Thursday, August 21, 2014

This week in Bike Commuting: #48

My 48th Day started on gravel and ended with gravel.  Last week I didn't commute at due to training for D2R2 by riding each time, longer than the last, and resting in between and I noticed a big difference when I was riding 100 miles on Sunday.  I was hoping to be at 50 commutes before school started but that looks like more towards the end of August.  Although 48 commutes is a new milestone because the most commutes I have ridden in a single year was 45 and that was last year.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

'Merican Century Gravel Grinder and beyond!

What's next?  D2R2 is next weekend.  The 160K is not quite 100 miles but maybe I can convince Will to take a little side trip to check out the Harriman Dam to the see the Glory Hole.

... that the name of the Harriman Dam's enormous 
160' spillway is the Glory Hole? 
It is called the Glory Hole because 
it is shaped like a gigantic morning glory.

There is another long distance, gravel grinder-esce ride in the making in mid-September.  It's called J2R2 by another D2R2 and Roxbury Dirt Roads cyclist that I think encompasses some of what I just rode a long with Roxbury/Washington/New Milford dirt roads.  There is a Gravel Grinder up in Becket, MA that I will probably do, too, called F2G2, or Fall Foliage Gravel Grinder.  Not a big course, in fact not even a 100K but it's the after the ride, Oktoberfest style party that is most alluring.  Next year, it will be a toss up on whether to try the Foolish Classic again or finally do the Detour de Connecticut, a 112 mile course in the heart of the state.   There's lots of dirty riding still to be done this year!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Final Preparation for D2R2: 100 mile Gravel Grinder!

You couldn't have asked for a better day to be on the bike, especially since I was going to be on the bike all day.  I have come close to riding an American Century (100 miles) on two occasions this year but never did it, but today my goal was to finally do it.  This ride would tell me what kind of shape I would be in for riding the 160K D2R2 course next week.

The route I chose was comprised of 15 dirt road sections, covering 30 to 40% of the ride, and 9000+ feet of climbing.  I invited a friend, Dan, to join me because he wanted to also ride the 160K route at D2R2, too, and I thought this would be a good test for him, as well.  Some of the challenges besides riding a 100 miles was Mt Riga Road, climbing to the top of Mt Everett and doing the backside of Skiff Mountain.

Surly Cross Check atop Mt Everett
The route was great.  One of the challenges or risks you take with the online routing programs is that the maps they use are not always accurate and sometimes roads are shown to go through but in reality that either do not or they are merely right-a-ways that went through a long time ago but no longer.  However, today's route was spot on and so were the roads!  Here is a link to the route that I rode on RideWithGPS.  Please use at your own risk and ride responsibly.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Dirty Hippy Populaire

I took a day off from work, granted I needed a break after the past four weeks of working my ass off, to ride 100K, get at least 5000 feet of climbing in, and ride some gravel in preparation for D2R2.  The funny thing with planning courses is sometimes you never know if these roads go through but today it didn't matter because I was riding my Surly Cross Check!

I had planned on riding the Dirty Hippy Populaire in the morning but a last minute scheduling change with my son's waterskiing camp meant that I would be riding afterwards and of course, as luck would have it my start time got pushed back because the kids were having so much fun.  The course I had intended to ride (red dash) was 70 miles but what I ended up riding (blue line) came about due to a few miscalculations.  When I got to Steep Rock Reservation the first part of the rail trail was kind of muddy so I routed around the second part before the tunnel but that got me thinking about what is it going to be like after the Blue Barns? 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Get ready for D2R2!

In a way, I think I have been training for D2R2 all year and with the event just two weeks away it's crunch time.  I am confident that I will be able to ride a 100 miles I just worry that it's going to take a lot longer because of all the climbing.  An internet/cycling acquaintance, whom I don't think I have ever met face-to-face drew out the 160K route on Strava but after reading Sandy Whittlesey's latest email about the routing changes I am not sure the route is 100% accurate:
The 160K will have its Guilford rest stop before the covered bridge, and then you will climb up to Marlboro via Green River Road instead of Hale Rd/Thomas Hill.  Lunch in Charlemont as last year.
The Strava route goes up Hale Rd and judging from the rest of email it sounds like there could be other course corrections that haven't been communicated therefore I would only look at this as an example of what to expect if you are riding the 160K course.  I put the course into Topofusion to get a sense of what it looks like in relation to what I road last year (118K) and you can see where the additional 60K comes from in the distance of riding further west.  Last year we added an additional 18K to the ride because went out and did the extra credit loop that consisted of three 1 mile climbs.

I have also tried two different perspectives using the 3d Generator in Topofusion, with 6 times vertical exaggeration to give a better feeling of what the hills look like in a map form.