Brevet food stop

Eat If It Looks Good? Not So Fast: Fueling on Brevets

This year, I began to be more deliberate about how I eat during brevets, especially the 400K and 600K distances.

I’m not the best eater nor am I a nutrition expert, but I have ridden a fair number of long rides up to 1200K distances employing both good and regrettable fueling strategies over the years. Experience has been a fine teacher. Continue reading “Eat If It Looks Good? Not So Fast: Fueling on Brevets”

Quickbeam at Memorial Bridge

Things to Do During Your Taper

Ah, the taper. Time to back away from the long efforts, rest the legs, eat good meals, and ready for the big day.

What’s a person to do with all this new-found spare time? Continue reading “Things to Do During Your Taper”

Felkerino and me. Photo by Jerry

Preparing for a 1000K Brevet

After a summer of bicycling, the Appalachain Adventure 1000K is fast approaching, and Felkerino and I will be riding it.

Given that the Appalachian Adventure is a late summer affair, Felkerino and I maintained a pretty big base of mileage since finishing the Super Randonneur series with the D.C. Randonneurs. Continue reading “Preparing for a 1000K Brevet”

View from the top of Harp Hill, in Maryland

Maintaining the Base: Weekend Back-to-Backs

Crossing Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Crossing Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

As part of our preparation for an upcoming two weeks of summer bike touring in Colorado and to maintain the bicycling fitness we developed over the course of the brevets, Felkerino and I have spent the past two weekends doing back-to-back Saturday and Sunday rides.

This is not so difficult to do in June, where days have tended toward toasty but not scorching with pleasantly dry air. Continue reading “Maintaining the Base: Weekend Back-to-Backs”

Throwing Away the Cycling Spreadsheet

Quickbeam and Capitol

A funny thing happened to me at the end of April. Funny to me, anyway. I lost interest in tracking my cycling miles, and stopped caring about the number of days I rode each month.

Continue reading “Throwing Away the Cycling Spreadsheet”

Tandem down outside Shepherdstown

Springing Over the Edge

Image

After a winter considered cold by many in the Mid-Atlantic—including me, who grew up in Iowa but has since become weak to the elements– Spring finally broke through.

Continue reading “Springing Over the Edge”

2011 D.C. Randonneurs 400K finish. Yay! (c) Bill Beck

Why Ride Brevets?

Randonneuring requires a certain level of commitment (no, not that kind of commitment). Early rises, car rides, bike maintenance and tuning, convenience store dining, and long days and even evenings in the saddle are all part of the randonneur lifestyle.

Photo by Bill Beck
Photo by Bill Beck

Given that most of us do not have unlimited leisure time, what is it about the brevets that appeals enough that we’re willing to dedicate so much of our spring and summer (for some, even more) to it?

Continue reading “Why Ride Brevets?”

Kebler Pass

Life is What Happens While You’re Making Other Plans: Looking Ahead in 2014

Winter's here. Time to plan for summer
Winter’s here. Time to plan for summer.

Recently, Felkerino sat down at our laptops and talked and dreamed about all we wanted to accomplish in 2014.

It’s rather fun to have a partner who likes to engage in the same kinds of activities as you. Weekend rides, brevets, bike tours… we both want to share these experiences.

However, I’ve come to appreciate that these activities don’t just happen. Okay, maybe a weekend century ride does, but other things require planning.

Continue reading “Life is What Happens While You’re Making Other Plans: Looking Ahead in 2014”

Endurance: What the Research Doesn’t Tell You

Photo courtesy Mike Griggs
Photo courtesy Mike Griggs

When mainstream media picks up a thread about the effects of endurance pursuits on health, I usually hear about it. The most recent one I know of was covered in the Wall Street Journal.

The article’s focus was “extreme exercisers,” and how they may experience some health benefits from their activities, but likely put their health at risk in other ways as a result (such as atrial fibrillation and coronary-artery plaque).

I’m sure this study and others like it are a validation to all those who put extreme exercisers in the “crazy” category. “What did I tell you? You-all are crazy for doing insert whatever endurance activity you do here!” they say. “Not only are endurance pursuits crazy. They’re bad for you, too! ”

Continue reading “Endurance: What the Research Doesn’t Tell You”

2013 D.C. Randonneurs 300K, Photo by George Moore

Randonneuring: From Doing to Being

2013 D.C. Randonneurs 300K, Photo by George Moore
2013 D.C. Randonneurs 300K, Photo by George Moore

I started riding with the D.C. Randonneurs in 2005 when I was invited to participate on a flèche team. At that time, I had never ridden farther than a century and I had no idea what randonneuring was. Despite my ignorance the flèche sounded like an exciting opportunity to test my limits.

To prepare for the 360K distance, I eagerly threw myself into riding. I logged weekends of back-to-back centuries, and participated in big training rides of 145 miles and longer. The flèche came and went and still I kept riding with the randonneurs.

Before finding out about the D.C. Randonneurs I had never fathomed pedaling over 200 miles in one go on my bicycle. Yet there I was, getting it done. So many of these rides represented new personal milestones. First back-to-back centuries, first double century, first tandem brevet, first Super Randonneur series. It took a lot of effort to make those rides happen, but I was fueled by the thrill of new accomplishments and the novelty of testing how far I could go under my own steam.

Continue reading “Randonneuring: From Doing to Being”

Summerhouse on the Capitol Grounds. Not relevant to this post, really, but I like this photo.

Progress in the Gym and at the Dinner Table

Summerhouse on the Capitol Grounds. Not relevant to this post, really, but I like this photo.
Summerhouse on the Capitol Grounds

Part 1: The Gym, the Rides, and the Runs

Another month has flown by since I made a more earnest commitment to the gym. It’s been three months now.

Continue reading “Progress in the Gym and at the Dinner Table”

Etlan Road up Old Rag

The New Old Feelings of Randonneuring Rides

Now that spring is here, the longer rides have begun for Felkerino and me. This weekend, we packed in a 155-mile ride on Saturday (Felkerino wrote an excellent post about it here) and a 37-mile recovery ride on Sunday.

Heading toward the mountains

Saturday’s ride was in preparation for our upcoming 24-hour, 360 kilometer flèche. In order to avoid suffering during the flèche, we rode this weekend to build our base miles.

Even though we completed a 200K brevet a few weeks ago, the 155-miler on Saturday felt like the first “big ride” of the season and with it, I experienced all the sensations and thoughts that typically arise this time of year.

Continue reading “The New Old Feelings of Randonneuring Rides”

Felkerino and me on a cold January ride out to White's Ferry

The Bicycle Cycle

Felkerino and the SimpleOne on a fall morning commute

Given this week’s temperate weather, I’ve heaved a big sigh of relief and welcomed the idea that fall will soon be (if it is not already) here.

Fall is my favorite time of year for bike riding. Ironically, fall is often when my monthly mileage slacks off, at least for a couple of months. As I looked over the way that Felkerino and I plan our riding, I realized that the fall months really represent cycling for fun and relaxation.

That got me thinking about what I see as our “bicycle cycle,” and I realized that our bicycle cycle follows the four seasons.

Continue reading “The Bicycle Cycle”

Dahon Hon Solo on the Southwest Waterfront

On Bicycling and Other Pursuits: How Much is Enough?

The past couple of weeks I have not spent much time on the bike. Rather I’ve been catching up on things that went neglected while Felkerino and I focused on the brevets and our trip to Colorado for the High Country 1200K.

It’s been a nice release to know that our big bicycling event for the year has come and gone and that it went well. However, the off-the-bike time also got me thinking about how much bike riding is enough.

Look, I know I have a good life if whether I rode my bike enough is one of my main existential questions. Nevertheless, I’m still giving it considerable thought.

This past weekend I tabulated my miles and looked at my mileages and cycling and running events. Here’s what the log showed so far for 2012:

Continue reading “On Bicycling and Other Pursuits: How Much is Enough?”

A peaceful moment in the park with my Bike Friday. On the inside, it's all pre-ride jitters!

Pre-Ride Jitters: High Country 1200K

I regularly get some form of the pre-ride jitters before intense multi-day cycling events. I don’t sleep well. I keep thinking I’m forgetting something. The longer the event and the more complicated the travel logistics, the greater the jitters. Continue reading “Pre-Ride Jitters: High Country 1200K”