Sunday, September 30, 2007

Short Rides for a Busy Weekend

Kind of a busy weekend so I did two shortened rides. Or rather, the same short ride, both days.

Saturday I arrived at Brands parking lot at 7:00am for the usual group ride. We were missing our usual leader, Jamie, but the seven of that showed decided to do the usual route out on the LIE to exit 52 and back. By the time we got to the end of Round Swamp Rd. and hit the first hill of the LIE, we were down to 5. Two hills later, down to four. We made the turnaround, stayed together to the final hill of the LIE but after that we were down to two. The two of us flew back to Brands with the help of a nice tailwind.

Sunday, I had an early family commitment so I skipped the Early Birds and did the 40-mile route again. A bit cool at the start but, as on Saturday, it warmed up nicely by the halfway point.

I'm registered to race next Saturday at the Tour de Parc. If I wasn't racing I sure would like to be out in Southampton for the Whitmore Cyclocross races. The cyclocross WORLD CHAMPION (yes, WORLD champion), Erwin Vervecken will be racing. Maybe I can get there somehow for Sunday's racing. Lots of other national champions will be there as well. This will really be a showcase of some top riders.

Here is my report from last years race.

And, for your viewing pleasure, Erwin Verveckin winning the 2006 World Championship!

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Tour de Parc LIVES!!!

I just found out that the Tour de Parc is ON this year! October 6th, at Cedar Creek Parc. I just registered for the Cat 3/4 race! Cool! I thought racing was done for the year but this should be a fun one. Lots of riders from Nassau, Queens, and NYC who don't do the Kreb Friday Night race.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Warm Weekend

A warm weekend was on tap as highs were predicted in the low to mid 80's for Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, I hooked up with the Brands group for great ride down to the LIE service road, and back. We had six riders in a pretty strong group. For me, the pace was perfect, not hyper fast and not too slow either. Just nice cruising speed. It was a little misty in the morning but its good that we got an early start since it rained on-and-off for most of the afternoon. I tacked on a loop to Jones Beach afterward to get my total mileage up to 54 for the day. It felt pretty good to enjoy this ride since the Highlander (last weekend) was so tough!

Today, a sunny but windy Early Birds. Once again, on the south route. Medium sized group and I was able to hang with the pack for whole ride, excepting one small section before the rest stop where the group was broken up crossing a busy street. I tried to chase back on but they were really moving. So, I pulled into the 7-11 about 15-20 seconds later. Percy was at the ride. Here is his ride report with a couple of pics.

Just finished placing a couple of bike part orders. As the 2007 season is winding down, I am taking stock of whats worn out after a year of riding... rear tire, chain, cassette, etc.

Someone at the Early Birds mentioned that he is trying to get together a fall century ride in October in Connecticut. They did it last year and all had a good time. It is a challenging ride. Stats from last year indicate 116 miles and over 8,000 ft of elevation gain. They leave from Orient Point in the morning and catch the ferry to New London CT. They go through rolling back roads in CT then get the ferry back in the evening. For me it would be a very long day, with a long drive at each end. I will have to see if I can take a personal day at work, but it would make a nice "last century" for the year.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Highlander Ride Report

Rest stop at mile 85.

Up at 4:15am for oatmeal and coffee. Got suited-up and out the door by 5:15am for the 1-hour-plus drive from Corning to Bristol. As in previous years, arrived at Bristol Ski Resort in the pre-dawn darkness, along with everyone else who was preparing for the 7:00am start of the 100 mile route.

Quickly checked in and picked up my ride number (#193). Then back to the car to put the bike together and get ready to go. Weather was going to be a factor this year more than in previous years with a forecasted high of only 52F, possible rain, and wind. I picked up some new bib-knickers from Brands the day before for a little more protection from the cold. I ended up wearing toe warmers, base layer, 5BBC jersey, windproof vest, and long-fingered gloves.

Post-ride, I was pretty happy with my clothing choice as we seemed to have every kind of weather during the ride (sun, clouds, wind, rain, wet roads, dry roads, etc.).

The ride was every bit as difficult as in the past two years, possibly even more due to the weather. I hit my first snag at mile 13 with a flat tire, but I located the offending sharp stone, replaced the tube, and reinflated with my CO2 cartridge and was rolling again in a few minutes. There was a photographer on Miller Hill again so I hope to be able to post that photo in a couple of days.

After climbing Miller Hill and grabbing a couple of Fig Newtons at a rest stop, I tackled the fastest downhill of the ride. Last year I topped out at 54 mph on this downhill but due to the wind and damp roads, I kept it at a more reasonable 48 mph this year.

The first "Monster" hill climb was Bopple, but since it comes up after only 27 or so miles, my legs were pretty fresh and I was able to struggle up to the top. A few people were there ringing cowbells and shouting encouragement. A few short miles later we hit "Monster" # 2, Gannett Hill, not as steep as Bopple but longer and without much recovery time from the last hill.

The next 40 miles are some very tough rollers then a nice cruise to Italy Hill Road. Another rest stop and a couple of miles to "Monster" #3, Sliter. Coming after 67 hilly miles, this was the hill I was most worried about. Luckily, I was able to drag myself up it.

Some more rollers, another downhill ride along the lake, and I met up with the family at a rest stop around mile 85. We chatted a little and I munched a Clif bar. Then off to the final "Monster", Griesa Hill road. This is a long climb but not as steep as the previous three, so I was able to get in my lowest gear and spin myself up.

Grinding up another hill, 19 miles to go!

Got rained on for the last 10 miles, mostly downhill, back to Bristol Mountain. I picked up my complimentary wine and headed back.

Legs don't feel too bad this morning but temperature here is only 40F and my warm clothes are still wet and dirty from yesterday. So, no ride this morning.

...Back home now. Its still nice out so I did a short recovery ride to Jones Beach and back!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Training Rides

Did 80+ miles on Saturday, about 30 of it with the Brands group and another 50 on my own. I intentionally hit as many hills as possible to try and get the climbing legs warmed up for next weekend. Man, I wish I spent more time doing hills this summer!

This morning did Early Birds, South route. I skipped the 7-11 rest stop with about seven other riders to get home a little earlier today. I felt surprisingly strong even after yesterday's hard ride. Next weekend is the Highlander. Will do maybe 20 miles on Friday before we head upstate. Hopefully we will have good weather. Report to follow!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Labor Day Weekend Rides in Corning

Did the Early Birds last Sunday. Finished with a secondary group after stopping to assist with a flat < 10 miles to go.

This weekend we are up in Corning, NY. Yesterday and today I did a 65-mile ride from Corning to Hammondsport and back. Must of the route is flat, following the river valley but the loop from Savona to Weston to Hammondsport and, finally, back to Bath is quite hilly and a small taste of what is to come at the Highlander.

Here is the route I followed.

It was good to get in two "long-ish" rides with some variety of hills. Also some nice 40+ mph descents! This morning was especially tough as I was riding into a headwind for 20 miles, all the way from Batch back to Corning. Tomorrow, we are heading back to Long Island early since tomorrow is the first day of school. I will try to get in a short ride before we leave. May just try to get up Harris Hill and back.