Month: October 2014

Ride & Run to Remember 2014

ride-and-run-to-rememberOver the weekend I participated in the Ride & Run to Remember charity event that benefits the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund. If you are unfamiliar with that fund I suggest you head over here to check it out. But as you might guess it goes to benefit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and since I’m involved in LE it’s something I like to support to honor our fallen brothers & sisters.

I had signed up to be a “Road Warrior” which would involve me running the 5K and then doing the 55 mile ride the following day. My girlfriend decided she wanted to participate but due to an injury she wouldn’t be able to run but we decided on the 2K walk instead. Unfortunately the day of the run/walk it decided to rain. Plus with us being over the bridge from the start and not exactly sure where we were going we sorta missed the start. What’s the saying about best laid plans?  Even still we still walked anyway even if it wasn’t “official” and covered way more than 2K. After all we were in DC and there is a lot of national treasures to see!

Thankfully the day of the ride Mother Nature decided to give us a reprieve from the rain and let the sun shine even if it was a little cold. There was no being late for this as the hotel we were staying at was located across the street from the start/finish line. 55 miles isn’t the longest ride I’ve done but I was still a little nervous going into it since I have never rode in this area before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The elevation profile estimated about 2800′ of ascent so it was a manageable elevation, especially for a northern boy (heck, I’ve done 30 mile rides with more elevation than that). At the start we got a few pre-ride photos along with a nice introduction and singing of the National Anthem. With that out of the way, the sirens went off and we were on our way!

I wont bore you with excruciating details of the ride but it was a great route in a nice area and I found it very flat. It was funny listening to people from the area complain about the “hills” and I’m looking around saying to myself “what hill?” Actually there was a nasty headwind for about 1/3 of the ride that was far worse than any hill out there. There were 4 rest stops on the route and I made good used of each of them (i.e. used the loo). I went with my typical on the bike nutrition but did help myself to some Kind bars they had at a couple of the stops. By the end of the ride I was still feeling good and not suffering at all. I could of probably pushed the pace a bit more but ended up finish with a respectable 15.1mph average with a final mileage of 59 miles.

Can’t wait to do it again next year!

With that I leave you with a few photos.

 Getting ready to ride.We depart!Just after crossing the finish.

With my finishers medal.My two biggest supporters.

Nuances of climbing

I’m always fascinated at seeing the different riding styles of people, especially when climbing. Combing from mountain bikes where the granny gear was tall enough to go up a vertical wall I never considered myself a climber and when I first got back on the road seriously I hated the climbing. Now I welcome a good climb and thrive in the sense of accomplishment when I make it to the top or set a new personal record.

My style has evolved over time and I try to keep a constant pace up a hill. I may not be the fastest as the start but usually I’ll catch up to the people who attack at the bottom and then taper when they burn out near the top and usually I’ll still have some left in the tank to meander on by them. Then there are the people who shift too late and start grinding early in the climb or they are afraid of shifting too late and thus shift too early and have no momentum to carry onto the hill. I used to be both of these people and I would try different things on my solo rides until I figured out when the optimal time for me to shift would be – basically when I start feeling my momentum slow it’s time to drop to the smaller chain ring. There is one exception and that would be a small roller where I just need to dig a little to get over the hump w/o expending too much energy. Once I’m in the smaller chain ring I try and keep what momentum I have left while spinning a high cadence which for me would be 80-90rpm as I am most comfortable in that range. If it’s a long and/or steep climb I’ll go through the cassette trying to keep me in that range until I hit the big cog. From then on it’s just a matter of grinding it out. If I’ve played my cards right I’ll have enough left in the tank to actually accelerate over the top of the hill while everyone else is looking to recover.

When I ride solo I’m more apt to push the envelope a bit because if I burn out no one else will be waiting on me. But on the club ride I’ll pick a pace and go at it. This past weekend ride was interesting because we had a rider that would attack the hills early and stand on the pedals and pass the group before sitting down. Now we aren’t racing but I always like a challenge so I would then pull out of line and follow. He would of course be ahead of me but I would slowly reel him in as we reached the top, sometimes just tucking in behind or other times pulling up along side. It was comical as we did this over and over again throughout the day. I don’t think he ever caught on but I’d always be right there when he turned around.


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