bikingandbaking: photo of my road bike with a tag reading "51" on it (Default)
recipes and ride reports ([personal profile] bikingandbaking) wrote2015-05-17 02:49 pm

double-header weekend

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 [ 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.

This weekend last year, I put the bike in the car and headed west to ride a hilly loop while David ran the Bonefrog obstacle race. Different year, same race, same plan. Well, except that, with the differences in the brevet season mean that this year I've already had my season blown by the 300k DNF and injury and last year I was still looking forward with anticipation/apprehension to the 300k. So it was for fun and for seeing how my knee was healing that I clipped in this year.

I also managed to put dead batteries into my camera, and thus the only photo I have is a terrible cell phone one. I was amused by this tree after all the fiddling with the new fenders. It seemed nicely symbolic. (I took more cell pictures, but this was the only one a) worth sending at $1/pic, and b) not so large as to not be sendable at all; at some point I will join the smartphone legion and actually be able to get photos off my phone with a cable as well as having a data plan.)

I didn't do quite the same loop -- David thought he might be done faster this year, and my knee was an unknown variable, so I plotted out a 27-mile loop over several of the same roads and some new ones. Last year I tried to excise dirt; this year I mostly embraced it, although with the weather being dubious I had multiple options ready. That's definitely been something that's changed; three years ago I was sure I'd never do much gravel riding, and certainly not on the road bike. Last year I was willing to try them, a little at first and then going whole hog and riding the (short version of the) Vermont Fall Classic. Now I was poking at the D2R2 routes and Strava heatmaps and Bing maps with their dirt-road markings (not 100% accurate, but correct a good portion of the time). The snowpocalypse winter helped, too -- riding over several inches of powder on top of ice is good training in bike handling, and while I'm not a fast dirt descender, I'm not afraid of it either.

I didn't quite ride my planned route -- my knee was twinging on the first two (also the biggest) climbs, and I wasn't sure it was going to hold out. (It actually warmed up after that and was completely fine, but there was an easy bit to cut, plus the shortcut is a road I really like -- Baptist Corner Road, which has beautiful pavement and is hilly without being obnoxious.) Various maps led me astray only once; one dirt road was clearly not maintained -- while it looked like it probably still went through, it was definitely mountain-bike terrain, while the other way was nice smooth dirt and both eventually came out on Baptist Corner Road anyway.

As the predicted rain had not appeared, I opted against baking myself climbing in the heat on 116, and went into new territory. At this point I thought about wandering around the dirt backroads, but I also wanted to get back -- I'd had fun, I'd climbed a bunch of hills, and I was already pointed in the right direction -- if I just kept going, I'd hit what was hopefully (and was) a paved way down all that elevation I'd gained. So I zipped back, put the bike away, and then got a sunburn waiting for David to finish. Oops.

The second ride was almost the exact opposite -- a women's group ride out of RSC, with the exciting feature of having two groups, the front one of which was planned to go at a pace I knew I'd find challenging, and if it was too challenging I could drop back to the slower one. It was a thrill hearing them call the "fast group" and rolling out, and fast it was. By my standards, at least. But not so fast I couldn't hang on, and just when I was wondering a bit if I'd be able to keep that up, the group sort of took a collective breath and slowed down. Partly because the leader asked if we could try pacelining a bit, but most of the group wasn't really comfortable doing so. (I was the only one to pipe up and admit inexperience, but I actually seemed more comfy with the idea than a lot of the group; however, if we'd kept our earlier speed I'm not sure I could have handled it just because it requires concentrating at aerobic threshold is hard.) So we faffed around a bit and slowed down, and then didn't kick it back up after the paceline broke back into a loose social double line.

The only hill on the route came at the end; this was where I was really curious to see how I'd do. I was not the last one up, though basically two of us were dropped off the back together. Not by much, I don't think, at least not from the next riders up; the pack strung out heavily before no longer being a pack. So that was good, too. We cruised back down into Lexington for an average of 15.8mph, zoom. (Advertised as a 15-16mph group, so we were on target; if we'd kept up the initial pace it would probably have been more like 16.5.) Especially since the day before had been under 10mph average, because of massive hills and cautious riding on dirt.

And hey, there's a photo of this one, too, taken by RSC. Instagram embedding seems to be borked, so have a link. I'm in front of the door under the left-hand umbrella with my back to the camera, in the white/blue/green jersey and red/white helmet.
ruthling: (Default)

[personal profile] ruthling 2015-05-18 12:20 pm (UTC)(link)
was there a gazebo?

sounds like a nice trip. I get exhausted just thinking about it!