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  1. #1
    Neil_B
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    Belated Ride Report #3 - Scenic Schuylkill Century

    It's fun to look back at this ride. Yes, I was pushed beyond my limits, and it was painful, but it made me a better cyclist. Or at least a more determined one.

    *****
    My friend "freemti" from Bike Forums and I drove down together to the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia's Scenic Schuylkill Century on Saturday, September 8. At 8:00 AM the peleton of several hundred cyclists left Lloyd Hall in Fairmount Park, rounded the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and headed west along Kelly Drive to the suburbs. The century route ran into the farm country of Montgomery and Chester County, not far from my home, and back through Valley Forge National Park onto the Schuylkill River Trail, ending at Lloyd Hall.

    Through the BCP email list I arranged to have an informal escort for the ride. Phil is a seasoned bike commuter, and, by his own admission, "can pedal all day at 10MPH." So we left together as "freemti" 'dropped' us - by design, since he's a much faster rider and I'd never ask him to stay with me. I was wearing a hydration pack I'd just purchased, testing it prior to my MS ride at the end of the month.

    I had no difficulty with the flat course along the river, and even the hills in Manayunk weren't a problem, although they weren't pleasant, and I did walk one of them. However, once we left the river and began to enter Montgomery county, the climbs became more and more bothersome. My ambition and determination kept bumping into the fact that I am a novice rider with scoliosis and seriously knocked knees. I was fine at the Cedar Grove rest stop (15 or so miles). However, I decided to bail on the 106 mile century route by the Evansburg Park rest stop (36 miles), and rode the metric century alternate instead. I was hot, tired from riding as long and as hard as I had ever ridden, and my back was beginning to bother me. The metric route cut 40 miles of mostly climbing from the ride, although it did send us up the 9 percent quarter mile grade in Mill Grove. Yes, I did walk this hill, one of only three I walked on the route.

    My back pain was so severe by the time I reached Betzwood (48 miles) I had to spend a few minutes lying on the ground to 'realign' - it's amazing how much better I feel once my structure has had a couple of minutes without bearing weight. I few miles past Betzwood I asked Phil to carry my hydration pack. I had to lie down again to 'realign' past Spring Mill. By now I was stopping every few miles on the Schuylkill River Trail to get off the bike, so that Betzwood to the finish for Phil and I was nearly 2.5 hours, an hour longer than normal. It took me nearly nine hours to slog through the metric. Fortunately Phil and I reached the finish just in time to join in the traditional pizza party finish.

    This ride was a mixed result for me. I didn't ride a century, but I rode a metric that was far hillier than any long ride I'd done before. However, I may need to rethink my crazy desire to ride 100 miles, and indeed endurance riding in general. I might have hit my physical limits. Being stubborn, I might need more convincing.

    The back pain was partly due to my using a 2 liter hydration backpack. It was my first time with it, and it probably wasn't the best choice of hydration for me. I still don't know how much of the back pain was the hydration pack, the scoliosis, or my inexperience - this was my third metric ever, and only my fifth ride of more than 50 miles.

  2. #2
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Have you gotten better at dealing with the scoliosis, or do you still need to 'realign the structure'?

    East Hill
    ___________________________________________________
    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  3. #3
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by East Hill View Post
    Have you gotten better at dealing with the scoliosis, or do you still need to 'realign the structure'?

    East Hill
    That's only if I have back pain, and it's not a bad idea for anyone with a bad back. Laying down removes weight from your skeleton.

    But in answer to your question, between the exercises I do regularly, and finally breaking in the bike, I've been relatively pain free for most rides. My tours with Neil Fein, and my grueling 50 miles on the Bucks County Covered Bridges ride, were back pain free. I had a slight twinge on my 72 miles with Bautieri last month.

  4. #4
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    I had a slight twinge on my 72 miles with Bautieri last month.
    I think I would also have a slight twinge after 72 miles! It sounds as if you have tweaked the bike properly, then.

    East Hill
    ___________________________________________________
    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  5. #5
    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    2-liter hydration pack can get pretty heavy on longer rides. Can you mount more of the water on your bike or plan to fill up along the way?

  6. #6
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Something you might consider to get more bottles on Roark rather than a hydration pack:



    http://www.bikemannetwork.com/biking/p/ACH2OSYS/WC1605

    Mounts on the seatpost behind you.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  7. #7
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by v1k1ng1001 View Post
    2-liter hydration pack can get pretty heavy on longer rides. Can you mount more of the water on your bike or plan to fill up along the way?
    I have two bottle cages. The hydration pack was meant to allow me to drink on the go. I have a bad habit of not drinking on rides - ask Neil Fein, who has seen me suffer from cramps.

  8. #8
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    Something you might consider to get more bottles on Roark rather than a hydration pack:



    http://www.bikemannetwork.com/biking/p/ACH2OSYS/WC1605

    Mounts on the seatpost behind you.
    Where does the blinker go then?

  9. #9
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Where does the blinker go then?
    Back of your pannier set? Back of the trailer if you are pulling a trailer?

    Clip it to the back pocket of your jersey?
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  10. #10
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    Back of your pannier set? Back of the trailer if you are pulling a trailer?

    Clip it to the back pocket of your jersey?
    I'm very light conscious these days, or nights rather.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Where does the blinker go then?
    The seat post can be a lousy place for a blinker, if you have a rack, because anything on the rack will block the blinker. What I did was use a narrow piece of a broken rubber belt, this was wrapped tightly around the leg of the rack, to make it fat enough for the blinker clamp to fit, then tightened the clamp on the rubber, the blinker itself is about 3cm behind the back of the rack, so even with something big on the rack, the blinker is still visible. If you can't figure what I mean with my setup, I'll take the camera out to the garage and snap a couple of pix......

  12. #12
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    The seat post can be a lousy place for a blinker, if you have a rack, because anything on the rack will block the blinker. What I did was use a narrow piece of a broken rubber belt, this was wrapped tightly around the leg of the rack, to make it fat enough for the blinker clamp to fit, then tightened the clamp on the rubber, the blinker itself is about 3cm behind the back of the rack, so even with something big on the rack, the blinker is still visible. If you can't figure what I mean with my setup, I'll take the camera out to the garage and snap a couple of pix......
    I've figured it out. Thanks.

  13. #13
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    However, I may need to rethink my crazy desire to ride 100 miles, and indeed endurance riding in general. I might have hit my physical limits. Being stubborn, I might need more convincing.

    I'm originally from Schuylkill County, PA and am thinking about the Schuylkill Century next year. I'm also a newbie and road my 2nd metric this year -- the Lancaster Bike Club Covered Bridge Metric Century. The hills killed me!!

    Keep the goal alive -- ride a flat century. In April, the Tour De Cure in Hapton Roads VA. The century is from Chesapeake, VA to Manteo, NC on the beautiful Outer Banks. The ride is dead FLAT with the only "hill" being a bridge over the sound. http://tour.diabetes.org/site/PageSe...ent_state=2433

  14. #14
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Hi Bone Head, welcome to Bike Forums!

    Long distance riding isn't for everyone--some people don't have the time, some people don't have the patience. It's not really the physical limits. I know I can do centuries without any problems, but time is a factor.

    On the other hand, having a goal--such as raising money for a cause--is a great motivation .

    You will have to keep us informed on your progress.

    East Hill
    ___________________________________________________
    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  15. #15
    Neil_B
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    Bumping a thread since we were recently chatting about "failure." This took place in 2007, folks, so please don't think it happened yesterday.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    It's fun to look back at this ride. Yes, I was pushed beyond my limits, and it was painful, but it made me a better cyclist. Or at least a more determined one.

    *****
    My friend "freemti" from Bike Forums and I drove down together to the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia's Scenic Schuylkill Century on Saturday, September 8. At 8:00 AM the peleton of several hundred cyclists left Lloyd Hall in Fairmount Park, rounded the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and headed west along Kelly Drive to the suburbs. The century route ran into the farm country of Montgomery and Chester County, not far from my home, and back through Valley Forge National Park onto the Schuylkill River Trail, ending at Lloyd Hall.

    Through the BCP email list I arranged to have an informal escort for the ride. Phil is a seasoned bike commuter, and, by his own admission, "can pedal all day at 10MPH." So we left together as "freemti" 'dropped' us - by design, since he's a much faster rider and I'd never ask him to stay with me. I was wearing a hydration pack I'd just purchased, testing it prior to my MS ride at the end of the month.

    I had no difficulty with the flat course along the river, and even the hills in Manayunk weren't a problem, although they weren't pleasant, and I did walk one of them. However, once we left the river and began to enter Montgomery county, the climbs became more and more bothersome. My ambition and determination kept bumping into the fact that I am a novice rider with scoliosis and seriously knocked knees. I was fine at the Cedar Grove rest stop (15 or so miles). However, I decided to bail on the 106 mile century route by the Evansburg Park rest stop (36 miles), and rode the metric century alternate instead. I was hot, tired from riding as long and as hard as I had ever ridden, and my back was beginning to bother me. The metric route cut 40 miles of mostly climbing from the ride, although it did send us up the 9 percent quarter mile grade in Mill Grove. Yes, I did walk this hill, one of only three I walked on the route.

    My back pain was so severe by the time I reached Betzwood (48 miles) I had to spend a few minutes lying on the ground to 'realign' - it's amazing how much better I feel once my structure has had a couple of minutes without bearing weight. I few miles past Betzwood I asked Phil to carry my hydration pack. I had to lie down again to 'realign' past Spring Mill. By now I was stopping every few miles on the Schuylkill River Trail to get off the bike, so that Betzwood to the finish for Phil and I was nearly 2.5 hours, an hour longer than normal. It took me nearly nine hours to slog through the metric. Fortunately Phil and I reached the finish just in time to join in the traditional pizza party finish.

    This ride was a mixed result for me. I didn't ride a century, but I rode a metric that was far hillier than any long ride I'd done before. However, I may need to rethink my crazy desire to ride 100 miles, and indeed endurance riding in general. I might have hit my physical limits. Being stubborn, I might need more convincing.

    The back pain was partly due to my using a 2 liter hydration backpack. It was my first time with it, and it probably wasn't the best choice of hydration for me. I still don't know how much of the back pain was the hydration pack, the scoliosis, or my inexperience - this was my third metric ever, and only my fifth ride of more than 50 miles.

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