Wednesday, October 2, 2013

2013 Back Roads Century - the second 50

Where did I leave off?  Oh yea, after changing out some clothes, we headed back out the road for the 2nd half of the Century.  This part took us over the same roads for about 4 miles then we headed in a southward direction.  The goal for getting through the 2nd 50 miles was to get from one aid station to the next.  The organizers of this ride had suggested this as a survival tactic in one of their many informative emails sent prior to the ride.

The first aid station on this section (3rd overall) was at mile 64.  It was my absolute favorite!  It was held at Burwell-Morgan Mill.  I love historic old buildings and as part of our entry fee, we got to go inside of the Mill.  It was so neat.  I took a lot of pictures here.  The other awesome part of this rest stop was they had boiled potatoes!  Sounds strange, but carbs and salt are marvelous!  I eat way too many potatoes so this was a perfect snack for me.  The people serving them were delightfully funny as well.  One odd thing I noticed at this rest stop was that they had signs up stating that due to health department regulations, they had to serve our food.  This didn't apply to the potatoes as they were wrapped in aluminum foil, and it didn't apply to bananas or oranges; but any sandwiches or cookies had to be given to you by the volunteers.  OK, I just went along with it and thanked them repeatedly for spending their time for us and now serving me food with a smile.  Can't say enough good things about how friendly everyone was!

Back on the bike and things started getting more difficult.  We were getting more hills (all things are relative - around here they wouldn't be a big deal) and I was getting fatigued.  I pressed on aiming for the next rest stop which would lead me to surpass my previous longest ride ever.  At mile 79.4, I finally rolled in where the treat was tomato, cucumber and mayo sandwiches.  Well I don't like tomatoes or mayonnaise, so I asked if I could have just cucumber, which I was given a handful.  YUMMMMMM.  I refilled my bottles here - borrowing a Nuun from my friend Lauren.  Sorry to say, I didn't care for it in the end.  YUK.  Anyway, I was getting slower and slower.  Andrew and Lauren seemed to have plenty of energy, so I encouraged them to go on and not to wait on me.  As we left this aid station in White Post, VA - we saw the literal white post in the middle of an intersection.  We laughed and wondered how many times the post had been hit.  A short while later a car passed us about the time we saw 5 young deer running towards the road.  One of them crossed rather close to the front of the car.  The other 4 slowed down and began meandering in the yard on the right side of the road.  The car stopped, the runner deer did as well and it began to look around as if to say, hey where did my friends go.  Eventually they all ran into the woods.

There was more challenging terrain between the White Post rest stop and the next.  I think had I had fresh legs the hills wouldn't have seemed brutal; but they were.  In this section, we rode right next to the Shenandoah River which was running fast and is a wide river.  I remember having to climb up this awful hill around mile 85 which for the first time I employed my granny gear because I was just tired.  I knew if I could keep going I could finish this thing in about an hour.

I finally rolled into the last aid station at mile 92.4 where Andrew and Lauren had been for a few minutes.  They had already dug into their Italian Ice which was the special treat here.  I spied a huge hunk of watermelon and had that instead.  It was yummy and sweet.  Just enough to get me to the end.  Again Lauren and Andrew went on and I followed as best I could.  Eventually I made my way to Main St. Berryville where the first headwind of the day greeted me.  Isn't that typical?  Dead tired, legs barely wanting to pedal and now I have to ride into the wind.  HAHAHA,  I sat behind these three people who didn't stop talking for several miles and saved my energy.  Eventually I passed them and rode to the finish line.  I had a blast and would do it again!

My total time including rest stops = 8 hours 35 minutes
My riding time = 6 hours 41 minutes

I'll add the Mill pictures soon.  :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

2013 Back Roads Century - the first 50

Having met Andrew and Lauren the night before, we exchanged texts early Sunday morning to arrange a meeting spot.  Soon we would be off on our journey.  Clothing was tricky.  It was cool, damp and the sun was barely peeking over the trees.  I started in shorts, jersey (duh), arm warmers, knee warmers and my jacket.  Wool socks and long finger gloves were my choice for the ride.  My digits don't like cool air especially the rebuilt one.  I chose my black sheep socks, after all I'm a mountain biker at heart!  As we rode down the first roads the morning dew glistened on the trees and grass, a few lights were on in the occasional house we passed.  There was little traffic to contend with on the narrow, two lane roads, I guess people were sleeping in.  The roads were smooth and had few pot holes.  We kept up a pretty good pace at first but were passed by many. I guess everyone had a different agenda.  We were all just trying to finish our first centuries.

We found ourselves in a group of about 10-12 people with two people in the front that were squirrelly and all over the road.  I was able to make a break and get around them when we came upon some road kill.   We rode away from that pack for a while.  Soon we would encounter the Ride for Helen squad.  Not sure who Helen is or why they were riding for her.  Unfortunately, one of their riders displayed very poor etiquette swinging out to pass a pack of riders and crossing the double yellow line.  A car nearly hit her.  Why people have to behave so poorly i will never understand. The organizers are the ones who end up fielding compalaints about people like this and their actions jeopardize the future of organized rides like this.

Anyway we meandered north and ended up in West Virginia at a park where the 25mile aide station was.  It was well stocked with food, fluids and the requisite potties.  While at the table getting a snack, I thanked a volunteer for being there.  He seemed completely stunned that someone said that.  Having been a volunteer in all sorts of roles at all sorts of event, I feel inclined to thank those giving their time up for me to enjoy a great event.  

We headed back out soon with the destination of the start line as the midpoint of the ride ass where we started.  We had crossed a few major roads during our trip. It was nice to see how other riders looked out for each other at these.  It was also very surprising when all 4 lanes of traffic stopped to let a large group of use across.  When we arrived back at thte start, I headed to my car to change out some clothing.  Off with the jacket, on with a vest.  Refilled by bottles, grabbed a sip of sweet tea.  The second half of this ride was going to be difficult. I had had too many good rides of late and I hadn't ridden a long ride in a while.  Also, the farthest I've ever ridden was 76.6 miles.  My goal was to get to 80 

The second half blog coming soon.   Sorry I've been busy.  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

2013 Back Roads Century - prelude

So back in May when I rode the Storming of Thunder Ridge, I decided to attempt a Century by the end of the year.  I did some research on line and found the Back Roads Century in Berryville, VA.  I had been through Berryville several times on my way to PA, but have never stopped.  After posting a note on Facebook about it, I got a message from my WDBJ pal Hank telling me that he grew up in the area and that I could anticipate fairly flat, rolling roads.  

My original plan was to drive up on Saturday, set up my tent (it was free to camp vs expensive motel rooms) then go explore on bike.  Well it decided to rain and rain and rain.  As the forecast began to look worse and worse I elected to scrap the tent plan and sleep in the car.  I've done this in the past and it worked out well then.  I left Roanoke at noon Saturday for the 3 hour drive to Berryville.  It started raining about a mile from my house and would continue to be intermittent for the entire trip.  By the time I got to Berryville it was pretty wet.  I found the Clark Co fairgrounds where I'd be sleeping then decided since it was raining I'd go back to Winchester and go to the mall.  I found some nice work clothes on sale so this turned out to be a good stroke of luck. The monsoon hit about the time I planned to go back to the fairground and cook my dinner.  Sigh!  I wound up getting in touch with the other folks from Roanoke and we met at Ruby Tuesday.  Enjoyed meeting them and staying dry.  

I headed back to Berryville around 8pm and figured I'd just go to bed.  I snuggled down on my Thermarest in the back of my Jeep and drifted off to sleep as the rain continued to fall.  I woke up around 930p and realized the rain had stopped.   I dashed off to the potty and returned to fall sound asleep until about 2am.  After this I dozed on and off until finally getting up at 5:15am. 

The sky was clear, the moon was bright and the stars were beautiful. I stood and gazed up at them for a few minutes.  The air was crisp and fresh, it was going to be a great day....

To be continued...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saturday May 25th - Ride to Peaks of Otter

Parked here...

Onto the Parkway

Going here....

Thru here...

UP we go...

Quarry below...

Great Valley to see...


This view never gets old.

Made it!!!


Couldn't see this at all the week before...

Treated to a view...

Bobblett's Gap cemetary at the overlook..

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Storming of Thunder Ridge - the photo summary

Approaching the first aid station... (Photo credit: Tim Dahl)
On the climb up the parkway to Thunder Ridge (Photo credit: Tim Carter)

Somewhere between Rt 43 and the end... (Photo credit: Tim Dahl)

Yes that says 76.2 miles and yes it rained all day... (Photo credt: me)