Twelfth Bike

or Ride What You Will

Archive for August, 2011

D2R2 in reverse in brief

Posted by Susan on August 28, 2011

This year I downloaded the tracks to the GPS, but failed to study the maps and cue sheet.  I was determined to ride the 180k to lunch at the back of the pack, so I left the start at 7am — all alone (I had invited another rider to join me, but I was very sleepy and muddleheaded, and I forgot to wait for him – seriously (Sorry Dan, I hope you’ll join me next year).  Since this ride is a loop, when I reached the juncture of the inbound with the outbound, I had to make a guess about which way I would take.  So, I flipped a mental coin and  turned right, unknownst to me at that moment – I had chosen to ride the 180k in reverse.

Well, the first 7 miles were enjoyably mellow, and  it was a thrill to fly down Patten Hill!  Once I figured that I was riding the route in reverse – I rejoined the real 180k by making a left turn on Adamsville Rd.  Having taken a 25 mile shortcut, I rejoined just in time to see the fast riders go by,  and I enjoyed  a perfectly lovely, leisurely solo ride to the lunch stop, arriving just 5 minutes before Elisabeth and Susan Montgomery!

Elisabeth and Susan, who rode the Green River Ride to lunch, wanted to try some real hills, so we three rode an additional 8 mile loop after lunch.  I was surprised to see Elisabeth turn into a super biker as she  disappeared ahead of us!  Her lowest gear was a 34 (front) by 27. I had been concerned that she wouldn’t want to climb the hills in that gear, and had offered my bike, but she had refused.  She certainly turned out to be the better hill climber of the two of us, I was just plodding along in my 30 x 30.

I chose to ride a knobby cyclocross tire -the Clementi PDX – at about 50psi.   I had no regrets about these tires on this ride.  They were great on the rough gravel roads, and I could descend with much more security than the previous year.  I would certainly ride with them again next year, and enjoyed them much more than the Paselas for the control I felt over the gravel and washouts.  Elisabeth rode her 650b Casati.  She was mostly content  with her 32mm Gran Bois tires,  but felt a little insecure on descents.  Susan rode her Salsa Fargo with Clementi tires that I sold her.  She also loved the Clementis.

I liked my reverse ride, and I might see if I can get Elisabeth to ride it with me next year. I also enjoyed riding at my own pace.  I still climbed about 8,000 feet (in 40 miles) .

We returned to the lunch spot for a second round of drinks and sandwhiches, then met Elton and others for the ride back to Deerfield, via the Green River Route.  All smooth riding back to the start, I followed the GPS track, while Elisabeth verified the turns with her cue sheet.

The rain started 5 minutes after we were packed away in the car and rolling out –good thing I had those fenders!

Posted in 650b, Bikes for D2R2, d2r2, Ride Reports | 7 Comments »

Boston Fleche 2011 -a late ride report in brief

Posted by Susan on August 28, 2011

Okay, I’ve been away, being busy with other things, but here’s a short report:

This year’s Fleche took place between June 2 and June 5th. Dena, Pamela, David and myself

myself, dena, and david

Myself, Dena and David all ready to roll out Friday evening. Photo courtesy of Pamela Blalock.

started our epic ride Friday at 7pm in Arlington. We expected to reach Brattleboro, Vermont by 5 am the next morning. From Brattleboro we’d turn around and head back to Arlington. Our ride was 235 miles long, included about 14,000 feet of climbing, and had to be finished within 24 hours.

I was very excited for this ride:  I believed I was physically prepared, and I was looking forward to riding the Sketchy on its first epic distance challenge.

While we all understood that the temps were going to dip into the 40’s, none of us realized just how cold that would feel since the previous couple of weeks had seen temps in the  joyous 70’s.  The cold set in quickly after dark, and when we reached our first checkpoint at about 9:30 pm, we were all digging through our bags to find those extra layers. Everyone of us had a light wind jacket, light tights or knickers, and light gloves, but no one had the truly necessary items: thermal tights or warmers, an insulating jacket or sweater, shoe covers and  balaclavas. Yes, it felt THAT cold, the night was absolutely brutal! My legs felt iced, my hands and face were numb, and I shivered on every descent.  At one point right after leaving a warm checkpoint (an enclosed ATM kiosk where we took shelter from the cold for just 15 minutes) I had an out-of- control case of shivering: my upper back and shoulder muscles were contracting so tightly that I was shaking my handlebars and creating a terrible shimmy throughout the whole bike!  To top it all,  there was a 10 mile descent early in the morning, brutal after working up a sweat on the previous climb.

This was a classic example of not preparing for the worst that would be likely to happen. We all knew the temperatures would drop, and all of us are experienced cyclists who should know better, but we failed to pack the appropriate layers, and had to cope with feeling chilled for about 8 hours!

Journey to the end of the night

We met the other Fleche team at brunch the next morning, and they had also suffered just as miserably as ourselves.  They were perhaps even less prepared (not having a warm ATM kiosk stop planned en route), one of their riders was lagging behind, and the team considered leaving him, but didn’t for fear that he would die of hypothermia!

What I remember the most about this Fleche (writing about it almost 3 months later) is how miserable I felt upon re-entering the cold after the warmth of the ATM kiosk; the feeling of elation at seeing the sun rise,  the savoring of wonderfully rich coffee at the Leverett Co-op, and the anger I felt at the end of the ride about having to climb more hills after already climbing uber hills around Wachusetts!  This anger was a new experience for me.  Those last few miles of hills broke me. At that point, I could not understand why I was doing this ride, and I swore to never do this again.

I still hold the same opinion.  I hope I never do a Fleche again.

Posted in Ride Reports | 1 Comment »