Sunday, August 31, 2008

Early Birds South - never the same

Return to the Early Birds, the last official summer season ride as tomorrow, Monday, is Labor Day already.

This morning Py was not feeling so great, as the evening before there was a good BBQ and he eat little too much... but after a few bathroom sessions he felt much better, did not felt like eating anything, so skipped breakfast and only had an Cappuccino. Just before getting out and on the bike he figured an banana may be good to get at least a little bite. Fresh air at 6:30am and a very easy ride to the start -- the sun was still at or below the horizon, little chilly but looking like a great day for an ride. Close the Manorville KK ride start -- still a good amount of time left, he joined T for an Coffee and some multi grain bagel, that helped feeling better.

From Early Birds

With a few minutes left he rode over to the KK parking lot and joined a already pretty numerous group of riders.

From Early Birds

A few minutes late they moved out South and slowly picked up a decent pace, averaging about 36km/h until just before hitting Dune Road a little prolonged flat stop stopped the move...

Flying as usual on Dune Road with hitting 50km/h for several times... Py was working hard, may be too hard a couple of times having fun in that "Belgium Circle" like game or a little variant??, where on the right riders are moving fast passing riders on left -- they protect the fast riders from wind -- and once in front slowly falling back to the end at the left to repeat game and pick up speed again on the right... however, things are not perfect, as some riders just trying to hang on at the end and a spot to move into the passing row has to be picked. Fun fast moving for several miles. Repeating that fast take over rides several times Py run a bit early low of energy or what so ever, may be because of the non optimal pre ride day... However, they also were going at quite some speed, as the initial group got stretched and bunched up, he found himself with just a one or two miles to go for the bridge in between the very fast head and the bunch behind...

Just at the bottom of the bridge still on Dune Rd some of the head group were stopped for one more mechanical or flat, he does not know exactly what happened. Passing by going up the bridge, looking back and waiting for an photo opportunity -- what is usually rare at this nice spot:

One more waiting for the group, just visible far down the bridge here:

Here a nice one of the "head group" left behind.

Oho... putting back the camera, Py had to huddle up to hang on and well, he just got around the corner as the big group just started out for the second section. And just been over on the other side of the South Fork one more flat wait up...

From then on pretty fast moving and one catch up sprint within a little bunch of just three riders, as they got left behind at an turn getting stuck on the wrong side of the road because of unusual heavy traffic. Averaging 38.9km/h on that whole section until the Seven Eleven. From there the group was flying back to the start with just 37km/h again...

A different ride, lots of speed variations... the good thing, it is never the same and never gets boring so far.

Ride stats including the easy section to and from home. Easy - Fast - Easy.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

D2R2 2008 - Report

The 4th Annual
Deerfield Dirt Road Randonée (D2R2)
will be held on August 23, 2008
in conjunction with the
Deerfield Farm Festival

New Location 1 mile south of Historic Old Deerfield.

Quoting the official ride description:

"This RUSA populaire is breathtaking in both senses of the word: 109 miles, 70% on dirtroads, with 11,300 feet of climbing. A more-moderate 100K ride will leave at 9:00 AM, while a gentle 35-mile Tour of the Green River leaves at 11:00 AM. All rides start and finish 1 mile south of Historic Old Deerfield Village. Everything about this ride is extraordinary; over 12 years of planning by Randonneur Saunders Whittlesey went into this event. Riders will enjoy a fabulous network of secret backroads and horse-cart lanes through some of the most scenic and historic areas of western Massachusetts and southern Vermont. The constantly twisting route is often only one lane wide. Rest stops with refreshments will be staffed by area volunteers.
Stone walls line the roads far more than double-yellow lines. There are dozens of maple-tree 'allees,' over 20 miles of rushing streams, four covered bridges, and countless farms, fields, and forests. Riders may expect hours of cycling without a single car passing.
The lunch-break checkpoint is a little park with a National-Historic covered bridge, timber-crib dam, and swim hole.
Bicycles should be equipped with triple gearing and slightly wider tires (i.e. 25c-32c). Road conditions range from smooth clay to stony washout and puddles. Seven key climbs reach 1400-2000' elevation, and 16 smaller pitches exceed 13% gradient, including a 25% wall. At mile 90, riders will tackle the hidden back side of the lovely Patten Hill District: starting at 20% grade, the road narrows to a bumpy 8' lane and ascends 960 feet vertical in 1.5 miles to a grand overlook toward Vermont."

Simply put:
Who does not know the ride, should go for it next year and find out. In brief, it is over 12,000ft of climbing, mostly (70%) dirt road and some rough and though up (up to 25% incline on dirt) and down hills (on loose rough stuff), fast and fun turns and straits to just let it go on the down hill...., on a 170km coarse (without detours).

This year Py signed up for it again. Still a few minor oddities... and just two riders from the Island (as far as Py knows them) were participating the RUSA 170k.
Py this time went with parents up at Deerfield, MA the day before. Also J went up the same time and they meet again at the RR Inn in South Deerfield, checked out the starting location and went for a good preride dinner at the Northampton Brewery.

D2R2 2008 report
Rising early the next day at 4am and getting to the start and registration shortly after 5am. Still pretty dark and little light at the little tent at the start. But a good variety of breakfast and coffee was waiting -- Py has to say, that was the best of all the food he had seen this day at the ride, perfect for a good start - big compliments for that, very convenient! At 6am he was ready to go, but some how did not saw J in the dusk, he saw him a while ago at the registration... Little confusion came up, however, they planned for the 6am start optionally and the 6:15 as a go. So he waited and let the first group go. Still no J, he checked his car and found it empty. Strange. However, Py let his start time resign to 6:15 and went with the smaller 6:15 group.
Just a few riders and there were a few very miss leading yellow flags on a (wrong!! -- well, turned out to be the 100k route marking... not the 170k) right turn at a bridge shortly after the start - Py was pretty uncertain if that turn was right, but the marks were there and (all) the riders went there and seamed to be sure about the turn, even he asked... but after 3 miles uphill, concerns came up and they returned -- and many more small groups of riders got into the same trap... 6 extra miles -- that started out great.
However, back on the right track a great fast group self assembled -- moving pretty good up and down hill, that was fun and he almost forgot about missing J. Signed in at the 1st Water /Snack Stop (8:09 at Steady Ln, 20.0mi (+6mi for Py)) and found J been there. So he must have started assuming Py in the 6am field.
Py was hanging on and also moving ahead with the fast group, especially flying down hill with his Stonebite Cross bike. One more small water stop #2 and #1 Checkpoint Heath at 9:31 (35.9mi). Having a hard time keeping up on the very few flats and paved sections, catching up on the steeps and climbs and passing on the down hills... that was fun. Several miles before the 2nd Checkpoint Green River Covered Bridge he passed several riders and a group fixing a flat, arriving at this Checkpoint or 3rd water stop at 11:51 at 64.9mi (+6mi). J must have just arrived there also, as he run into him just at the turn into the rest area, how good! Py mad up 15 minutes + (extra 6mi) in time on J. From then on they stayed together. Little slower average moving, especially as Py could mover faster downhill still with good bike control on rough terrain due to his bike setup. A set of good climbs and downhills... One in between stop for cold water at the Colrain Supergas Store (at 91.65mi). A nice easy ride on pavement following a steep starting and long climb up Patten Hill to the last water stop #4 and Checkpoint #3 on Tower Rd. Almost done. 13mi to go, mostly down hill. Just a few minor climbs to be done, one fun -- very rought for roadies ;-) -- downhill at the very end before hitting pavement again lasting all the way to the finish at mile 111.75 (+6) at 16:40.

No missed turns at all (except the very fist confusion with the 100km route mark), very good this time, turns were marked by little yellow flags on the side of the road into the turn, that was a great help and improvement over last year, even he had his GPS set up for navigation (using the same old track he used last year, not including the start and a little different beginning, but working fine from mile 20 or so). Only issue, this stupid GPS stopped recording the track after an attempt to set an lap mark at the 1st water stop, however the navigation worked just fine to the finish. So, no complete ride data -- who cares.

Good old style ride logging:

Some photos at all the water stops:

A few remarks and comments and complains -- hopefully some on of the organizers will rethink it for next year:

Very good: Well set up breakfast at start, good job! But there were a few things... Py needs to tell also...
he did not liked the start/finish location on that dusty field so much, even it was closer from there to get 'n route. But most dissatisfactory was the fast food served at the finish -- no more comments -- these guys organizing bike ride should know what is reasonable food. And last, good Py was more or less self sufficient, the food and drinks at the water stops were not as good equipped as last time, only [nasty] Gatorade powder [ o-( ] was available for drinks. No energy, etc... bars -- at least he did not found some. OK, good enough, there were bananas, melon slices, sandwiches, PB&J, cheese -- works. Also no T-shirt included as 2007 :-(

All the riders and support people were as awesome as usual, so the whole things was a lot of fun and the weather was just as perfect.

And finally: a big thanks to all the volunteers!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Early Birds Flying South

Early rise again this morning, preparing a good breakfast and an Cappuccino. After checking the bike and tire pressure he is ready to roll.
6:30am, Sunday, Py got out of his house to ride once more to the Early Birds ride start. Still a bit chilly, not really used to that again, just 19C, where is the warming sun? -- sitting still very low and hiding behind the trees.

And showing Py's bike with super sized wheels in that projection...

Arriving at Manorville, EBs start. A few riders were already there, many more to come. A good sized groop formed soon and they started out South. It took unusual long until they got warm and moving, but then they were flying and got up to hypersonic speeds on Dune Road, what was fun. On Dune Road Py got shortly stuck behind in a small dropped off group, but managed to sprint ahead and hang back on to the front field, some short hard work going at over 50km/h at times. Including the slow start for miles, Py averaged 39.0km/h over 38km until the first reassembly point after the bridge.

From here they proceeded en route over a few rolling road sections -- not much slower at all and clocked in at the 7-11 food stop with an average of 38.6km/h over 20km. The last 24km were a bit easier paced and just at 36.5km/h average back to the parking lot.

From here small group including Py left back North-West, Py joined them for a still decent pace part way back home, until he took off on North Country Road in Wading River to add a few little tiny hills.

Fun ride and awesome weather this Sunday!

Ride stats, MB web site is useless today -- however, Py got it up there. Site still awefull slow o-(

And now here is the ride speed distribution:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Early Birds North -- back to routine

Sunday, back on the Island and back to the birds :-) Sunday morning 6:30am the sun was just up low on the horizon and some fog was sitting low into the tree tops, looking really cool:

The ride started on time, no special occurrences. Py had a little hard time on the tanks sprint as he was playing little too hard on the first section but was doing fine from then on all to the finish and came in with the head group.

A good sized fast group today, just shortly after the Deli stop one short flat fix stop:

Ride/Flight Data:

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Kinzua Country Tango

One more road trip up to Kinzua Country, PA for a new adventure, the Kinzua Country Tango Adventure Race:

Py was dedicated to the bike part of the whole thing, what was some kind of relay consisting of six sections, quoting the original web site:

Running ...

The 13.1 mile course starts at the YMCA in Warren, Pennsylvania and leads you along the Allegheny River.

Biking ...

This 20 mile ride consists of non-technical mountain bike trail and National Forest roads. Look out for wild turkeys and White Tail deer.

Swimming ...

The next leg will give you a chance to cool off during the 2.2 mile swim. Swim fins and resting will be permitted. All teams must have a safety canoe accompanying them.

Orienteering ...

Time for a trek on foot through Cornplanter Country. Well marked points will be located over a rugged 6+ mile course.

Running ...

Back on foot for a short 4.5 mile run along side the Kinzua Reservoir.

Canoeing ...

This paddle is 8 miles down the Allegheny River and back into Warren. Each team must supply their own canoe.

For the "MTB" section Py choose his special Cross/Mountain Stonebite Cobalt Race bike, as there was a mix of road and more or less rough (or slicky and muddy....) dirt roads to ride.


As the morning of the race day at 6am started out with an heavy scary downpoor and T-storm, but luckily the whole disturbance was over as the team "C" left the house to meet up at the start of the race (the run part) at the Warren YMCA -- the day turned into a perfectly nice day. Only the dirt road was a little messy fun and Py and bike got a little sprayed over with mud -- but not too bad at all:

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