Category Archives: 200K

Old Rag 200K Permanent: Hills, Vistas, and Math Word Problems

This weekend Felkerino and I hightailed it out of the city to escape the crowds that have descended on Washington, D.C., and arranged to do the lovely Old Rag 200K out of Warrenton, Virginia, with bicycling buddies Andrea and Mike.

Co-Motion

The D.C. Randonneurs site describes the Old Rag 200K as follows:

From Warrenton we head generally southwest passing through rolling horse farm country with the Blue Ridge Mountains as our backdrop. We parallel the Blue Ridge as far south as Madison where we begin our return to Warrenton after a stop at the friendly, well-stocked Yoder’s Country Market.

The route is fairly gentle as we wind our way to Syria in the shadow of Grave’s Mountain. A moderate climb followed by a 3-mile descent puts us up and over the Old Rag Grinder.

A series of steep and unrelenting rollers–lovingly known as The Three Kings and The Meanies–will consume us for the next hour or so prompting many to re-fuel at the Laurel Mills store with the sweet, spring water that flows nearby.

Country roads bordered by stone fences carry us through Ben Venue and into Flint Hill and the final control at the reopened Orlean Store. A final climb over Piney Mountain brings us back to Warrenton.

Estimated total elevation gain : 8,000 feet.

This course is an old friend to Felkerino and me. It was the first 200K brevet course he ever rode (in 1996), and my second (in 2005). Saturday’s temperatures were good for riding, the wind swirled around in its springtime way, and the sun shone. Felkerino and I had great company.

Andrea and Mike, and a dog we surprised as it was out for a stroll

Andrea and Mike, and a dog we surprised as it was out for a stroll

I was glad for the urban reprieve, but unprepared for how mentally challenging this ride would prove for me. I have not been logging the bike miles like I hoped this year (although my running miles are up, woo!). Dispirited by the colder weather, getting sick on a couple of weekends I hoped to spend on the bike, blah blah blah. I’m full of good excuses, but the bottom line is that my confidence going into this ride was not where I wanted it.

My mind also kept wandering back to personal concerns. I forget how the things going on in our lives can affect our energy levels and focus. Usually, I can shake stuff, but it wasn’t happening on Saturday. I’d chew on things for a while and then refocus on the ride for a bit, only to be distracted again by all the thoughts banging around in my brain.

Heading toward Etlan Road

Heading toward Etlan Road

My usual mental approach to a 200K is fairly simple.

  1. Divide the ride into two main parts, the first 60+ miles and the last 60+.
  2. Knock off the first 25 miles and get the ride down to a conceptually manageable century distance (easy peasy!).
  3. Pedal steadily with minimal breaks until the halfway point, eating out of the back-pocket cafe as needed.
  4. Eat something more substantial at the halfway mark, like a sandwich.
  5. Ride steadily from lunch and stop once more for a little snack at around mile 100 or so. Only 25 miles left (Surely you’ve ridden 25 miles before?).
  6. The end!

This ride required the use of these ride management strategies and more to push through. I rode the first half or so according to plan, but struggled mightily after the first 60 miles. It was strange because my body felt fine, but my brain wanted to be back in bed, resting on my pillow.

The delicious Etlan Road is just past this red barn, and so is a steep climb.

The delicious Etlan Road is just past this red barn, and so is a steep climb.

After much scrutiny of the cue sheet, I ended up breaking the ride down into 10-15 mile segments. I spent a lot of time challenging myself to basic math word problems, and compared the distances we covered to the everyday riding I do.

Three rides to Whole Foods and back until we reach the next control. Two trips to work until we are at X miles. Two trips to the doctor, taking the long way. This made the distances easier to conceptualize, while also taking my mind off other things.

Ride management strategy: time for math.

Ride management strategy: time for math.

I also rewarded myself at mile 94 with homemade monster cookies I purchased earlier in the day. I try to avoid rewarding myself with food, especially during rides. Not this ride. This ride needed a dose of monster cookies!

Strangely, my legs felt decent throughout the day. At some points they fatigued (particularly during parts of what we call the three kings), but overall my physical output felt solid.

It was my head that was out of sorts. I struggled to be present in the ride. I don’t know if this is worse to experience on a tandem or a single bike. On one hand, you can start to think about how you are dragging the other person down, how much faster they could go if you were not there. On the other hand, your teamwork can be a source of encouragement. Fortunately for me, Felkerino was a good tandem partner on this ride.

Laurel Mills Store, where I rewarded myself by devouring monster cookies.

Laurel Mills Store, where I rewarded myself by devouring monster cookies.

Despite my difficulties focusing, I’m still glad we got out. I had to get away from the District. It felt good to meet up with others and pedal our way over the choppy and scenic Virginia countryside, with all of its trees poised to blossom.

One day after the ride, my legs are tired, but I am far from wiped out. This ride built my confidence that we can handle hills and go further than 200K if/when we need to do so.

My head was not in the space I wanted it during the ride, but I feel much better about life today. Nothing like a 200K in the spring sunshine and lots of made-up math story problems to clear the head.

Thanks to Mike and Andrea for riding with us. And Felkerino, you’re the best.

D.C. Randonneurs Wilderness Campaign 200K Brevet

A summary by the miles of the D.C. Randonneurs Wilderness Campaign ACP 200K Brevet.

You, too, can lead the glamorous life of a randonneur.

You, too, can lead the glamorous life of a randonneur.

Miles 1-40

Morning miles. Cold and sunny

Morning miles. Cold and sunny

Hand-throbs from the sub-freezing start.
I must take photos of the group in this beautiful morning light as soon as the hand-throbs fade!
I am riding a brevet.
I feel like an athlete!

Early miles outside Bristow

Early miles outside Bristow

Miles 40-70

Get it right, Felkerino!

Felkerino, doing his paperwork.

Did I say I was an athlete?
Totally not true!
I’m just on a morning ride to dine with my husband.
Yes, we take the scenic route and it requires a little paperwork, but really, just a ride to breakfast.
I love a bike ride to breakfast, and I love grits bathed in butter.

Randonneur meetup at the info control

Randonneur meetup at the info control

Miles 70-108

K/Curt and Matt

Kurt and Matt

We ride a few miles with Matt and Kurt, who have driven up from Harrisonburg, Virginia, for the ride.
Matt made his bike, and Kurt wears an Earth, Wind, and Rider jersey with a color combination I can’t stop admiring.
The day has warmed to sixty (sixty!) and the sun shines.
Who wants to hurry on a day like this?
We reach the info control at mile 78, and our friend Eric is there.
Yay!
Matt and Kurt glide away from us, and Eric, Felkerino, and I settle into riding together.
It’s a fun day ride with bicycling buddies.

Another info control.. and Eric!

Another info control.. and Eric!

Miles 108-129

Eric in the last miles

Eric in the last miles

When did this ride start to feel like trudging?
I am trudging.
When will this ride end?
What happened to my fun day ride?
I have get-there-itis.
Yes, it is still warm.
Yes, the sun still shines.
Yes, Eric is excellent riding company.
Alright, it’s not so bad.
Even so, I still want to get there.

The Finish

We ride for pizza

We ride for pizza

We’re back.
We FINALLY made it.
Okay, it didn’t really take as long as I thought.
Felkerino and I chat with other riders outside the Caribou Coffee.
It’s so much fun to talk about events gone by and adventures yet to come.
We all swap stories and discuss big plans as the sun sets and riders come and go.

Thanks for the ride, D.C. Randonneurs. More photos here, and see Felkerino’s here.

Harvest Time and 200K Brevets

Ye Olde Barn Shot

Growing up in rural Iowa, the harvest was always an intense and busy time. Tractors constantly moved through the fields, and it was not unusual to catch sight of the lights of a tractor shining over the dirt clouds raised up by someone working into darkness. Kids missed school to help their families. Crops had to come out before the cold winter days arrived.

Hard at work on a Saturday

Living in D.C. now, I’m pretty removed from that life. Instead of cornfields in the backyard, someone else’s backyard is my backyard and I have to ride about 40 miles in any given direction for a glimpse of the country.

Gavin and Bill in the early miles

Gavin and Bill in the early miles

This weekend, the beauty and busyness of the harvest came back to me during Felkerino’s and my ride with the Pennsylvania Randonneurs on the Silver Spring 200K. This brevet spends many miles in Lancaster County, the heart of Amish country.

Tobacco drying in the barn on the PA 200K

Amish country is an amazing place to ride. People use a horse and buggy for transportation. Kids ride kickbikes to get places. Lawns are cut with a manual push mower. Horses are instrumental in working the farm.

Riding by the tall corn

The corn has grown tall in Lancaster County and people work vigorously to prepare for colder months. There are the normal weekend chores of mowing and feeding livestock, but the crops grown over the past three months are primed to come out. Tobacco is being harvested and dried.

Tobacco drying in the barn on the PA 200K

I had never seen tobacco harvested before. I confess it is a beautiful sight to see all those leaves lined up and hung from barn ceilings as the symmetrical wood slats flare out to help the drying process. And the subtly sweet smell wafting from the leaves signals that fall is arriving soon.

I longed to get off the bike and linger in various spots along the way, soaking in the earthy odor and the season, but I knew we would never finish our ride if I started doing that.

CJ and Clair ride by the tall corn

CJ and Clair ride by the tall corn

Felkerino wrote a summary of our day including a link to our route. As you will see from his story, we enjoyed an ideal day in the companionship of our fellow riders, and traversed a spectacular route.

Lancaster County on the PA 200K

Thanks to the Pennsylvania Randonneurs Silver Spring 200K, I had a front seat to the harvest for a few glorious hours this past Saturday. I savored every moment.

Trail Ridge Road on Tandem

There’s nothing that kicks off a bike tour better than riding the highest continuous paved road in the United States.

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Felkerino and I spent yesterday riding our Co-Motion Java tandem on the Trail Ridge 200K, a 134-mile RUSA permanent that starts in Louisville, Colorado, and takes the rider to Estes Park, up Trail Ridge Road, down the mountain, to Grand Lake, Granby, Hot Sulphur Springs, through a canyon that has a name I don’t recall Byers Canyon, and over to Kremmling.

We had a good ride, the highlight (and lowlight) for me being Trail Ridge Road which ascends to a height of 12,200 feet.

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The road was beautiful, winding us up and up and up, and eventually giving us incredible views to look back at what we had climbed.

However, the intense climbing amid fairly constant car traffic on a road with a tiny shoulder overlooking what seemed like a long long long way down if we fell freaked me out in places. I would call it vertigo, and at times I found myself flung over to the left side of the stoker bars like a cat stuck in a tree clinging to a tree branch while it awaits rescue. So dignified.
image

We breathlessly made our way to what seemed like an interminable summit and stopped to warm up and drink a pop. While there we received many kind comments from visitors who had seen us on the climb and I can’t tell you how much that meant and helped me feel better about my low moments on this preposterously high road.

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Felkerino and I rolled our way down the mountain and glided our bike over gentle rollers to Kremmling in perfect late afternoon long shadow sun, with stories of Trail Ridge Road pouring out. I have never ridden anything like it. Unforgettable, daunting, vertigo-inducing, exhilarating, inspiring. We did it. I can’t believe we did it.

D.C. Randonneurs Flatbread 200K Brevet Roundup

This past weekend, Felkerino and I broke the tandem in two and took off for the Eastern Shore to ride the D.C. Randonneurs 200K Flatbread brevet. While I’ve ridden this brevet once or twice before, this time was unique because instead of the usual tandem routine, I rode it on my Rivendell Romulus.

See?

Riding the Rivendell Romulus on the D.C. Randonneurs Flatbread 200K

Felkerino and I made the decision to ride singles after riding last weekend’s dirt road ride on our “back-up” Cannondale tandem. (Our regular tandem, a beautiful Co-Motion Speedster, has gone to tandem heaven, or wherever it is that tandems that are no longer rideable go.) While a fine bike that performs well on dirt roads, the Cannondale is NOT comfortable for me when riding distances of over 100 miles because the handlebar reach is too short.

The Flatbread 200K was the first time I’ve ridden my single bike on a brevet since 2008. Seriously! Even though I ride my trusty Surly LHT every day to commute, and do several weekend nondonneuring rides throughout the year on my single, I felt nervous about attempting the brevet on a single.

I was not confident about how I would do riding on my own. What if I went too slow? What if I missed a cue and got lost? How does this steering thing work again?

On the other hand, I was excited about getting out on my Rivendell. The bike fits me well, it’s fun to be the sole entity propelling the bike along, and it was a nice change to get to see my bike’s front wheel on a brevet.

Basically, I over-thought the whole thing. While my pace was slightly slower than Felkerino’s and my tandem pace, the conditions were perfect for cycling (sun and low winds). I rode well within  the required time limits and, with the exception of a couple of bar end air shifts (my Romulus has Ergo shifters), I rode rather smoothly. The terrain of the Flatbread is (guess?) flat, which also helps the miles go by.

Obligatory ocean shot at Slaughter Beach. Photo by Steve

The combination of a mellow route and traditionally big turnout makes for a social ride. Felkerino and I had a great time riding together throughout out the warm and mostly-sunny day, taking pictures, and criss-crossing with various other randonneurs.

A few randonneurs, including Felkerino, put together ride summaries that do an excellent job of capturing the day so I won’t include a full writeup. Rather, I’m providing links to their posts and I’ll conclude by saying that I loved changing it up with a long flat ride on my single bike, especially after last weekend’s hillacious adventure. I got to stand whenever I wanted, stop when I felt like it, coast without consequence, and enjoy complete control over the bike.

  • Daily Randonneur penned a few notes and posted a GPS track and photos (including links to our photo sets) about our single bike experience.
  • Rambling Rider rode the Flatbread with our friend Mike. This was her first tandem ride. What a way to start!
  • Iron Rider came down from Pennsylvania and was one of a few people who rode the brevet on a fixed gear.
  • Crystal, of the Aesthetics of Everywhere, completed her longest ride to-date and first brevet this weekend. Well done!

D.C. Randonneurs Urbana 200K: Feels like the First Time

Alec, Eric, and Mike on the Urbana 200K

Ride summary: Ride the rollers out of Urbana. Whee! First control in Union Bridge, Maryland. Pedal pedal. Climb 77 in Catoctin National Park. Climb. Climb climb climb. Descend. Grind through the rollers out of Smithsburg. Stop for a couple pics. Pedal through the fragrant countryside. Whoah, stinky! See eight cats in someone’s driveway. Eight! Control in State Line, Pennsylvania. Eat half a sandwich. Hello rider. Hello rider. Hello rider. Pedal pedal pedal. Kemp’s Mill Road, a friendly zippy stretch. Control at KOA. Hello Lowell. Hello Severna Park. See end of cooking show about brownies. Depart control. Mosey to Sheetz. Eat an almond butter and jam sandwich. Drink a latte. Meet up with fleche teammates Lane, Mike, and Eric, as well as Scott G. and Alec. Chat and laugh. Ride. Information control in Antietam. The question is… just kidding! It’s a secret! Ride ride. Bonk. Battleview Market control. Eat chips. Contemplate life. Pedal pedal pedal. Trego, bleah. Climb climb climb. All alone with Ed. Gapland finally! Lane waited. Thanks! Descend whee! Pedal pedal pedal. Eric waited. Thanks! Marlu Ridge the easy way! Group ride with Mike, Eric, Lane. Chat. Listen to Mike. Fingerboard. Slog slog slog. Finish. Photo op by Bill. Pizza pizza pizza. Yeah.

I’ve never had a lot of love for the Urbana 200K, even though it was the first brevet I ever rode. It’s a good ride and an honest challenge, but for some reason I have always found it somewhat unkind.

It’s a pretty hilly course, and doesn’t offer too much reprieve. It also doesn’t offer too many food stops along the way. That’s not a big deal, I’m not hoping for Zagat-rated dining during my brevets, but I think all of the climbing on the route and the limited places for food make for a tougher ride.

Hanging out at Earl’s Market on the Urbana 200K

This was my first ACP brevet of 2012, as I missed the other D.C. Randonneurs 200K two weeks ago and ran the D.C. marathon instead. I worried about my conditioning, but it ended up being fine. The ride was hard, but my body held up well physically. My emotional state throughout the ride was a little different matter, and directly correlated to my food intake.

This was probably my hilliest ride of 2012 to-date, and I did not eat enough to get through it. I had a hard time eating any breakfast before the start. I brought along two almond butter and jam sandwiches, which I ate, as well as two Clif bars and two packages of Clif shot blocks that I gnawed on throughout the ride. I also bought (and ate) two bags of potato chips.

Gapland Road and the War Correspondents Memorial on the Urbana 200K

While that might be enough for some people, it didn’t seem sufficient for me. I made it to the midpoint of the ride without too much fatigue, but after that I found myself ebbing in and out of bonklandia for the remainder of the day. The ironic aspect of my bonking, though, was that I lost my appetite and nothing sounded tasty. Then I felt weepy and began emotionally imploding. Thank goodness this was just a 200K.

Lessons Learned:

  • I always feel like I’m starting from square one when I do my first ACP brevet of the year. Maybe next year I won’t feel like such a novice.
  • The Urbana 200K course is always tough.
  • Food is your friend, especially on hilly rides.
  • Crying is no way to spend a bike ride.
  • Felkerino has a lot of patience.
  • Getting in with a good group helps the miles pass, even (especially?) on the more unforgiving segments.
  • It’s just bike riding.

I took pictures. Want to see them? I believe they mask most of the discomfort, bleariness, and fatigue I experienced. Smiles everywhere! Just click here.

P.S. Sorry for the Foreigner reference. I just couldn’t help myself.

Weekend Roundup: Two Shorties, a 200K Brevet, and the D.C. Tweed Ride

If you were in the D.C. area over the weekend, you know that we had some choice cycling weather. A pinch brisk in the mornings, giving way to sun and warmth in the afternoon. Long-sleeve, no-jacket temperatures.

With weather like this, who can stay inside? Not me.

  • W&OD Trail Ride to Vienna, Virginia

Felkerino and I joined up with our friend Lane for an unscripted Friday ride. We departed D.C. just before midday and meandered down the W&OD to Vienna. Even though the fall color has peaked, there are still plenty of eye-catching hues on the trees. Fallen leaves are all around, adding to the seasonal beauty. (And I don’t have to rake them, yes!)

We also criss-crossed with the juxtaexposed bloggers on the return. They were headed out toward Leesburg, Virginia. They were stylish travelers, with a set of orange panniers on one bike and a VO front bag on the other.

Sadly, I was not quick enough on the draw to get a photo, but happily, they took their own photos and did a fine writeup of their W&OD weekend trip. Find it on their blog.

Pedaling down the W&OD Panda

  • D.C. Randonneurs Flatbread 200K Brevet

Saturday, Felkerino and I joined up with 79 other cyclists to participate in the D.C. Randonneurs Flatbread 200K. This was Felkerino’s and my first ride of over a century since the bike ride known as Paris-Brest-Paris. With a total ascent of less than 1,000 feet for the entire route, terrain is not the challenge. However, the wind can be and it definitely was on this ride.

Fortunately, though, Felkerino provided a ready draft for me, and we also had tailwinds for the latter part of the ride. I much prefer to deal with the headwinds on the outbound than the return, don’t you?

This ride offered up plenty of good cycling fellowship and more fall color.

Crossing the wooden bridge on the Flatbread 200K

The route also passed a divine bakery, called Dolce Bakery and Coffee Shop in Millford, Delaware. I had not wanted to stop, but Felkerino did. After I sampled a pumpkin bar, I realized the error of my ways. Best pumpkin bar ever (and pretty good coffee, too)!

Steve and the Rivendell at Dolce

We even passed by the Atlantic Ocean, woo!

Felkerino and me at the Atlantic Ocean in Slaughter Beach, DE, Photo by Bob T.

I met and even rode some miles with coffeeneur and randonneur Iron Rider, who put together an excellent blog post of his ride. He completed it on a fixed gear. Way to go, Iron Rider!

Although I have not met her (yet!), Lisa of the Rambling Rider blog was also there. This was her first 200K and she wrote about her experience as a first-time randonneuse here. Welcome to randonneuring, Lisa! Hope to see you on another brevet.

A combined set of Felkerino’s and my Flatbread brevet pics is on my flickr page.

  • Potomac, Maryland and the D.C. Tweed Ride

Sunday, we joked about going to the D.C. Tweed Ride. Ha ha ha! Can you imagine us going on the tweed ride? Even though I love reading about Tweed Rides and seeing the photos, it’s hard to envision Felkerino and me participating in one.

Ultimately, we decided on our traditional post-brevet coffee run out to Potomac, Maryland. Lots of cyclists (including D.C. Randonneur Jeff M.) were out and about on the colorful tree-lined roads. Gotta enjoy it while we can!

Capital Crescent Trail

In a strange twist of fate, we ended up converging with the D.C. Tweed Ride on our return route! I am not kidding! That was awesome and hysterical.

With both of us in Sidi’s, me in my wool Swobo and knickers, and Felkerino in his Canada Randonneurs jersey and Bicycle Times socks, it was quite obvious we were not part of their procession.

D.C. Tweed Riders on a Trek and Surly

A perfect day for the D.C. Tweed Ride

Velo Orange and tweed on the D.C. Tweed Ride

Felkerino suggested that maybe I fit in more than I thought, as I was wearing a tweed cycling cap, ha!

You will find more of our serendipitous D.C. Tweed Ride collision here. I hope everybody had a great ride. It was a lovely day for it.

So that’s it for this perfect fall weekend. One ride on the W&OD, a D.C. Randonneurs 200K brevet, a coffee run via the Capital Crescent Trail to Potomac, Maryland, and the D.C. Tweed Ride.

Up next: More Coffeeneuring Rewind!

D.C. Randonneurs Old Rag 200K Brevet

I know Felkerino will be doing a roundup of this brevet on my favorite news source, The Daily Randonneur, but until he does, here’s a quick summary from the stoker.

Charlie and Scott on the Warrenton 200K

I had a tough time kicking myself out of my house at 5 a.m. to run off to Warrenton, Virginia, for the D.C. Randonneurs Old Rag 200K this past Saturday. It rained most of Friday, and Saturday promised more rain. Yippee.

Oh well. Felkerino and I had pre-registered, our legs felt good, and we thought we’d give it a go. We packed up the Gore-Tex and off we went.

After checking in with ride organizers Chuck and Crista, we took off with 40+ riders into the morning cloud cover, wondering what we were in for. Turned out only a few drops of water fell and we spent a beautiful day on the bike with temps that quickly climbed out of the mid-40s into the 70s.

We rode through a course exploding with dogwoods, redbud, and pretty patches of tulips.

The End.

Wait! That isn’t all! There’s more. Read on, my friends.

In addition to the warm temps and dry day, even more happened to make this ride special. That’s right. Even more!

      • We got into a couple of shootouts at the Randopaparazzi Corral;

I shoot Bill

Felkerino shoots Bill (c) Felkerino

Bill shoots Felkerino and me. Kapow! (c) Bill Beck

  • We escaped the clutches of a determined dog.

Don’t eat me, Fluffy!

  • We got to see Chuck and Crista, the ride organizers, at various points on the ride.

Crista at the top of Old Rag. Hi Crista!

  • I saw my shadow. Only six more weeks of winter!

Remember this? It’s called a shadow.

  • I spent a few hours in the glorious sun, and the last 10 miles with bare arms and legs.

Bare arms and legs the last 10 miles

  •   I documented people documenting the ride. Meta randonneuring!

Taking a picture of Alec taking a picture

Taking a picture of Felkerino and Bill taking a picture of Ritchie

  • I spent the day in the good company of my randonneur spouse (who is also my real life spouse) and some good riding buddies. We rode much of the day with Alec, Lane, and Lowell, and frequently crossed paths with Charlie and Scott, too. Thanks to everybody who passed the miles with us and thanks to Felkerino for being an awesome captain.

Lane and Alec

What a fun day! The humidity of the morning ebbed, the sun emerged, and I felt the toasty warmth of spring the latter part of the ride. Each mile felt better and better, despite the fact that the Carradice kept getting heavier and heavier from all the clothes we kept depositing into it. Even Piney Meetinghouse Road wasn’t so bad.

My full set of pics can be found here, and Felkerino’s are here. Oh, and Bill’s pics are here.

Now it’s back to the commute. See you out there! And watch out for the tourists!!

D.C. Randonneurs Urbana 200K Brevet

I had a great time this Saturday, making my way 128 miles from Urbana, Maryland, around the Catoctins and South Mountain on the D.C. Randonneurs Urbana 200K (full route description here). Felkerino and I had not ridden a brevet since November so it was fun to carry a card around on an official event with 67 other people.

I know Felkerino will be doing a summary of this brevet so I’ll leave most of that to him over at The Daily Randonneur. I’ll simply say that:

  • I did not like starting in 25-degree temperatures;
  • I liked my toe warmers;
  • I liked that the sun shone all day;
  • I liked that temperatures eventually warmed to the 40s;
  • I did not like the headwind in the first half of the ride (although, if you have to have headwind, I prefer it on the outbound);
  • I liked the draft off the captain;
  • I loved the tailwind in the second half of the ride;
  • I liked the homemade brownie I purchased at the KOA Campground control in Williamsport, Maryland (my post-ride reward);
  • I did not like the timing chain falling off four miles from the end of the ride;
  • I liked Felkerino’s 6-minute timing chain fix (my hero!); and
  • I liked riding with the group, reconnecting with people I had not talked with in a while, and meeting a few new people.

Overall, it was a day well spent on the bike. For a full set of our ride, check out my pictures here. And don’t forget to check out Felkerino’s summary, too!

Pennsylvania Randonneurs Stillwater 200K

Tandem partner Felkerino, friend Lane G., and I packed up our bikes and our randonneur passports this past Friday and headed to Pennsylvania for their November 200K brevet. The ride up was a solid five hours, but the trip was worth it.

Tom Rosenbauer, the RBA, put together an awesome 200K course, full of beautiful river views, scenic climbing, and fantastic controles.

The morning sun over the Delaware River

Afternoon Fall Vista

Milford Station Bakery. Best brevet controle ever?

Tom even put together a “Crista-style” cue sheet so we wouldn’t be too confused when making our way over the course. Tom thinks of everything!

Crista-style cue sheet by Tom R.

Riding with the Pennsylvania Randonneurs gave Felkerino and me the opportunity to meet new riders, traverse many new roads, and pedal with cyclists we don’t get to see that often.

Chatting with Ron and Barb in the early miles

Peter and Paul at the Millside Cafe

Peter, Lane, and Ed on the Delaware River

I also reacquainted myself with the correct spelling of Deleware Delaware, since we crossed the Deleware Delaware River many times throughout the day. So not only was this trip good for me physically, it was also educational.

Thanks to Tom for the awesome course, and thanks to all our fellow randonneurs for making this such a great day to be out on the bike!

Felkerino and me on the Stillwater 200K

My full flickr set of the adventure may be found here.  Felkerino’s pics are here, and he also posted his account of our ride on The Daily Randonneur, my favorite randonneuring news source.

Hope you were able to get outside a little, too. It was a really nice fall weekend.