Monday, November 28, 2011

Southwest Steuben County - Two Wolves and an Eagle

This was the first over 50 mile ride on my new CoMotion Cascadia in preparation for my first shot at Randonneuring. I have scheduled to do a 200K Permanent on December 10th or 11th, weather dependent.

It was not my longest ride, it wasn’t fast, it wasn’t the most climbing I have done, or the coldest ride I have ridden. What it was, was a great time, with new found friends, 85 miles of riding with 5000 feet of climbing on an unexpectedly warm November day. It was touted to be a nice ride in Southwest Steuben County with the opportunity to burn off that Thanksgiving turkey, and I believe that goal was indeed accomplished!
Saturday my day started with a drive to Addison from home. Typically I wouldn’t even bring something like this up, but the reason I mention it, is that while driving through Wellsville, I pass a guy on a mountain bike, riding down the main drag, in full blaze orange, with a gun case strapped across him, headed out for the days hunt.  Interesting enough, in my whole drive and ride, this was one of only 4 hunters I would see.

The ride left the Acorn in Addison at 9:00AM, and headed through town out the Addison Back Road towards Freedom, and then jumping on 417 for a short bit, to turn left and head south towards Borden, rounding into Woodhull, and then on to Austinburg, PA for our first stop. The roads were amazing. Absolutely Amazing! On the turn towards Austinburg out of Woodhull, there is a nice climb, this was about 22 miles into the ride, and where I realized and mentioned in passing that with my lack of conditioning, if we kept up this pace (90% of my max HR for nearly half of the miles we had ridden thus far) I was going to have some trouble.  I pedaled on, now spinning more, using higher cadence, and slowing to a pace that was more around 85% of my Max HR, and we reached our first stop in Austinburg 25.5 miles into the trip at 1:55 hours. A short stop and rest, off the bike, about 10 minutes, just long enough as I could feel the lactic acid starting to settle, and legs starting to feel some major fatigue. I was feeling guilty for dragging, but just like a ride with the Rogues, no-one ever complained, or mentioned anything about it. So I got back in the saddle and pedaled on, still enjoying the trip.

Back on the bike, and we head north on 36 towards Troupsburg, but turn left on Squab Hollow Wileyville Road, and take that over to 98, where we turn north and head towards Rexville. Here we hit the highest point on our ride, just over 2300 feet, and it was awesome. At the top of this climb, I finally pull up and tell the group to go on ahead without me. I was dragging, and figured my best bet would be to continue on, on my own, without feeling that I was holding the group back. We were at 38.8 miles (3:10 hours), and the average for miles 30-40 was 10.2mph. Mind you, that 10 mile stretch also had over 1000 feet of climbing. So – they tell me basically to shut up, and stick to Bill Fischer’s wheel, and we were heading down through Rexville, Greenwood, and into Canisteo for lunch (3:53).  This was unknown to me 15 miles of downhill. We averaged over 25 mph for the next 10 miles, and likely held that pace for the whole 15, but my Garmin is set for 10 mile “laps” and in the middle of that second lap is where we stopped for lunch.  Another interesting thing is that for the second part of that descent, from mile 47 on, my heartrate averaged over 163 (85% MaxHR), this is still in aerobic, and I knew I shouldn’t do it, but I knew lunch was coming and figured it was the least I could do for the guys pulling me. 50 minutes for lunch, Turkey Club, Coffee, and much water. Good conversation, and the nagging in the back of my head that we still had many miles to go. From here it was 30 miles to be exact. The next 10 miles included 800+ feet of climbing, with heavy legs, but in this 10 miles we saw a bald eagle just next to the road, and enjoyed a headwind as we headed slightly south again, through South Canisteo, out County Route 21 through South Cameron, and getting on 119 east of Rathbone. That descent to Route 119 was the most beautiful part of the trip, whether it was the knowledge that we were nearing the end of the voyage, or the fact that it was a spectacular downhill, lined with pines and a creek on the right if I remember right, but it was sure pretty.

The light was starting to dim, as it was now nearing 4:00, during that final 6 miles there was a bit of traffic, and we popped our taillights on and I watched the computer to see if we would beat the 6 hour mark on the bikes.  We hit a stoplight in town, and pulled back into the Acorn at 6 hours and 46 seconds.  I say “we”, that would be myself and Mark Hogan.  Bill Fischer and Blaine Chamberlain were 30 seconds in front of us, and I am sure that Jack Chaney and John? (forgot his last name) from north of Watertown, but a Horseheads native, made it in under 6 hours.  Total time from Acorn to Acorn was 6:48 hours.   Garmin said I burned 5700 calories, and considering my average HR was 163 (85%), I can believe it. Average riding speed was just 14.1 mph, but I didn’t feel bad about that, as the 200K I do in two weeks has a limit of 9.3mph, including stops.  This ride including stops (one of which was a 50 minute lunch) was 12.6mph.

Anyways – if you didn’t enjoy the read, so be it.  I did enjoy the ride, rode with 5 guys who were all (except for John maybe) at least 10 years my senior, and who all were very capable of burying me riding. They also all mentioned that it would just be a matter of time in the saddle, as similar guys who have pulled me on the Rogue Team have also told me. I loved the new Co-Motion, the Brooks Saddle, and after 6 hours had less discomfort than most 30 mile rides on any of the road bikes I have ridden. The weight of the bike cost me, but no more than the extra weight I am carrying on my body.

Catch you guys later.  Hope your weekend was Epic.

By the way, on the Austinburg Road, we saw two wolf looking dogs in a kennel next to the road, and I mentioned this to Bill Fischer. It was only after coming back to work on Monday that I learned that they were wolves. 100% pure wolves. The guy has owned them for 15 years. Very cool!

WHAT I LEARNED! :  more what I was reminded of.  Lack of conditioning is not necessarily lack of nutrition. Drink 1 bottle of water (something) per Control (30 miles).  Dr. Pepper and water (mixed) isn't nutritionally optimal, it's just sugar and caffeine, which feels good initially, but doesn't do much nutritionally. 

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