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What constitutes an epic ride for you?

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What constitutes an epic ride for you?

Old 02-19-20, 06:24 PM
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FloridaDave
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What constitutes an epic ride for you?

Just curious to hear from all of you -- what constitutes an epic ride for you? Is it the fellowship of a group ride where you all stop for a beer afterwards? A scenic ride? Is it a ride that has thousands of feet of climbing? Is it sheer distance? Maybe extremes of hot or cold?

I used to consider an epic ride anything above 100 miles. I'm a flat lander so climbing has never been part of my riding equation. As I get older what I'd call epic has changed a bit. I still find long rides to be great, but I also acknowledge that a shorter ride on a winding road along side a river, with a gentle breeze, blue skies, and balmy temps, at less than an all-out pace, can be pretty epic also.

What do you think?
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Old 02-19-20, 06:37 PM
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I have to admit, all my first baby spins after pneumonia or achilles surgery were my most epic.

(Hope this doesn’t get punted to P&I.)

-mr. bill
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Old 02-19-20, 06:41 PM
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An epic ride for me is one in which I worked myself and when I got home I thought "I can't wait to ride again."
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Old 02-19-20, 07:25 PM
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Lots of variables but I always thought over 8000 feet of climbing on a road ride of 80-100 miles was pretty epic for me. Haven't done one of those in a while.
A mountain bike ride of 5+ hours is pretty epic, too. I used to do a mtb ride that took 7-8 hours which included a water access point. I went off a cliff on that ride the last time I did it.
I did a thing called "The Cannell Plunge" on the mtb. Shuttle vans took us to 9000 foot Sherman Pass and we descended singletrack for 23 miles back to Lake Isabella. Epic.

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Old 02-19-20, 07:52 PM
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One of my 'bucket-list' rides is to ride around the perimeter of my home state of Ohio -- about 1030 miles according to Google maps... I even have it planned to take three weeks -- easy 'tour' with sightseeing/history stops every day.

...another is to do the original BikeAmerica coast-to-coast cross-country -- I only wish I had the time to take the two-months-or-so it'd take.

...another is to do the GAP/C&O - five days, tops.

...another is to do TOSRV almost 40 years after the last time I did it... (I did it every year from '77-81). A 'bonus' would be to do it on the SAME BIKE as before -- my '75 Fuji S-10S! It's just one weekend!

...I had hoped to ride the 85-miles from my mother's place in Apache Junction to my dad's sister's place outside of Tucson, but since mom passed away, I don't see that happening...


In short -- whatever you want to accomplish -- DO IT before 'life' or life's events get in the way!!
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Old 02-19-20, 08:08 PM
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Been a few years. Last Epic was across Washington State. Neah Bay to Spokane, with only a few dozen miles avoided with the assistance of a family SAG. And subsequently Cino Heroica was epic-ly fun and only a bit tough.
Epic for me these days (nearly 70yo) is a metric century with some gravel thrown in.

Let me check for images.
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Old 02-19-20, 08:15 PM
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I used to think a sub 5 hour century was epic.

Now, it's more about having fun on a hard ride. I figure if I finish a hard ride and I'm too beat to have a beer, I've done the ride wrong, .

I try to sign up for one epic ride every fall. Last year it was the Centenario Coppi in SW WI. Lots of BFers, lots of old bikes, and lots of hills (around 5k climbing over a metric century, lots of 10 percent grades, some 15% plus).

I signed up for TOMRV in June: 125 miles over 2 days with 6,000 ft of climbing. I'd like to find something with a lot of climbing for the fall as well.

I like building up an old bike for these kinds of rides. Getting the gearing right on an old bike can be a challenge. Last year I built up an early 70s Fuji Finest; this year I want to build up an early 70s Mercier 300.

I'd like to find an epic gravel ride to do on the fall. I have a '92 Specialized Stumpjumper I'd like to build up into a gravel bike.

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Old 02-19-20, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post

I'd like to find an epic gravel ride to do on the fall. I have a '92 Specialized Stumpjumper I'd like to build up into a gravel bike.
I have an old touring bike I was thinking about using on some gravel bike rides. Some friends are doing it and it sounds like it might be fun. There are lots of dirt roads around here.
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Old 02-19-20, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
I have an old touring bike I was thinking about using on some gravel bike rides. Some friends are doing it and it sounds like it might be fun. There are lots of dirt roads around here.
The midwest is a hotbed for gravel rides. There are lots of gravel roads here and some tough gravel rides. Most are races and that's not really my thing at this point. A touring bike can work but a drop bar MTB or one with a trekking bar is a really good choice. You can run a 26 x 1.75 or 2.0 tire and those old MTBs have lots of gearing.
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Old 02-19-20, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by FloridaDave View Post
I used to consider an epic ride anything above 100 miles. I'm a flat lander so climbing has never been part of my riding equation ...
When I think of "epic," I generally think: tough beyond anything I imagined. (Whether in running, cycling, swimming, or most anything else requiring strength, toughness, mental stamina, etc.)

Can't say that I've ever ridden beyond 70mi. But I've done a few rides that laid me out, in terms of how hard they hammered my muscles, how much they taxed my stamina and ability to focus.

One in particular: ~60mi of playing "tag" with a very good cyclist who had thoughts of competing seriously in a handful of years. Fastest I had ever gone, for an extended period. Overall, one of the flatter routes I've taken, though with dozens of short but moderate climbs (at speed). Though, the overall ride was at such a speed that there was zero recovery time along the way. It was one big slog, pushing harder every time I thought it couldn't get any harder.

That was a straightforward lesson in physical prowess and muscle stamina that I've never forgotten. While I could wax the guy in running, at the time, badly most of the time, I was roundly waxed on that route. Didn't walk properly for a couple of days, until all the tightness could be worked out. Dang, but that hurt.

I suppose "epic" is a good word for ^that ride. Occurred decades ago, but now that I'm north of 50yrs of age it's one of those OMG moments, for me, on a bike.

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Old 02-19-20, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
The midwest is a hotbed for gravel rides. There are lots of gravel roads here and some tough gravel rides. Most are races and that's not really my thing at this point. A touring bike can work but a drop bar MTB or one with a trekking bar is a really good choice. You can run a 26 x 1.75 or 2.0 tire and those old MTBs have lots of gearing.
Yes, I've seen a lot of pictures on this forum from all over the country. The rides I'm thinking of have some road so I would a drop bar bike would be an advantage. I wanted to use the touring bike to see if I would keep at it and maybe buy something later.
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Old 02-19-20, 09:29 PM
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When I think of epic rides I think of going out of my comfort zone and riding into scenic scapes I have not ventured before. This usually involves considerable climbing. The first time I rode to Dawson Saddle and Wrightwood was epic. I'm riding up to Crystal Lake tomorrow and will add GMR but this will only be a good workout and not epic unless I come close to some wildlife or something remarkable.
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Old 02-19-20, 09:34 PM
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Most of what others have already described......distance, and/or climbing. Certainly amazing scenery itself can make it epic.

I’d also add “weather” as another variable. When the weather goes in the tank on the ride and you finish in sleet/snow or frozen stuff....people crashing on slick descents.......or being blown into oncoming lanes due to extreme wind gusts those qualify as epic to me. It gets me to thinking about 5-6 of those type rides alone.
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Old 02-19-20, 09:44 PM
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As folks have said above, a ride which sucks more out of you than you ever thought you had, a ride that you'll remember the rest of you life. Out of thousands of rides, there are maybe 5 that I take inspiration from, again and again.
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Old 02-19-20, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by FloridaDave View Post
Just curious to hear from all of you -- what constitutes an epic ride for you? Is it the fellowship of a group ride where you all stop for a beer afterwards? A scenic ride? Is it a ride that has thousands of feet of climbing? Is it sheer distance? Maybe extremes of hot or cold?

I used to consider an epic ride anything above 100 miles. I'm a flat lander so climbing has never been part of my riding equation. As I get older what I'd call epic has changed a bit. I still find long rides to be great, but I also acknowledge that a shorter ride on a winding road along side a river, with a gentle breeze, blue skies, and balmy temps, at less than an all-out pace, can be pretty epic also.

What do you think?
My epic rides have nothing to do with extremes or difficulty, but rather are memorable for the joy and pleasure they elicited.

3 separate day trips of about 144km on Auto Frei Tag along side of the Moselle River from Schweich to Cochem, the last one in 2002 just after I recovered from eye surgery to correct a detached retina.Each journey also entailed 8 hours of travel by local trains to get back and forth from home.


Also epic was the bike trip I took with my wife and 3 children through the tulip and hyacinth fields near Lisse, NL. Picture is with the 5 bikes loaded on my 86 Toyota and my children playing in the piles of discarded (the harvest is for the bulbs) petals on a riding break ; epic!



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Old 02-19-20, 11:00 PM
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Epic rides are, for me, rides I do not want to or cannot repeat. The roughly 120 mile ride south from Santa Cruz, CA deep into farm country only to have a seat clamp bolt brake at the far point. 1979. I was new in town and knew nobody. Tied the seat in place with twine I happened to have and rode home. Seat position was completely wrong and those 50 miles were torture.

Sitting around with buddies drinking beer and talking of doing it again next year. My book? Not epic. Epic is getting home shattered and struggling to get myself showered, fed and in bed.

Edit: a ride that came close to qualifying was the 2012 Cycle Oregon to Crater Lake. Day 3 was the big day. 5000' up to the rim, 3000'+ around. After the first climb on the rim I accidentally went down the north entrance and had to ride the will over 1000' back up. On a fix gear for which I had a 42-23 low (and a 17 tooth cog for the flat and a 12 tooth for downhills). And just enough snacks in my pocket to barely get around the rim to lunch Next day 5600' . The "rest day" had Mt Ashland to climb - 5000'. We left Ashland the next morning going up Dead Indian Memorial Highway, 16 miles of climbing. I was too shattered riding the Crater Lake rim to appreciate one of the most spectacular places on Earth at all. The only thing that kept the Dead Indian hill from being "epic" was that I kept getting passed by a woman who was a climber just like me. Every time it put life back in my legs.

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Old 02-20-20, 03:46 AM
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Yah...weather may or may not be involved. significant climbing may or may not be involved. significant distance may or may not be involved.
racing may or may not be involved. during ride injuries, crashes, mechanicals, random nonsense may or may not be involved.
unmapped/low/incomplete info area(s) may or may not be involved. pushing yourself beyond your comfort limits and into the
"probably not the best idea but let's do it anyway" zone may or may not be involved. an epic ride usually involves at least two of these.
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Old 02-20-20, 06:53 AM
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Anything over 60 miles for me would be an epic ride.
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Old 02-20-20, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Gerry221 View Post
Anything over 60 miles for me would be an epic ride.
I imagine 60 miles in Scotland are epic for most people!
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Old 02-20-20, 09:27 AM
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I think all the things you mentioned in your OP are what contribute to an epic ride. Sometimes just one. Sometime multiple. Sometimes one can make it epic when the ride might otherwise be a complete disaster. Case in point: For the past several years I have gone back home to Indiana in October to ride in the two-day Hilly Hundred with my older brother. Riding with my bro always makes it great in and of itself. In 2019, our younger brother decided to join us. But, the weather on day 1 of the event was just about the absolute worst to ride in...cold, windy, and rain the whole day. Nevertheless, the course was open. The three of us, all hearty longtime cyclists, saddled up and hit the road. In better weather conditions, there would be thousands of fellow cyclists on the road. That day...we saw three other cyclist while we were on the road. But the camaraderie we three brothers shared made it an epic ride for us.


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Old 02-20-20, 09:38 AM
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For me, an epic ride is one in which a lot of things happen. It could be meeting a lot of great people, it could be getting lost, it could be seeing a lot of great scenery, it could be getting a lot of flats or having mechanical issues.

The longer and more difficult the ride, the more likely it will be epic, but even short rides can qualify.
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Old 02-20-20, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I imagine 60 miles in Scotland are epic for most people!
True. 5 miles from my home and I can ride through the most amazing scenery. Wet, windy and hilly though lol
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Old 02-20-20, 12:19 PM
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The epic events in my life are ones that should not be repeated if life and limb are to be at risk. I've survived several such events through sheer dumb luck. So epic should be iliminated from events and replaced with memorable. I've been fortunate to have numerous memorable events that I'd be happy to experience again. Some are about fellowship and others are about awesome weather or when something clicked and I rode faster and smoother than normal. I'm asthmatic so performance is always limited by capacity to breath. On one occasion i rode for some miles at 21 MPH which was startling. Just as startling was the interval between two cross streets where I sped up to 18 MPH for a short section and it felt slow.
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Old 02-20-20, 01:49 PM
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I don't really know what epic is. I guess anything over four hours nowadays could be considered pretty epic for me.
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Old 02-20-20, 04:01 PM
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I'm ashamed to say what would be epic for me anymore but at least I'm still riding.
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