Yep, thats right, tonight I actually entered my first sanctioned bike race so I need a license and all that jazz. However this was not a road race as most of you might think. No, no, if you saw my previous “Tire Teaser” post you might have an inkling. I pinned on a number for a cyclo-cross or CX race. Now if you don’t know what cyclo-cross racing is, well, it’s hell on wheels that involve, barriers, stairs, running, carrying the bike and sometimes also includes mud, snow and all sorts of foul weather. If that isn’t a good enough description for you here is a video that summarizes it well. Thankfully our course was dry and it’s way to early in the year for snow.
I prefer to ride with no gloves. I’ve always worn gloves until recently. I don’t get along well with padded gloves and the last couple of pairs I’ve bought had no (or very little) padding which suited me well. My favorite is a pair of leather gloves but my biggest problem is when my hands sweat and get the gloves soggy I tend to move around in the gloves a bit. So recently I’ve stared to ride barehanded. I like the feel, my hands don’t get sweaty, but I’m not thrilled as I’m always afraid of hitting the deck and landing on my bare palms. I was a teenager with a bike and a skateboard so I know what road rash on the palms feels like, it’s not good. Also last week on my fondo ride my palms were getting a little sore from such a long ride, something I never experienced before. So I’m on the search for a decent glove thats tight and won’t cause my hand to sweat too much. What say you, gloves yea or nay?
Never eat hot dogs before a ride, bad things happen. ’nuff said
I’ve found that I really like 52×28 on grades up to 5%. Yeah, technically I’m cross chaining but there is something about staying in that big ring.
My lack of proper nutrition at the fondo has prompted me to go back to the drawing board and expand my repertoire. I’m back to testing GU gels again. When I started riding I used them almost exclusively but then I got away from them when I went to more real foods, but on a long ride there is only so many solids I can digest. GU also seems to be the most prevalent thing at supported rides so I just want to make sure I can still tolerate them before I head out on a long ride. It gives me another option to my Honey Stingers, Untapped Maple, Bonk Breakers and Skratch. I’m also very intrigued with the SiS products, especially their gels. Supposedly their gels are isotonic which means it has the same concentration of the fluid make up in the body (or something like that). Essentially it means you can ingest/digest one of their gels w/o needing to take on additional water, unlike all of the other type of gels I’ve used which always say to take with water. Because it’s close to what the human body is doing naturally it will be digested and get into the body quicker. Anyone have any experience with SiS?
This past Sunday I participated in my second Farm to Fork Fondo. Last year I chose the “Medio Fondo” route which was essentially 100k, but this year I stepped it up to the “Gran Fondo” which was billed as 140k (87 miles) and ~5800′ of elevation. This ride would be a first for me as I had never done that much elevation in a single ride before.
Just to get it out of the way, hands down, this was the most challenging ride I have ever done. I was good until about mile 75 when we hit a climb known as “The Wall”, but more on that later. My biggest issue was that my nutrition was off and I underestimated my needs for the day. I always tend to take too much food with me and never finish it all. This time I planned for exactly what my expected time to be and missed it by a bunch.
The idea behind this ride (and its sister rides) is about bringing awareness to and support our local farms along with the open green space they provide and the relationship between cyclists, the landscape and healthy living. There are three more rides in the series this summer if you are so inclined, just visit FarmForkFondo.com more more details.
As with the ride last year there was no shortage of pros and retired pros on hand to mingle and ride with. The Colavita | Bianchi women’s cycling team was there, Ian Boswell from Team Sky, retired pro Ted King, along with a few others who’s names escape me at the moment.
I’m just getting back into the swing of “normal” life after spending the weekend in the DC area participating in the Ride & Run to Remember event which benefits the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund. I did this ride last year as well so this was my second time back supporting this great organization.
The weekend started with a longer than usual drive down thanks to an inordinate amount of traffic accidents with a mix of rain on and off. Thankfully my bike wasn’t on the back of my SUV as I had made DIY fork mount which allows it ride inside safe from the weather and thieves. We didn’t arrive to almost 11:30pm at night and needed to be up and in the city at about 7am for walk/run registration. Surprisingly neither of us could really sleep so we were up and out early headed to Dunkin’ Donuts for a coffee before the event. We ended up having to go to two DD’s due to the workers in the first one not being able to tell time but we still arrived with plenty of time before the race start. Little did we know it was going to be delayed for more than an hour! We were not prepared to be outside standing around in the cool windy temps for that long and really got chilled. There were other events going on in DC that day so MPD and the organizers had to modify the route which took some time. We ended up bailing after waiting an hour as we were both shivering. Had they started the event on time we would have been fine. My fiancée ended up completing the 5k virtually on the treadmill at the hotel and I had no issue doing the 2k walk with all the walking around we did. I’m not sure when they actually started the walk/run but it was well after we left, kudos to everyone who stayed and braved the wind and cold.
Anyway, for me the event I look most forward to is the Sunday bike ride. It is billed as a 55 mile ride but last year it totaled 59 and this year they modified it slightly so it was around 57. My only goal for the day was to better my time from last year which I did by almost 20 minutes. It might have been even more but there is about 2 miles of bike trail you ride on near the finish and it had washed out and heaved sections which really slowed down your average speed. Overall elevation was 2200′ according to my Garmin, so it’s moderately hilly @ a little less than 40′ per mile. But like I said last year, being from the north east I’ve had shorter rides with more elevation so it wasn’t anything I wasn’t used to.
I started out towards the front and was probably in the first dozen or so going through the gates. There was no wind to speak of but the on bike temp was under 40 degrees F so it wasn’t long before I was wishing I had worn my long fingered gloves. Arm warmers, knee warmers and some embro on my calves were fine for the rest of my body but my fingers suffered for about the first hour until I could get out into the sunlight. After that it was smooth sailing. I hooked up with a couple of different groups of riders between stops 2 and 4. We had a strong paceline going for a good bit until some climbs broke us up before the last rest stop. I needed a bottle refill after that and ended up riding the last short leg (~8 miles) solo.
I look forward going again next year and riding with some awesome people again.
This past weekend I participated in a new cycling event, the Farm to Fork Fondo. The idea behind the event is to support local farms and farming organizations. Each rest stop on the ride was held at a different farm which featured treats made from the farms or other locally sourced items. Proceeds from the event would be donated to local farmers and organizations to help them with project and other causes like preserving the beautiful open space we all enjoy on our bicycles. This particular event was hosted in Orange County, NY, but there is a second event coming up in Vermont in two weeks. The event is put on by former pro Tyler Wren & Wrenegade Sports and major sponsors of the event are Colavita and Fine Cooking magazine so besides the bike rides there are other activities (dining, cooking classes) throughout the weekend, depending on what “package” you choose. There was also a Q&A session with the Colavita | Bianchi womens pro team the morning of the ride as well. The OC event is hosted at Cedar Lakes Estates which hosts a whole mess of other off the bike activities as well.
At the OC event, there were several different routes to choose from; the Gran Fondo @ 94miles, the Medio Fondo @ 60 miles, the Piccolo Fondo @ 30 miles & the Ramble Ride @ 10 miles. I signed up for the Medio Fondo @ 60 miles with an estimated 3,700 feet of elevation gain. Since I haven’t been able to get in many long distance rides in this year I figured that was more than enough. Plus since the Cedar Lakes venue is basically on top of a mountain that meant a mountain top finish to the ride! Here you can see the elevation chart from Ride With GPS.
The weather report for the weekend was all over the place. First it was supposed to be a complete washout then only Saturday was going to be bad with it clearing up early Sunday morning for the ride. Of course the forecasts were all wrong and there was a light on and off shower with about an hour to go which turned into a good downpour about 30 minutes before the start. It finally stopped, or at least slowed down with about 10 to go, so the organizers pushed the start back a half hour to allow some of the water to run off. After all we would be descending out of the gate with wet brakes so no need to add lots of run off to the mix as well.