(All photo's taken with my ContourRoam camera.. Which I had set to take pictures every 30 seconds, mounted to the bottom of my handlebars. Not sure if the cold weather zapped the batteries, or if they're just not going to last for more than 4 hours.)
Saturday I did my first 200K ride - a "permanent" which is a predefined route that can be done at any time with the approval of the route owner, in this case Bill Fischer. I arrived at the Painted Post Sugar Creek at 6:10AM, with a planned departure of 6:30. I met Bill Fischer (who decided to ride with us) and Brian Harpster in the parking lot of the hotel out back, and Bill handed Brian and I our Brevet Cards. The cards, on some rides would be signed or stamped with a time and date stamp at each control, or like in this ride we would get receipts at each control. This was to be slightly more than a 200K, with 5 Controls (the first and last being Sugar Creek). At each Control, you go into the store, and either get your card signed, or purchase something and keep the receipt with time and date stamped on it. Each Control has an opening and closing time, based on your time of departure, and the RUSA approved pace for the distance you are riding, which for this distance was no faster than an average of 18.7mph, and no slower than 9.3 mph. Our first control 25 miles into the ride would be open from 7:50 until 9:10AM. The Sugar Creek control - our final Control would be closing at 8:02PM, plenty of time!!
Bill was ready in minutes, and Brian an I scrambled to get everything organized and together for our ride. Being completely new, we didn't know what to take and what to leave! We took our best guess, and headed towards the doors of the Sugar Creek to get our first receipt and get this ride under way!
I pop in the store, buy a Reeses Peanut Butter Tree, ask for my receipt and head out to my bike. Receipt stamp was 6:38AM. Lets roll, we're already behind!! Brian and Bill are pulling out of the parking lot, and I go to get on the bike, get the back of my cycling pants caught under the lip of my seat, and stat pedaling, looking like one of those high school kids with his pants around his thighs! I start laughing, reach back, pull them up, and follow the taillights in front of me, laughing all the way. What a perfect start.
It's a balmy 25 degrees, and would only end up warming to about 34-35 as a high throughout the day, the road had a wet surface, but no ice, so it's all good. The moon is bright, and our lights are working great. Drivers passing us give us a good berth, and we pedal on as the sky begins to get gray with the first sign of dawn. We had a bit of a headwind, and stay together pretty well for the first 15-20 miles. We exchange lead some, and all in all, just enjoy the day. Bill is a very strong rider, and Brian and I are exchanging places following him for the most part. Some flurries are blowing around, but the road conditions are good, and we're dressed for the weather, so we're good. Brian and I are loving the new Bar Mitt's that we bought ourselves before the trip, and commenting on how amazed we are that just a light pair of gloves is sufficient to keep the hands warm. (Goben was right!!) About 20 miles in, we start to separate a bit, and pull into the first control with Bill in the lead, myself about 2 minutes behind him, and Brian about 2 minutes behind me.
Feeling warm, and hands feeling great, I pop off my gloves and lay them on my seat and head inside. I grab a Starbucks Double Shot and a Breakfast Sandwich and head back outside to enjoy it in the 27 degree weather. My insulated water bottles are still at a good level, and though cold, the water is still completely liquid. I drank about 1/2 of one bottle, and should be drinking more. I make a mental note, eat the sandwich, drink 1/2 the Double Shot, and pour the rest in the water bottle. I grab my gloves, which are now frozen solid (dumbass), won't make that mistake again.. I throw them on, hop back on the bike, and start pedaling. We're doing fine..
The next portion of the ride has more climbing, but it's good, and we're enjoying our ride. Brian has dropped back some, but is still strong, and pulling his own. We check back and make sure he's in view, and continue on. A little ways down the road we take a right on 12 Mile Creek Road towards Naples, and talk about future rides. I am picking Bills brain, and am already talking about PBP (Paris Brest Paris a 1200K in France) in 2015. Bill is encouraging, and we talk about equipment, nutrition, riding techniques, etc.. My feet have started to get cold at about 30-35 miles in, but that is no surprise to me. We talk footwear a bit, and get "chased" by two dogs. One too small to bother with, and the other too old to give chase. The Windmills near Cohocton are on our left, and Brian has caught up, just in time for us to yell back ICE as we cross a bridge. This was the only major ice sheet of the trip, but fortunately doesn't go across the whole road. For the next 3 miles, the road has an intermittent ice crystal surface, and we proceed with caution.
Not much longer and we're descending into Naples. It's a big descent and we're flying (and freezing). We decide to stop for a warm up, fill bottles, grab a chocolate milk, and eat a couple of the Banana Muffins Kris made me for the trip. My bottles had frozen solid (I thought) on the last portion, but when I take the top off I realize that just the lids had frozen. I note that and leave the tops completely open for the rest of the trip, and make sure I drink more. I top them off with hot water from the coffee maker in the store.
We roll out of Naples, heading towards Canandaigua to our next Control. This next 20 miles has some pretty serious rolling hills, and some good climbs. Bill decides to avoid one of the side routes for safety sake, as when we're climbing one portion near it, the road in the shade of the guardrails is somewhat icy. I don't mind, because it was a severe descent, likely to be covered with sand and gravel and not safe. It takes a portion of riding along Canandaigua Lake out, but we're riding the ridge along the lake, the view is great, and we have some sun! Of course we have probably about a 10mph average headwind, but Bill, always looking at the positive, says "won't be long and it'll be a tail wind! We'll be happy to have it.", so we just deal with it, with the knowledge, that later in the ride it'll be something we'll enjoy. (these are the last of the photo's, the camera batteries died between Naples and Canandaigua)..
When we get into Canandaigua, we're in decent shape. The control closes at around 1:30 PM, and it's about 12:30, so we're doing OK. We all grab banana's, chocolate Milk, and I grab a Payday bar. We relax a bit, eat up, and get back on the road heading to our next stop in Penn Yan.
It's at this point that Bill and I mention the obvious. Though my dream goal was having this take about 10-10.5 hours, in the last segment we figured the new pace probably leaving things a little more realistic around 12 hours, but Brian is suffering some on the climbs, he mentioned that he hadn't been on his bike since August, and though he's a spin instructor, long miles are different and taking their toll. Bill says to me, this is going to take over 12 hours, but I am not sure. I know Brian, and he's a hardhead. He'll push through.
Our next stop is Penn Yan in 22 miles, and we get there shortly after 2:30. The control closes at 3:55, so we're fine on the clock, but there is some severe climbing ahead of us, I have some lateral knee pain that has been bugging me all day, and Brian mentions severe knee pain that is making climbing near impossible for him. The next 40 miles has some climbs in it, and a lot of rolling terrain. We get out of the control at 2:40, and go about 2 miles till we start our climb up the Old Bath Road. The next 10 mile stretch takes 72 minutes, and the one following that 63. We've gone 1/2 the distance we need to, but it has taken 2 hours and 15 minutes. We're ok, but we have 20 miles left to go, and it's after 5:00, the sun has set, and it's starting to cool down. Brian is still slogging, not giving up, suffering big time, but still with us. My heartrate has dropped to about 110-120 average, and it's not enough to keep me warm in sweat damp clothing and my feet are cold, very cold, and I have started to shudder some, however, there is only 20 miles left, and 3 hours to do it in! We only have to average about 6.7 mph to make it! We're golden.
5 miles further, and Brian tells Bill and I to go on without him. He's going to try to finish things up, but we're going to head in, get the car and come back and see if he wants to throw in the towel. Bill gets behind me, and we use his light (my headlight is stuck on blink mode, and though entertaining, isn't much for seeing hazards!) and pick up the pace. Amazing enough I can see Brian not falling off as fast as expected in my mirror, though he has fallen back. In Savona, with just over 10 miles left we take the turn onto 415, and Bill pulls in front, I ask if it's OK to grab on to his wheel, and I drop in behind him for the next 7 miles. We're now humming along at about 17-19mph, and I am giving it all I have to just stay on his wheel. I am about 8 inches off his back tire, turned my blinking headlight off because it was bugging me, and I am warm now. Except my feet of course. With about 3 miles left I tell Bill I am falling back a bit. I am whooped, I know I am going to finish, and it's not worth killing myself to try to make the last 3 miles with every last ounce of energy I have, and still have over an hour to spare. Bill says, OK, and he's going to go get his car and head back for Brian.
I drop back some, and Bill stays in sight for 2 of the remaining 3 miles. I enjoy the distance, pedaling fast enough to stay warm, but looking at the obnoxious christmas lights, and smiling. BIG TIME.. I can see the stoplight next to the Sugar Creek in the distance.
With 1/2 mile left, Bill pulls up on the other side of the road, yells at me that he'll be right back, and I head in. at 6:58PM I get my final receipt, for a chocolate milk, a can of pringles, and a 6 pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to celebrate. 12hours and 28 minutes. 128.5 miles.
3 minutes later Bill pulls in, and says Brian is only 2 miles out and doing awesome! I get changed out of my cold wet clothes, and down the milk and we round the corner just in time to see Brian pedal into the lot. He looks like hell, drool running down his face, and Bill helps him off his bike. Brian shuffles into the store and has trouble making sentences. I get from him to grab his money out of his jersey pocket, and buy him a chocolate milk and get the receipt. I do so, and open it for him. His hands aren't working well, and he's not moving around great. Bill pulls Brian's van up, and loads up his bike for him, and he says he's heading home, and not sticking around for the beer. Brian scratches out his signature on the Brevet Card, and hands it to Bill with the receipts, shimmies in his van, after promising Bill and I that he was OK to drive the 3 miles home, and pulls out of the parking lot, with his bike helmet still on.
Bill and I sit in the front of my truck in the heat, and drink a beer and toast to my first 200K! I can't wait for the next one! It's in Reading PA on January 1st with over 10,000 feet of climbing! I sign my Brevet Card, and give it and the receipts to Bill, and we part ways.
3 days later my feet are still numb. I ordered some winter cycling shoes today. Hopefully they do the trick
Train adequately - I was glad I had done the 85 miler a few weeks back, and continued some longer mileage training.
Get Warmer footwear - my shoe covers just held the moisture in, and my feet were soaked by Naples.
When you've ridden for 12 hours, don't drink a Chocolate Milk followed by a beer. I had to stop on my way home and throw that up! Dumbass....