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  1. #1
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Best "Worst" Rides

    A recent thread about rating rides go t me thinking about some of my favorite rides. I quickly realized that some of the rides that I remember most fondly were rides that on the surface would seem to have been terrible rides. These were rides where I had to overcome some sort of difficult challenge to continue.

    What were your best "worst" rides?

    For me, the hardest challenge was a 200km brevet earlier this year. It was about 45 deg F and very windy. It was an out and back route with tailwind the first half. On the way home, the headwind kicked up to 30 mph with 40 mph gusts. If that weren't bad enough, the cold wind aggravated my dry-eye syndrome (I learned later) with the effect of causing my vision to slowly cloud up. It was like riding in fog and the longer I rode, the foggier everything got. In the last 20 miles, I literally had to navigate by looking down at the white fog line on the road. Fortunately, I paid close attention on the outbound leg and was able to identify the turns from large, barely discernable, landmarks because my vision got so bad I couldn't read the cue sheet, my cycle computer, or even street signs. The hardest part was riding down a county road that had no fog line. All I could do was ride slowly and steer by the contrast between the road and the grass shoulder.

    I considered stopping, but I was alone on the course and didn't know when another rider would come by. I could have called my wife, but it would have taken several hours for her to drive to my location. I did eventually make it back to my car where I had to sit for about half an hour before I could see well enough to drive down the street to a restaurant. After another hour or so in a warm room, my vision cleared up. But those last 20 miles of riding were some of the hardest I have ever done. But I did it, and got credit for completing the brevet. I certainly wouldn't want to do it again, but that ranks up pretty high among my favorite rides.

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    2001 and a metric century. Force 8 winds that always seemed to be in your face, although it was a circular route, and Rain ---Horizontal rain at that force. Finished the ride with the onset of Hypothermia and hands that could not feel a thing for the last hour. Temperature was around 55-60 but that wind took it out of me.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  3. #3
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    "Today's ride is gonna be tough! We are going to ride over to Winter Park and back over Rollins Pass. It's 11,600'...we're at around 8000' here at the East Portal [of the Moffat Tunnel]. There's nothing between here and Winter Park so if you have food take it with you. Watch the traffic until we get to Needle's Eye. Everybody ready? Signed in? Take a map? Okay, let's do a round of introductions first...I'm Stuart..." "Dallas" "Jim" "Steve" "Mike"...

    So started the First Portal-to-Portal Mountain Bike Metric Century on the old rail line that the 17 mile Moffat Tunnel replaced in 1920. It's not a real hard mountain bike ride since it is on an old rail bed but it is 15 miles to the top, 15 miles down to Winter Park and the repeat on the way back. It's a good 7 or 8 hour ride but we had good weather to start and the weatherman didn't say anything bad was going to happen to ruin a perfectly good August Saturday...other than the typical "afternoon thundershowers".

    Jim, Steve and Mike were a father and sons group who were a little new to mountain biking, and biking in general, and I had my doubts about them setting off on a 65 mile, two pass crossing mountain bike ride but they were adults, or at least almost adults. Dallas (Cox) was new to Denver and Colorado but he seemed a strong rider. We pushed off and headed up the road.

    Dallas and I soon outdistanced the other three but, since this was such a long ride, I figured that we wouldn't all be riding together anyway. Plus, if you are going on a 65 mile ride, you'd better not expect any handholding. After the first 8 or 9 miles, I couldn't see the others except far below us on the "Giant's Ladder", where the train bed switches back and forth towards the Needles Eye.

    Once we reached the top of the pass, Dallas and I looked at the old station and snow sheds (A little of them still existed back then) and, after 30 minutes of roaming around taking in the scenery of the Indian Peaks Wilderness to the north, Jim and the boys showed up. "Jim, maybe this is too much for you," I said. "Nah! Don't wait for us! We know where we are going. We'll see you in Winter Park. We're fine," Jim said.

    So Dallas and I pushed off for the first 15 mile downhill of the ride. This may be a railbed and the grade may be a maximum of 5% but at 15 miles long, you can pick up a bucket load of speed! We ripped down the road, passing jeeps and trucks because they can't go as fast on a rough road as we could. Near the old town of Alpine, we skidded to a stop to let our hands get some feeling back in them. Just then we heard the first CRACK! of thunder! To the west, the direction we were going, we could see the thunderheads growing...and they were growing fast! If we were going to get to Winter Park, dry, we had to hurry...even faster then we were already going.

    Just as the skies openned up, we rolled into town. Since the showers are usually brief, Dallas and I found a nice coffeshop to have lunch in and wait out the storm. As usual, the storm lasted only around an hour and we were back on our way. Because I was the ride leader, I looked around town a little but I didn't see Jim and the boys or their bikes. But I couldn't look too much because we still had a least 3 hours of riding left and we had to get back to our car...and the way the clouds were looking, we might still get wet!

    Being young and strong, we both sped up the hill as fast as we could. We kept looking back over our shoulders to see where the thunderstorms were but nothing seemed to be brewing behind us. The top of the pass was enshrouded with clouds but you expect that after a good thunderstorm and we had to get over there anyway so why worry.

    Once we reached the top, we could see a fog bank stretching out towards the Plains. We weren't going into a thunderstorm...it was much worse...we were going into a late summer upslope! And we had 15 miles of it to ride in! As soon as we rode into the fog bank, the temperature dropped from a balmy 50 F to a nice figid 40 F and the rain started to come down. First it was skree, then snow and then rain...buckets and buckets of it! The road was running like a stream bed! I had a full rain suit but poor Dallas only had a plastic jacket. He was starting to chill and I knew that we were going to have trouble if we didn't get him to shelter soon. He was starting to have touble controlling his bike as the first stages of hypothermia set in. All I could do was keep pushing to get to the car.

    Dallas was starting to really look bad just as we pulled up to the car but at least we had warmth now. I got him in the car and started the heater while I put the bikes in the back. I was cold but at least I was semi-dry. When I got back in the car, Dallas turned to me, checkbook in hand and stuttered "Hhhhhooooww mmmmuccccchhh aaaaaree mmmmembershipppp dues? Ttthhhaaat wwwwas aaaaannn aaawesome rrride!"


    Postscript: Jim and the boys got a ride home from Winter Park. Dallas went on one more ride with me, a fifty miler (mountain bike) the next year over Georgia Pass. Or I should say, an attempt at a 50 miler. Dallas showed up late and, since he had already called to say that he was going to be late, I started without him. As me and the rest of the ride stopped to rest along the way, Dallas came riding into view and gave out a hardy "Hey Stuart! Long time, no...." just as the skies openned up and dumped a deluge on us! We turned around right there and headed back to the cars.

    Moral of the story: If a guy named Stuart and a guy named Dallas ever show up on the same ride with you, just get in your car and drive home...and maybe start building an ark
    Last edited by cyccommute; 04-26-06 at 03:50 PM.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Let' see. Totally cooked on my first Grand Tour (Double century). Had to stop and sit by hte side of the road and convince myself to not even try to soft pedal until I had managed to swallow half a powerbar a banana and half a bottle of water. In the last 50 miles headed back home with a tailwind I picked up a bit of steelbelt and barely found it and fixed things before dark. Then chased the two I had been with at about 25 MPH for over a half hour.

    One not to bad but quite memorable ride was on the beach bikepath as a storm was blowing in. One section actually runs on a jetty that is between Balogna creek and the harbor. When I was on it I had a almost pure crosswind. When I realized I was leaning into it at what seemed like 10% I decided it was time to turn back and go home. while my bike still had paint and I still had skin.

  5. #5
    Hidden playable character Bikemiker's Avatar
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    A few years ago, a friend and I went on a ride/hike that didn't quite go as planned. The plan was a 4 mile ride down a rough jeep trail, to a 4 mile hike down into a canyon and back. So round-trip, 8 miles by bike and 8 on foot, 3200 feet down and 3200 back up.
    Trip started out pretty much as planned, we realized that on the way back we would be spending quite a bit more time walking the bikes than riding them due to the steepness of the track. We had suspected this might be the case though, so no big deal. We reached the trail, stashed our bikes and hiked down into the canyon. Once we reached the bottom of the canyon we hiked down stream for a ways to our turn-around point. After a nice break, enjoying the shade (probably the only significant shade of the day) and soaking in the creek we decided to fill our water bottles and head back. Then we realized we had a problem.
    I had brought 1 large water bottle on my bike and 2 large bottles in my pack, all 3 of which I had brought with me to the creek. My friend had brought 2 large bottles on his bike and 1 smaller sized bottle in his pack. Unfortunately, the 2 large bottles he brought were still on his bike (empty), a 4 mile hike up out of the canyon. He forgot them.
    It was a hot day, 90+. We had used almost all of our water on the way in, which was earlier in the day and almost all downhill. The only water between the creek and our truck was a couple of cattle tanks that were more mud than water. So, it was a looong, HOT, thirsty trek back to the truck. We did end up having to utilize one of those cattle ponds. I trudged through a couple yards of sludge before I reached any "water", and then it clogged my filter after every 10 pumps or so. I probably sweat more water out than I purified. We survived though, and my friend has been extremely water conscious ever since.
    I gotta Mike my bike.

  6. #6
    genec genec's Avatar
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    135 miles in Baja... as part of a trip to do the whole peninsula.

    One of the planned days was a 135 mile run across a flat dry lake bed and then into La Paz. That day started in Cd. Constitución. I was with a group of 28 other cyclists, but we each were fully loaded and self contained. We each rode on our own, and left "camp" on our own when we were ready to take on the day. Throughout the day we might find each other and group up, if the pace were right or the conversation was good. Usually you'd run into other cyclists around lunch, where you might find some small place along the road serving some sort of food... and you'd see a couple other fully loaded bikes leaning against a tree or wall.

    It looked like a long way on the map, and rain had been hitting on and off for a couple of days, with very heavy showers just yesterday. The night before was spent in a flooded run down hotel. (hey, it had a roof).

    I was already beat from the ride of the day before...

    At about the halfway point, at a town (could it even be called that) known as El Cien ("One Hundred"... I believe, 100 kilometers to La Paz) I stopped for lunch. Rather than rush through it and dash right back to the road... I was taking my sweet time. I was scouting for a place to spend the night. La Paz was a rest stop, so I knew that if I could find suitable digs, I could ride into La Paz the next day and still link up with the other cyclists. So I had a good meal and a beer.

    The ride leader stopped by. He was a large fellow who had arranged for various camping stops and a couple hotel stays for the entire 13 day trip... for a small fee. We talked for a bit and I mentioned that I might not get into La Paz that night. He said he was OK with it and it was my decision.

    I had another beer. Another cyclist came by, and the leader took off. Well after the other cyclist ate, I figured I'd ride with him for a bit and then find a comfortable place to put up my tent.

    The beers had really mellowed my pace... and dulled my aching muscles... so I just kept up the cadence and kept going... the tail wind didn't hurt and was picking up. Hey, I only had 100k to go... right? The other cyclist was hitting on all cylinders and took off. I held my pace... Hey, whatever.

    There were signs of the weather system catching up... the sky behind me was getting darker.

    But the road was pretty flat, and those beers seemed to allow me to "just keep on truckin'."

    The next thing I knew, I could see the outskirts of La Paz in the distance, and the rain was starting to fall... gently, but it was obvious that it had rained here earlier, there were puddles here and there on the road. As I got closer to town, I caught up with the ride leader... we went into the heart of La Paz together, decrying the rain, and laughing about it as the evening sky darkened... the long day winding down.

    It was really laughable at that point... something of a relief... being tired, being rained on, catching up to the ride leader, coming into town and civilization, and arriving just as night fell. It was one heck of a ride, and I knew that I was looking forward to the rest of the next couple of days....

    I had just finished 135 miles.

  7. #7
    Stop it. 56/12 and 22/28's Avatar
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    2005 Rochester Tour de Cure.

    62.5 miles of short, steep, ~20% climbs (I like long climbs), and it was raining so hard I couldn't even smell anything.

    When it stopped raining, there was water dripping out my hubs.
    http://img200.imageshack.us/img200/6...zysmall4uh.gifCanadian Correspondent General.
    2003 Colnago Dream D-A 7700, 2006 Giant TCR 2.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    I vote for Hugh Murphy's "Death Valley, The Hot Ride." Only done once. On August 18th, at night of course. Started after sunset at 117 degrees. A century ride out of Furnace Creek, 50 miles south on the eastside road through Badwater and Ashford Mills and return. There was a 40 MPH headwind going out and the same 40 MPH tailwind coming back. Piles of bottled water every 3-4 miles, 3 attended stops along the 50 miles, 2 tons of ice trucked in from Baker. We sagged out half of the ~100 riders. The ice truck driver was so excited by it all he sagged several riders back to Furnace Creek in the back of his refrigerated truck after the ice was gone. The only complaint was one woman who said she had to ride her brakes as the tailwind was making her outrun her headlights.
    This space open

  9. #9
    N_C
    N_C is offline
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    I take the term "best" to mean the absolute worst rides I had ever done. Which is probably differant then how other view the term. These are the rides that really stick out in my mind, more then likely because everyone of them has some sort of tragedy in it.

    The first 2 were when I was in college, one was when I was riding to school, the 2nd home from school.

    The 1st one I was riding along an old abandoned railroad bed along the Des Moines River. Not knowing that flooding had washed away part of the bed I rode right into a huge hole, did an end over & broke the computer mounting bracket & cracked my helmet for the first time ever. But I did make it to school on time.

    The 2nd was on the way home from school. I was going down a large hill, started to apply the brakes, the spring on the front brake broke causing the brake pad to become wedged under the rim, stopping the bike suddenly. I did a great impression of superman & landed flat on my chest when I hit the ground. The very heavy back pack I was wearing at the time hit the back of the helmet so hard when I landed it cracked my helmet, this was the second time a helmet cracked. Had I not had it on it would have cause major injury to the back of my head & neck. Another cyclist saw the accident & took me home as I was in no condition to ride.

    Third, my father in-law & I were riding on Army Post Road in Des Moines when car got too close. It was either get hit or try to jump the curb. I tried the curb, as a result I went down, slid along the pavement & had major road rash up & down my right leg.

    The first time I did the Tour De Rock bike ride I lost control on a curving downhill section went down & slid about 10 feet down the trail on my left side. Had road rash from my left side, above my waist clear down to my ankle.

    About 3 years ago I was hit by a car due to a stupid mistake on my part. Still have numb spot, due to nerve damage, on my right leg just above the ankle as a reminder of what not to do.

    I have had other accidents as well, but nothing as worse as these.

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