bikingandbaking: Photo of my road bike leaned against a gazebo (you must face the gazebo alone)
Welp, there's no getting around it, so I might as well rip off the band-aid and post a ride report about yesterday. I DNF'ed the 2015 NER 300k at 137.7 miles in, at Petersham. In many ways, I DNFed about ten-fifteen miles before that, when I was suddenly sleepy and dizzy and decided that if I still felt that bad when I got to Petersham, I'd quit then, in a nice somewhat-lit town center where the volunteers might be able to help me get home, and if they couldn't, I could wait somewhere safe for a ride. (Spoiler: Emily and Tsun are awesome volunteers, and played tetris with the contents of Tsun's car to fit me & my bike in, along with another DNFer. Also thanks to the two friends who would have come gotten me if I'd needed them to, since D was out of town.)

Read on for the long version... )
Cut for large images, jump here if you only want the pretty and none of the tl;dr )
bikingandbaking: photo of my road bike with a tag reading "51" on it (Default)
The ride started out great. A big huge crowd of people, many of which I know by now (even if I am terrible with names and don't remember them all). We all set out as a giant strung out pack, but the light across 2 quickly split a chunk of us out the back. Me, T, S&G, plus a bunch of people I hadn't met. We were still a wide variety of speeds; I rode with S&G and a guy A I hadn't talked to before for a good while before the first control, where I didn't want to really stop, so I left them behind and cruised on alone.

The sheltering of a pack would have been nice in the wind, but I was feeling good, and happy riding by myself. Around mile 50 or so I started seeing the speed demons heading back north; this was one of the few really out-and-back courses we do. They were flying by in tight little pelotons. Then I started seeing the looser middle packs, and then I was at the turnaround myself, being teased by one of the gentlemen who'd helped with my flat-o'doom on last years 300k. I sheepishly admitted that I'd just gone back to the type of tire that had been such a cause of dismay, but that I was sure I'd be OK next time. They didn't have any food at the turnaround, and I was starting to get hungry, but I figured I'd eat later. (Never wait until you're hungry to eat. Bad move, though I never really bonked. Just got overly tired.)

At mile 90 or so of the brevet, I started writing this blog post in my head. A title, a nervous start, some suspense, and then the news: Reader, I crushed it (p.s. that's a good thing). Well, the first 90 miles or so, I did. After that...

Well, it could have been a lot worse )
bikingandbaking: photo of my road bike with a tag reading "51" on it (Default)
The ride today wasn't the first RUSA kilometers of 2014*, but it was the big glitzy kickoff ride for the Boston Brevet Series. I'm hoping to do the entire series; this was the warm-up. For those of you whose ears I haven't talked off already about these rides, the series (as specified by the Audax Club Parisien, the organizing body, because French sport is French), is a 200K, 300K, 400K, and 600K, all done as effectively non-stop rides. You can sleep if you want, but the clock doesn't stop.

The 100K today was a warm-up and an easier introduction to how the rides work, with 68 miles to ride and a time limit of 7 hours 8 minutes. Also an introduction to the fact that these are "scenic", which is a euphemism for "hilly". Here, it's easier to show you:


A gentleman (not sure if he was on the Populaire or not -- there were a lot of people riding out there because the weather was so nice) asked after I photographed my bike if I wanted one of me**.

The route is a really nice one, even if you think riding on the clock is silly or unappealing; it takes mostly back roads out to apple-orchard country in Bolton, then swings up to Sterling and back, and then meanders through Harvard for a bit racking up hills. The ride back gets busy through Concord; it takes the direct route back ([livejournal.com profile] ron_newman, this is the way we came back from that Harvard ride), but it's not bad, and would be a good place to stop for ice cream if one is not on the clock. The Sterling out and back (which is the least pretty part) can be cut off and a lunch stop added in at Bolton Orchards or Nashoba winery, which I've done quite a few times for fun. Some day I'll take a real camera with me when not on the clock.

Though I also usually cut off some of the Harvard hills, because they're kind of gratuitous, and only some of them have really pretty views of Mt. Wachusett (it's in the background of the photo above, although it's not obvious). Which we did not have to climb today, although looking at Strava apparently a couple of the fast guys realized how close they were, and added 20-ish miles to zip out and up it and back onto the course, which cracks me up. I do keep the big swoopy Stow Road descent, because that is worth climbing up to at least that high.

Even with the gratuitous photography stop, it was a fast ride. (For me.) I was hoping to get close to 5:30 for the ride, and pulled in at 5:15! Whee! I am rapidly approaching if not already at the point where my legs are a machine for turning food into miles, and I feel like I can go indefinitely as long as I stop to eat and stretch. My lower back is not quite there yet, but it's getting stronger.

There were a couple people injured; I saw a police car whiz by with lights on, and all I could think was "please don't be a bike, please don't be us" and it was, but no major injuries and the tandem team in question finished the ride not long after I did -- I gather it was an interaction/dodging a pedestrian or possibly a dog, not a car. I didn't stop, not because I was going for speed but because there were a bunch of people stopped already from the pack they were riding with, and the police and a fire truck had already arrived.

*There is a post about DNFing the ride I was packing for in my last post here, but this is not that post. Later. I have tl;dr to use it to springboard into about trying hard things and sometimes failing at them.

** There is also a post about being visible as a heavier woman riding, which is why I posted this picture even if I'm self-conscious about it. But IDK if I will ever actually write that post.

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