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Old 07-30-07, 07:49 PM   #1
Tom Bombadil
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Grinding one out on an off day

I'm in West Virginia on vacation this week and decided to ride the rail trail from Morgantown down to Prickett's Fort near Fairmont. From where I got on the trail it was 23 miles down and then 20 back to where I arranged to meet my wife.

The trail is beautiful. You ride with the Monogahela River on one side and beautiful woods on the other. There are several scenic vistas where you can see up and down the river nestled between hills. And there three navigational locks along the way.

You ride right up to Prickett's Fort, which my ancestors helped to construct and fortify in the late 18th century.

So I set out on a warm morning that turned into a hot, humid day. My legs felt sluggish right off the bat, but I thought they would warm up. They did a bit, but I lacked energy the entire ride. I've been riding a lot in 2nd cog front, 6th gear back (8 speed rear) recently and frequently maintaining 15 mph on trails. Not today. Not 15, not 14, and couldn't even hold at 13 for long. Spent most of the day diddling along at 11.5-12.5 in 4th gear.

Started to turn back at the 15 mile mark, with 12 back it would have made 27. But after a break, I kept going and gradually completed my 43 mile ride at the slowest pace I've ridden in 3 months. As it was my 2nd longest ride ever, I still feel good about it. At least I stuck to it. But wouldn't brag about it, as the speed was embarrassing.

I drank a lot of water before leaving and then consummed about 20 oz on the way down. Got there, couldn't pee. While at the fort, I drank another 36 oz or so, which included a Gatorade. Still no pee. When getting back to Morgantown (more than 2 hours later), still no pee. Had to drink another quart of water before I finally went for the first time in 10 hours. This was interesting to me - if not to anyone else. Who needs bathrooms on a hot summer day???

Highly recommended trail. Mostly gravel, but a nice, fine gravel. Very flat, even flatter than Wisconsin trails. Would love to ride in Autumn, when the leaves are turning. Only negative, no facilites (like water or restrooms) between Morgantown to Fort Prickett (20 miles). I've never seen that long a stretch without facilities in Wisconsin.
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Old 07-30-07, 08:41 PM   #2
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Hmmmm, that would worry me a bit. That's alot of fluid.
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Old 07-30-07, 09:11 PM   #3
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Thats a lot of sweating Tom. And a nice ride report. I wish I knew what my ancestors were doing in the 18th century. Maybe.

You need to drink even more. But I'm sure you already have that figured out.
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Old 07-30-07, 10:03 PM   #4
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Nice ride Tom. I didn't realize there was anything flat in West Virginia.
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Old 07-30-07, 10:14 PM   #5
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Congratulations on completing your ride tho' it didn't go exactly as you had planned. Hubby's ancestors are from WV.
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Old 07-30-07, 10:50 PM   #6
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Thanks for the report.
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Old 07-31-07, 06:47 AM   #7
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You know, of course, that 99.93% of the people in this country could not have completed that ride at an speed and probably 63.15% of the folks who ride bikes have never ridden that far on gravel in a week, not to mention a day.

Seems like you hydrated yourself just fine. I rarely urinate during rides in the summer, but my jersey and shorts always seem to gain two or three pounds by the end of the rides.

I was trying to think of something snarkey to say but , hey, it's summer and the living (and riding) is easy. Have a nice rest of vacation.
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Old 07-31-07, 07:29 PM   #8
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Nice ride Tom. I didn't realize there was anything flat in West Virginia.
Me either, and I spent nearly all of the first 34 years of my life in WV.

Only reason it was flat was that it ran on the old rail road track right on the shoulder of the river. I passed dozens of rock cuts, which were blasted out so that the rail could go through.

Can't chat too much, as I'm on a 28K modem connection. Deathly slow.
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Old 07-31-07, 07:56 PM   #9
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Can't chat too much, as I'm on a 28K modem connection. Deathly slow.
Is that kerosene powered, or is it a woodburner?
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Old 08-01-07, 06:13 AM   #10
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Been there done that. Good job to finish, everyone is different and reacts to heat/humidity differently. I am a heavy and I mean heavy sweater so I cannot really keep up with hydration easily. So that means when the weather conditions are not right I have to limit the length of my rides. It is normal for me to loose 2lbs of water per hour of riding, which would mean drinking a liter/hr to match this. It can take my body 3-4hrs to get back to hydration stasis and to where I need to urinate after a 2-3hr ride.
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Old 08-01-07, 06:29 AM   #11
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If you're not used to humidity it can really sap your energy.

You mentioned you were riding on a rail-to-trail and they often have those long gradual 1-2% grades that can really slow you down. There's one in my area that is 12 miles long. I can maintain 17-20 mph when I'm on the down grade but have to pedal like crazy to maintain 11-13 mph when I'm on the up grade I always make sure I ride the up grade first.....that ride home is fantastic!

Enjoy the vacation!
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