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  1. #1
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    Civil War Century 2008

    Two years ago, CWC was my first century ride with serious (7400 feet) of climbing. I finished, but felt like I was the LAST person to finish, taking over 9 hours to complete the course. Determination to do better led to two years of serious training, lots of time in the gym (many squats) and the loss of 20 lbs. Yesterday was better , I finished in 7:07 riding time. There are some steeps climbs (and descents) on this ride; without intending to I set a personal speed record of 50.0 mph and several other peak speeds were in the 47 mph range. (I don't spare the attention to look at the GPS during the descents(!) so didn't know the speeds until I dumped out the data today).

    They postponed the ride to let Hanna pass through Maryland and the next day was glorious, blue skies, low humidity and temps from 60 at 7:00 AM into the high 80's in the afternoon. Just about perfect for riding.

    It's a beautiful ride. They have rides from 50 miles with little climbing, a metric, a 77 mile ride and the full century. The longer courses are in a sort of hourglass shape, so that when you hit the neck of the hourglass (which comes after most of the climbs) you can choose a downhill 6 mile bailout back to the finish if you're tired. This makes for a versatile and safe routing system that encourages you to try something challenging.

    This year that had a little surprise on the route. The big climb at mile 60 reached the peak I remembered from two years ago, but then the route markings (the ride was very well marked) showed a hard left turn with the word "NEW!", and then the road just went....UP. The GPS was recording short peaks of 15+% and I was suddenly happy to have a triple. The new section was beautiful to ride along a ridgeline, shady, but very steep and thankfully just a few miles long.

    It was a great event, and hats off the organizers for saving the ride by postponing it for a day. Quite a logistical feat.

    Ride profile attached.
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  2. #2
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    That does look like a hard century - hope you had some good company.
    Congrads on the 2 hour improvement - that is substantial. It is amazing what a good plan will do for you!


    Now you can start planning for the next one. There are quite a few this time of year.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  3. #3
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    Do you have a link to this ride? Sounds cool.

  4. #4
    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    Here's the link: http://www.baltobikeclub.org/index.pl/cwc

    This was my second year for the ride, it indeed was beautiful weather, unlike last year when it was 95 degrees. I think my riding time was about the same, I haven't uploaded my data yet, having problems with the Garmin data.

    I ran into a lot of great folks out there, a couple 50+ folks & some younguns'. As we were first setting up, I saw 50+ BFer buelito in a 50+ jersey, he looked great. The guy's an animal, he did the ride on a fixie. I was waiting for a friend who came in a bit late so buelito got a head start, I figured I'd catch up with him - how fast can a guy go on a fixie? Needless to say, I never got a whiff of him.

    Great ride, great support and perhaps best of all, it's a beautiful part of the country. What really does it for me is the historic nature of the ride - going through South Mountain, Antietam and Gettysburg really gives me the chills. I didn't get the camera out this year, but did take some pictures last year, they can be found at a thread from last year:

    Civil War Century....

  5. #5
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report! This was my first time on the CWC. I've been looking forward to this all summer, and was disappointed that it might be rained out. Rescheduling to Sunday worked out great. Wonderful weather, and the roads weren't too messed up. I did the 105 mile route.

    I have no complaints whatsoever, if you don't count my feet and my buttal region

  6. #6
    train safe buelito's Avatar
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    Hey chuckb, congratulations on the 2 hour improvement on your Century! Fantastic!

    As bobby c stated, I did the ride on my fixie. It was good to see bobby c—always nice to put a real face to the names on the forum. I didn’t get any comments on the jersey—but maybe it was because it was somewhat covered by my camelback.

    It was definitely a tough day-- The thing about this ride is that the hills are constant. I don’t think there is a flat part on it—unless you count part of the last 20 miles, where what little is flat is counterbalanced by a strong headwind.

    There were 12 of us in the group I started with (most of them wearing “Café de Colombia” jerseys), and it was great to have so many people you knew, but the downside was that we attempted to regroup at the stops, and that meant a 30 minute wait at the first aid station. Then it was hard to get the legs rolling again. We broke into three groups after the first stop, and that made a huge difference.

    The hardest part for me was some of the descents—where I reached 38 miles per hour—which on a fixie is way too fast, but these were short steep drops. The “new” section, which according to a volunteer was added because it is in the shade and has very little traffic, was tough. It seemed to never end. I just got into a rhythm and kept pedaling. Stand up for 50 or so pedal strokes, then sit down and repeat. On the really steep parts, it was stand up and hope I can keep moving so I don’t tip over . My goal was to not walk on the hills. I made it.

    I saw 2 other fixed gear bikes—so I wasn’t the only crazy one out there

    One comment I got from a woman who was drafting off me for a while was ‘…you don’t have any gears!’. My answer—“I have one”

    One of my riding buddies got severe cramps about 20 miles from the finish, so we slowed down substantially so they wouldn’t tighten up on him again… We ended up with 6:23 riding time.

    All in all, very well organized, with lots of food at the aid stations (the Gatorade was a little too strong) and a nice spread at the finish—including ice cream!

    Definitely a ride worth doing.

    Train safe-
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  7. #7
    road curmudgeon, FG rider GeraldChan's Avatar
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    This was my fist time doing the CWC with the BBC also. Last year I only got to mile 14 when my riding buddy crashed and suffer a concussion. Spent the rest of the day in the ER but he is OK now.

    I intended to do the full century but had to take the bailout at mile 66 for a grand total of 75 miles with an average speed of 14.5mph. (Was suffering from severe leg cramps before the top of Soth Mtn. My longest ride for the year was 50 miles before the century. I average 40-50 miles/wk of riding. Next year I will devote more time to training.) However I did all the major climbing before quitting.

    Most folks passed me on the climbs but on the descents where my superior weight became an advantage I could repass them. I even caught and passed a group of 9 riders who had gapped me by 1/3 to 1/2 mile prior to the crest of the climb. (Had to get my chest on my saddle to catch those guys as they could carve a good line through the turns.)

    For those of you w/in driving distance of the Wash DC area you would definitely enjoy this ride, but unlike a flatter ride you will need to do some hill training before coming out. The scenery, and the organization is first rate!
    1973 Nishiki Professional, steel, green/black, Campy NR FG conversion, Brooks Pro
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  8. #8
    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    buelito - what is the gear ratio on your fixie? I was definitely thinking about you when riding up the 'new' section, I saw more than a few people with triples get off their bikes. 6:23 riding time - wow, I was riding almost an hour more than you. That counts for something, right?

    I ride w/ a Garmin, I finally got my data uploaded today to MotionBased - it said I had nearly 9,300 feet of climbing. Can anyone confirm that? I think something must be off, the stated climb was around 7,200 I believe.

    Saw the results of 1 crash - at mile 14.6 (according to the cue sheet) there is a note: CAUTION - Bridge on Sharp Turn. I love that section but as we approached someone was waving people to slow down - it was still wet from the big rain and someone had wiped out and clearly hit the stone bridge with some force. He was down with some ice around him & plenty of people. As we climbed out of that hollow, 2 cop cars, an ambulance and a fire truck came racing down, hope the guy was OK. He look conscious when we passed, my guess it might have been a shoulder.

    Last year there was some talk on the forum of organizing a bunch of other forum members for this ride - we should think about this more seriously come springtime. There's lots of lodging nearby, plenty of good riding and sightseeing in the area, it would make a nice weekend trip for those outside of the area.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby c View Post
    buelito - what is the gear ratio on your fixie? I was definitely thinking about you when riding up the 'new' section, I saw more than a few people with triples get off their bikes. 6:23 riding time - wow, I was riding almost an hour more than you. That counts for something, right?

    I ride w/ a Garmin, I finally got my data uploaded today to MotionBased - it said I had nearly 9,300 feet of climbing. Can anyone confirm that? I think something must be off, the stated climb was around 7,200 I believe.

    Saw the results of 1 crash - at mile 14.6 (according to the cue sheet) there is a note: CAUTION - Bridge on Sharp Turn. I love that section but as we approached someone was waving people to slow down - it was still wet from the big rain and someone had wiped out and clearly hit the stone bridge with some force. He was down with some ice around him & plenty of people. As we climbed out of that hollow, 2 cop cars, an ambulance and a fire truck came racing down, hope the guy was OK. He look conscious when we passed, my guess it might have been a shoulder.

    Last year there was some talk on the forum of organizing a bunch of other forum members for this ride - we should think about this more seriously come springtime. There's lots of lodging nearby, plenty of good riding and sightseeing in the area, it would make a nice weekend trip for those outside of the area.
    I am also in awe of doing that route on a fixie, and in 6:23! The "new" section of the route was where I finally gave up and decided to use the small ring on the triple, and then managed to grind my way past several younger (and clearly fitter) riders who just didn't have the low gears for that kind of grade. The only thing I've seen worse than that section is the final climb at Mountains of Misery.

    My GPS had the climb right at the 7400 feet they advertised.

  10. #10
    train safe buelito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby c View Post
    buelito - what is the gear ratio on your fixie?
    It is currently rigged with a 48 x 17. I used to have a slightly lower gear on it, 48 x 18, but the cog wore out and my LBS only had a 17 available... Mike at the shop said 'you will hardly notice the difference'... it is definitely harder going up the hill, but easier going down

    train safe-
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  11. #11
    road curmudgeon, FG rider GeraldChan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buelito View Post
    It is currently rigged with a 48 x 17. I used to have a slightly lower gear on it, 48 x 18, but the cog wore out and my LBS only had a 17 available... Mike at the shop said 'you will hardly notice the difference'... it is definitely harder going up the hill, but easier going down

    train safe-
    You have my admiration sir. I also ride fixed gear but not to your level.

    If you still want a lower gear you can get a TA chainring in a 44 tooth size for 1/8" chains from WorldClassCycles. This will get you the equivalent of 1 fewer tooth in the rear cog. It is also my understanding that 17 teeth is the lowest gear in the 1/8" width.

    Gerry
    1973 Nishiki Professional, steel, green/black, Campy NR FG conversion, Brooks Pro
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  12. #12
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    I will put this on my riding calendar for 2009 and skip the golf tournament I usually do the day before in Pinehurst. I really enjoy doing different rides and would love to come up and ride with you guys........but not on a fixie!!

  13. #13
    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jppe View Post
    I will put this on my riding calendar for 2009 and skip the golf tournament I usually do the day before in Pinehurst. I really enjoy doing different rides and would love to come up and ride with you guys........but not on a fixie!!
    Oh, oh. I better start training if JPPE is coming to town. I don't know if 1 year is enough time....

  14. #14
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby c View Post
    Oh, oh. I better start training if JPPE is coming to town. I don't know if 1 year is enough time....

    Excellent!! Glad I can provide a goal for ya!! Actually this sounds like a century that on parts of ride, due to the historical significance it would be very appropriate to just sit up and soak in the sights.

    I may have missed it but what is the date for this one for 2009?

  15. #15
    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jppe View Post
    Excellent!! Glad I can provide a goal for ya!! Actually this sounds like a century that on parts of ride, due to the historical significance it would be very appropriate to just sit up and soak in the sights.

    I may have missed it but what is the date for this one for 2009?
    The ride is traditionally the weekend after Labor Day, they haven't posted any dates yet but I'd expect it to be the same time.

  16. #16
    Youthful Guy
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    This is one of my favorite rides! The nectarines were delicious!! Unfortunately, Sunday was my niece’s birthday and I had an 1.5 hour drive back, so limited my ride to the half century. But, still a beautiful day, beautiful scenery and wonderful people. It was great day to ride!

  17. #17
    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    agreed - great nectarines!

  18. #18
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    Seagull is for the pie , but CWC is for the tomato sandwiches

  19. #19
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    The ride is great, but not particularly good for soaking in the history For the Antietam section you basically ride through town, and then on the main road that goes past the park. I didn't even notice when we went through Sharpsburg. You can probably most appreciate Gettysburg, since you cross through the Confederate lines and basically follow the path of Picketts Charge toward the Union lines. Off to the right you have a good view of Little Round Top and the Devil's Den. And then you're out the other side before you know it.

  20. #20
    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    Jim's so true - Antietam won't let the group ride through the park, too many people. However if next year people want to make the event a 2 day ride (with the 2nd day - Sunday being an easy spin), you can ride through Antietam - bikes are allowed but not a big group. I've got a route through there - part of a self supported century but the ride can be as long or short as people want. Heck, a walking tour of the place is best - very moving.

  21. #21
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    I ride w/ a Garmin, I finally got my data uploaded today to MotionBased - it said I had nearly 9,300 feet of climbing. Can anyone confirm that? I think something must be off, the stated climb was around 7,200 I believe.

    QUOTE]

    Motion base is often way,way off the mark when it downloads the elevation date. There have been many threads about this here and in other forums. The elevation data you downloaded in Training Center is much more accurate. I rode this century in 07', and my data shows the 7200ft to be about right.

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