Tag Archives: bicycling

Some Roads Are Less Traveled for a Very Good Reason

Rando Roundup

It has been a strange year, randonneuring wise, and a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that it is a Paris-Brest-Paris year.  This 1200k ride is the equivalent of the World Championships of randonneuring.  It only comes around every 4 years, and you have to ride a complete Super Randonneur series (a 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k) the year before to ensure your registration, and then ride another in the same calendar year to qualify.  Thousands of riders from all around the world meet in Paris in August to try and complete the ride from Paris to the coast and back in 90 hours (or less; there are other time categories for the genuinely insane).  Quite a few people from our local club were participating but I was not among them.

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Moar Randonneuring! Now With Extra Protein!

Frederick 300K
April 18, 2015

The Good Stuff

At the end of the ride, begrimed, sucking down delicious high fructose corn syrup products and waiting for the Pizza to arrived I was talking with Mike, the DCR club president.  “You know,” he said, “I always read your blog and enjoy it, even if I have to skip some to get to the good stuff.”  I wasn’t at all offended.  I assumed that he was thinking about posts like my last one, where my rando report was seemingly tacked on to a philosophical disquisition about the influence of middle-of-the road Greek pop singers.  But I had to laugh; that is one of the things I like most about writing (and reading): what counts as the “good bits” is different for everyone.  For my rando comrades these posts probably can’t contain enough bike geekery: they will delight in arcane discussions about the TPI of tires, the actual versus claimed lumens of lighting systems, and the dark magic arcana of wheel specs.  For more normal people, the philosophical disquisitions probably represent the good (or at least the OK) bits and then it all goes rapidly downhill.

The short version of today’s ride: lots of going rapidly downhill, lots of good bits, lots of extra bits, and a bit of actual and metaphorical darkness.  Pretty much a typical brevet.  And after the last two rides, “typical” was more than welcome.

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Threat Assessment

Cycling with Headphones

“Lala-Lala-Lah. The world has recognized my awesomeness and will not dare to hurt me!” Photo by Adrian Midgley. Creative Commons License.

Sometimes, when you are a cyclist, it seems as if the entire world is just itching for an opportunity to jump out at you, knock you down, back over you in an Escalade, and pour acid on your still twitching corpse.

That is not far from the truth.

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Provocation vs. Prevarication

In response to my previous post about new helmet technologies a teammate forwarded a link to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute which takes issue with some of the points made in Barcott’s Bicycling magazine article.  The BHSI does have a very important objection which I’ll address in a minute.  They also point to a number of factual errors in the article and include a list.  But their chief concern seems to be that the article “over-stated” its point and was written simply to be “provocative” with the clear implication that that is a bad thing.  The BHSI itself relies on over-statement when in its title it suggests that Barcott’s article “has many misleading statements;” by their own admission the factual errors are “minor.”  Furthermore, being provocative is not the same thing as being “alarmist.”  No one reading Barcott’s article could fail to recognize that there was a lot of research and work that went into this; this is not simply the hack journalist’s “[Fill in the Blank] gives you Cancer!!!!!” story.

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The Story of a Bike, a Man, and his Impressive Tool

Garrett County Gran Fondo
Savage Century
June 23, 2012

Without a doubt, this was the hardest bike ride I’ve done to date, and that includes the Mountains of Misery Double Metric.   The MoM double has more climbing and, with one exception, the climbs are longer and often steeper.  Garrett county has nothing like the final climb on MoM which starts out ridiculously steep and just when you think you are handling it, abruptly steepens enough to blow you up.

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Life Changing Events

Santa came slightly early to our household this year, probably because he realized that packing two bikes into his sleigh wouldn’t leave a lot of room for presents for the rest of the general population.  Mary had been wondering about the wisdom of getting a tri bike for a while since we’re doing Rev 3 Cedar Point which is basically flat.  The unknown was the Challenge Wanaka course.  However a little research showed that it is considerably flatter than she had been expecting, and doing these two races back-to-back would seem to make a tri bike a good investment.

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Salt and Culpeper

Went for a glorious five mile run today.  Why was it glorious?  It was only five miles.

Yesterday was our 110 mile ride (give or take).  We all pretty much knew in advance that it was going to be a tough one.  Not so much because of the distance but because of the terrain.  The Culpeper region of Virginia gives you Hobson’s choice: steep climbs, or constantly rolling terrain.  If you are ever offered such a choice of ways to die, trust me, pick the steep hills.  Many people on the team had done much of this ride last year which had the added bonus of being done in 90 degree weather (in April, no less), a ride captured in disconcerting detail by Mary.  Describing that ride to someone yesterday, Mary’s partner in suffering, Jason, remembered the way they degenerated into sputtering random profanities by the end of the ride.  “There were no actual sentences, just profanity.  It was like a George Carlin monologue.”

In one respect we lucked out.  The weather was on our side.  Starting at 7am, it was cool and overcast for most of the morning.  The temperature did finally climb into the 80s, but this was a lot better than the triple digit heat index days we’ve faced for the long rides recently.

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