bikingandbaking: photo of my road bike with a tag reading "51" on it (Default)
So the last time I posted, I was cranky after DNFing the 300k. I dithered for a few days over trying to head out to Westfield to ride their Bash Bish 300k, and the bike was in the shop with ETA unknown, trying to troubleshoot the ongoing chainsuck issues.

And then I landed wrong playing DDR and twisted my bad knee. Welp, decision made. I don't play DDR much right before events I care about; while it's fun and a really good workout it's a lot more injury-risking than most things. And my knees were probably a bit on the overstressed side anyway from ramping mileage up too much. It also wasn't healing quickly enough for me to get enough miles in before the 400k. So, alas, this is not going to be my year for my first full series.

Having decided that, though, opened up more opportunities for fun rides -- am thinking of doing Raid Rockingham, the same weekend as the NJ 600k, which looks like fun and I might be able to convince [livejournal.com profile] dphilli1 to come along. And to focus my energies on maybe getting a little faster, rather than purely on building endurance.

The bike arrived home last weekend, with a happier drivetrain and new fenders. The latter were not actually exactly planned; I asked about what my various fender options were, especially if there were any that would make 28mm tires less of a tight fit, and somehow that translated into the shop going ahead and installing a set, which were not quite right and I had to turn around halfway home and have them tweaked. Once tweaked, though, they're nicely larger than my old ones.

So without goals, just for fun, I did two shorter rides this weekend.

A hill montage and hanging onto a fast group... )
bikingandbaking: photo of my road bike in front of a statue of an apple (baldwin monument)
So: the New England Randonneurs 400k. These randonneuring rides form a sequence -- 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k, and then there are the big event rides after the main series, that are generally 1000k or 1200k or even longer.

My goal this year was to see how the series went, and how far I could go. After the 200k and 300k I realized that I wasn't yet fast enough to get any sleep on the local hilly 600k (which is the first of the rides to have a sleep stop), and that trying to ride it straight through sounded like a recipe for both running out of time at about the 450k mark and being too discouraged to try again next year. So I decided to focus on having a really good 400k and to aim for the full series next year.

I was nervous going into this ride, more so than before the 300k. I'd put new fenders and tires on the bike a couple weeks before, and the weekend before the 400k I went out on a shakedown ride. I'd intended to do a solo 200k, and mapped out a gently rolling ride up to Essex, NH, with lots of nice places to stop.

Then I actually set out on the ride. Ugh. My legs felt dead, dead, dead. I stopped again and again to make sure nothing was rubbing -- the new fenders and tires are a very tight fit. Nope, no rubbing. I was on familiar favorite roads to begin with, and I was just slow. The new tires did feel better than the old on grooved pavement, which had eaten a section that is normally one of my favorite stretches. But nothing can make grooved pavement feel good. I stopped and took a picture to take a break from the rumble.

photo of a bike in front of a stone monument depicting an apple

More whining alleviated by pretty pictures )
Alas. 85 miles round-trip, and I never got into a groove, and my average speed reflected it. I was also still having trouble with the GPS, so rather than try to do a second ride the next day, I took it back to REI for a replacement, and hoped I (and my equipment) would be ready for the next weekend.

Next up: the actual ride!
bikingandbaking: photo of my road bike with a tag reading "51" on it (Default)
Last weekend, [livejournal.com profile] dphilli1 had a race out in Charlemont, so I tagged along. I'd been neglecting doing hill-climbing training, and it kind of showed in how I felt on the 200k, so I figured there were two options:

1. Ride home from Charlemont, a 200k, in what was predicted to be heavy rain. Not especially hilly, mile-for-mile, although nothing resembling flat.

2. Put together a hill ride in the area, finishing about the same time David would be done. Given that this is the land of D2R2[1], the only challenge would be keeping it mostly on paved roads, since none of the online mapping sites reliably show improved vs. unimproved roads, and there's a lot of dirt out there. Still predicted to be in heavy rain, but I'd only be out in it for 40 miles or so.

I went with the latter, which was by far the most fun I've had climbing hills on a bike. It didn't hurt that the predicted rain all dumped on us on the drive out there, and by the time I set out the roads were dry and the sun was out.

Definitely so much better than doing hill repeats, which I did today. Ugh. (I don't actually go repeat the same exact climb; I have a loop that takes me up a whole bunch of local hills in a row, but it's definitely a workout ride and not actually scenic.)

image of a hilly road on a sunny day

cut for lots of photos )

[1] If you don't want to click the link, this is the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnee, a notoriously hilly, mostly dirt road organized ride.

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