Bill Beck's Photos
Ed Felker's Photos and Ride Report
191.04 miles, 16.6 rolling average, 13:08 total elapsed time. Great route, well run, and the weather even played far more nicely than predicted.
I'll mercifully gloss over the hell-on-earth that was my 8 hour+ drive from Pittsburgh to the ride start, and focus on the good stuff.
This was my first ride with the DC Randonneurs, at least at one of their rides. I had ridden with many of them in last year's Eastern PA series, so was confident that the hospitality would be warm and the route interesting; I was not in any way disappointed on either count. Maile and Lane put together a great brevet, and I enjoyed myself wholeheartedly.
As per usual, my eyes popped open 5 minutes before the alarm went off the morning of the ride. The usual morning ablutions, and a couple cups of coffee later, and I was more-or-less ready to face the prospect of almost 200 miles in utterly unfamiliar territory. Maile had set out a nice spread with bagels, fruit, and assorted sundries; Lane, the other organizer, was mysteriously absent. *cough*secret controle*cough* I signed in, including my age (32), which provoked cries of "He's just a baby! He still has milk on his breath!" and suchlike vile calumnies.
As the group assembled outside, I was happy to see another recumbent rider: Jim Lehman(apologies if I've misspelt your name, Jim!) was there with a lovely Tour Easy, decked out with all the trimmings. A couple of tandems (including familiar faces Ed and Mary) and a bunch of traditional damond frames rounded out the complement of roughly 30 riders. After a few cautionary words from Maile ("Don't even HINT about using a bathroom at the Aroda store!") and we were off.
It was a strong start; Ed and Mary got things off on the right foot with a strong pull of the group through the not-so-secret controle and to the beginning of the rollers; then, the usual dissolution of the group occurred, and we ended up with half-a-dozen riders in the fast group kicking up our heels on the way to the climb up Old Rag and the first controle at the Syria Mercantile. Mark, Rudy, Lisa, Bill, Q, Patrick, and myself kept up a fairly fast pace; we arrived at the store with an average over 17 mph, which was pretty good for almost 100K before the first stop. (Actually, there was one brief stop; Q's tailight had ceased to work As A Tailight Should, so I pulled my tertiary tail light off the back of my helmet and gave it to him, so as to avoid a DQ on his part.)
From the first controle, we fragmented a bit more, although the fast group was never more than about 30 minutes apart at any given time. Bill ended up with a flat just out of the controle; Patrick and I played leapfrog for pretty much the next 200 km, usually a few minutes behind Rudy, Mark, Lisa, and Q.
In a lot of ways, it was an uneventful ride; no mechanicals, no unfortunate wildlife interactions, no assertions by the undereducated and over-horsepowered that I belonged off the road, etc. In a lot of other ways, it was an almost perfect ride; the weather was pleasant, the roads were smooth, and I had congenial company and peaceful solitude in equal measures.
I doff my chapeau to Maile, Lane, and the other volunteers for a lovely event. I can't imagine a better introduction to riding with the DC Randonneurs, and I'm looking forward to the 400 and 600 with great anticipation.
- CHECK YOUR BREVET CARD. I did the entire ride as Mark Vinette, and he as Dan Blumenfeld; apparently, from the moment we collected our cards, we had the wrong ones. Oops. Thankfully, Maile and Bill were willing and able to correct the goof, or I would have racked up my first DQ due to a totally preventable mistake at the ride start.
- One should make a point of arranging cue sheet holders and lights to read said cue sheets BEFORE starting the ride. Thanks go out to Ed for the spare binder clip (even though I ended up tucking the sheet inside my über-cool reflective vest for the duration...)
- I had experimented with on-bike nutrition for this ride. Heed, Endurolytes, Gu packs, and some peanut butter crackers sounded remarkably like a balanced diet, rich in the vitamins and nutrients that a growing randonneur needs. It worked quite well...for the first 100 miles or so. Over the next ten miles or so, I found myself engaged in a slow and surreptitious border crossing into the Kingdom Of Bonk, and, by the end of the first 200K, I was in less than stellar shape. Fortunately, I never bonked completely, and a club sandwich dripping with bacon and mayo was just the ticket to perk me up for the last 50 miles or so. It's amazing how carnivorous I become after the first 8000 calories burnt...
- Virginia horse country is purty, and lots of fun in which to ride. :-)
- For the first time, I neglected to do a "virtual ride" in advance by mapping the route online; while it worked out okay this time, I think that was due more to the quality of the cue sheet. I was definitely feeling a bit uncomfortable at times, as I really had no idea where I was in relation to anything else.