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Sunday, April 24, 2011

NJ 200K

Yesterday I rode the N.J. (Princeton) 200k, which is where this journey started for me last year. I was mentioning to some of the people that I was riding with yesterday, how much more comfortable I am now with several brevets under my belt. Even though I have been riding a bike almost year round for 10 plus years now with several cycling trip experiences as well, I cant believe how nervous I was last year for those first few brevets. So many things were new and unknown, and now, although the "unknowns" are still out there, everything about the experience now feels so much more comfortable.

Our conditions yesterday were very challenging in the morning, as we rode through some very hard rain for several hours, but by mid day, we had just drizzle, and our final hours were dry. The NJ Princeton 200K is a very challenging, scenic & hilly ride, with excellent support. I rode with a group of 4 riders for almost the entire day, including my Rando friend John Clamp, Roy, John & Peter and we made good time throughout the day, and I know that I enjoyed everyone's company.

Next week I will be riding the PA 400K, as I need to complete a 400K this year as my primary qualification for The Shenandoah 1200K, which is now not that far off. I feel like my training for that event is going well, and after riding my 2nd brevet yesterday on my new Gunner Rando bike, I am starting to get more dialed in to the bike after some needed adjustments after the PA 300k.

Thanks for reading, and until next time, "Keep on Truckin'"


Sunday, April 3, 2011

PA 300k, 4/2/11

Yesterday I rode my 2nd PA brevet this year, a very challenging "Water Gap" loop. Our start was pushed back by 1 hour until 6 A.M., after a late spring snowstorm thankfully missed the greater metro area a day ago, but our RBA wanted to make sure that the higher elevation roads had a chance to melt any remaining ice. 26 riders set out on the 300k ride. This event was my first ride on my new Gunner Rando bike, and given some bad weather & other "life events", I was only able to ride the bike about 20 miles prior to this event, so I knew there would be some expected adjustment period. I loved the way the bike handled & performed, I enjoyed having the Hub & very powerful Supernova light illuminating the roads, and I also really like having a bag up front using a Nitto rack, which I felt made the bike handle far more comfortably and stable than the Topeak bag that I had attached to my seatpost on my former bike. All of that said, the adjustments are different on this bike, and I certainly felt some aches and pains during the ride, and if I had really wanted to ride today, it would have been difficult.(I tried & gave up quickly) Of course, these are the things that I need and intend to work out in the next couple of weeks before some longer events.

The ride was very scenic, and I am not really sure how many times we passed between NJ & PA, but there were great views all day of the Delaware River. Although I had hoped and intended to be able to take a few more scenic pictures during the day, I did not, as I am just not comfortable taking my iPhone out and snapping pictures along the way, and the group I was riding with again was always focused on getting to the next control, as was I. I rode the entire event with my new friend John Clamp, as I now ridden 3 events with John, and our riding styles are similar, and I think we do a good job of working together. More importantly, I know that I enjoy his company. John & I also met up with Bill Fischer around mile 100, and we rode the rest of the day with Bill, and I really enjoyed meeting him, and soaking up a lot of his cycling knowledge. I have now completed 6 brevets, and in some ways, yesterday was probably my worst day physically on the bike, as I had been sick during the week, and just did not seem to have my usual energy. There was a period around mid day where I really started to fall behind John & Bill for 6 miles or so on a relatively flat stretch, and not only did I think that I would not be able to catch up, I started to have some doubts & concerns about riding on my own, which I suppose is part of the experience. Thankfully, I was able to make up some ground, and I know they also slowed up for me before starting a big climb, and after that, I was able to both physically and mentally recover, and the rest of the day was enjoyable. As always, each experience is a new one, and for me, I still have a lot to learn, and I am enjoying the journey!

      Craig, Bill & John, during a quick break @ Control #5 in Portland, PA