale brevet route dry run (dates tentative)
Saturday 09/05: Ohio Randos 300K
Wednesday 09/30 - 10/04: Eastern PA 1200K

Monday, February 16, 2009

My bronchii are revolting!

Feh. Persistent cold that wouldn't die (damned invulnerable rhino-virii!) has sent expeditionary forces into my lungs, where they have successfully established a well-defended beachhead.

I've been off the bike since last week, and will (should) probably stay off for a couple more days. Hopefully, the Z-Pack of magic antibiotics will knock this crap out soon.

'Scuse me while I go pout in the corner for a while.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Goals as of 2009

Preserving for posterity: my yearly cycling goals as of February 2009.

2009: Crush the Commonwealth, my first 1200K
2010: Try a 12/24 hr race (prob. Calvin's Challenge), D2R2 for some dirt road adventuring
2011: Paris-Brest-Paris
2012: RAAM qualify (No, I don't currently want to do RAAM, but I like the idea of being qualified to do so)
2013: Maybe L-E-L?
2014: Furnace Creek 508?
2015: ?
2016: Ride across a continent TBD (40th birthday present to myself)

Heh...looking at this list, I almost think a common theme can be discerned...masochistic b@start, ain't I?