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Best laid plans

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Old 08-10-08, 06:15 PM
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cyclinfool
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Best laid plans

I have been training for the last month for a club ride in the adirondaks. This ride was advertised as 6000' of climbing over 80 miles and I was going to add another 6 on by riding to & from the start. The ride was advertised as a 17-18mph ride which is a little faster advertised speed than the ones I usually go on, and finally the leader has a rep for being quite fast. So I expected to be challenged and I began my preperation by making it a point to do steep hills at least once per week - sometimes taking an evening and driving 20 miles to a nice steady 1000' climb and then doing repeats on it until the sun went down. Friday I uped my calorie intake and took the day off, Sat I eat well and did a moderate 20 mile ride. This morning I loaded up my food, water bottles and hydration pack I choose the steel bike over the CF bike - a little slower on the hills but a smoother ride. When I got over to the start only 6 other riders showed up - the weather forecast was iffy. One person told me that usually they get 25 to 30 people for this ride. There was one rider older than I and the rest were younger, lean with visibly strong legs, TI & CF bikes, full kit. We took of for a slight downhill for several miles before the first of the three big climbs, this was a 900' climb from North River to Indian Lake. When we hit the first grade the pack seperated into three groups - I was able to stay with the middle group for 3/4 of the climb then we spread out, the three leaders stayed with each other and the rest of us spread out. By the end of the climb I would have been next to last if it weren't for the fact that two riders took a quick pee break as I passed - when they caught up to me I hung with them into Indian lake where we took a break - mile 16.

After everyone regrouped and rested we took off again into a light rain for Blue Mountain Lake. During this stretch I stayed with the middle of the pack until we were about 4 miles from the rest stop at Blue Mountain lake. Going up a short climb I looked at the HRM and I was pushing 175 and my plan was to not exceed 170 on the climbs and hold 160 on the level. I swung out and let the guy drafting me pass as I said - "I need to let you guys go, I'll meet up with you at the stop". The rain was picking up and it was getting cold. When I got to the rest stop about 15 minutes later we all waited for the last lone rider. This was mile 29.

At Blue Mountain Lake the weather was getting worse, when the last rider came in he said he was done and was heading back. Two other riders then threw in the towel (as we all needed one) and so the pack turned back. It rained steady on the way back to Indian Lake, The visibility was ugly on the descents as my glasses were covered in water - I also had not brought a jacket - but I did have arm warmers. I stayed warm enough if I kept up the effort but the down hills were brutal. On this stretch I could not keep up with the middle pack and pulled into Indian lake about 5 minutes behind - mile 42.

The rain continued but let up a little as we headed out of Indian Lake. I actually felt pretty good as we started our climb up to the top of the ridge before the big descent. I didn't try to stay up with the middle group as we took off but something strange happened - they got maybe 200 yards ahead and the gap didn't grow, I actually started to close a little - I was not trying I just wanted to get back home to a warm cup of coffee. When I got to the top of the ridge and started the fast down hill I felt pretty good even though I was soaked and cold and covered in road grit. About half way down the hill the rain stopped and I started to dry out. Once I hit the bottom and started the slow/gradual climb back to the start I was moving fast doing close to 24MPH and closing the gap on the riders ahead of me. I pulled into the North Creek Ski Bowl just behind the other riders and I had dried out quite a bit. As I looked over my shoulder I say a big thunderstorm coming over the mountain and heard the rumble. I told the guys I needed to take off before I got drenched again. I made it back to my house before the skys really opened up.

It ended up being a metric - 62 miles for me (instead of 85) with the added bit of riding to/from the ride.

I thought I would be dropped like a hot potato on this ride - I got dropped but not badly. I really wanted to do this whole ride - been on my list for the last 3 years, this was not the day. If we had not turned back we would have hit that thunderstorm. I was worried about my right knee as I was having joint pain but I wore my knee brace and except for a bit of pain on the warm up, once the knee was good and warm in the brace, it held together nicely. My left knee which is generally my problem knee only started to hurt on my last climb which was on my way home. I would have usually worn the brace on that knee but the right one needed it more. In two weeks I will vacation there and will try to get this full ride in on a day of good weather, I will do this ride this year, I am ready - I will take pictures. Lastly, I feel quite happy that I mostly kept up with these strong riders and I ended the ride with a 17.8MPH average on this tough terrain.
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Old 08-10-08, 07:16 PM
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Congratulations on a great metric, cyclinfool! You gave a good account of yourself and represented us well. 17.8 mph average with big climbs is super.
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Old 08-10-08, 07:54 PM
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Sounds like a great ride. I wish I could have joined you.
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Old 08-10-08, 08:03 PM
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A very interesting tale. Given how often it rains in the East in the summer, I'm sure a lot of rides don't go as planned. Yours could have been much worse, as it reads as though you got in a good, competitive ride. You probably surprised some of those other guys with your performance.
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Old 08-10-08, 08:15 PM
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I enjoyed reading about your experience. You need to be psyched to set out to do a ride like that.
I did a similar ride about 2 weeks ago. Something called the Harlem Valley Ride.
It went through NY, Connecticut, Mass and back into NY.
75 miles with 5400 ft of climbing.
The weather changed on us during the last 25 miles.
Torrential rain, lightning, thunder and hail.
There was actually no good place to take cover and we just rode through it to a rest stop 5 miles before the finish.
We couldn't see and sometimes couldn't hear with hail pounding our helmets.
Wet brakes didn't help matters either when trying to slow down for a turn.
The only thing that kept me going through it was that "this is gonna make some helluva story .
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Old 08-11-08, 02:25 AM
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A great story. It was interesting that you felt better later in the ride.

I do not want to be off subject, but I would like to know a little about the knee brace. My right knee is causing a considerable amount of pain. I have thought about some type of brace, but was not sure what to use. I would like to know more about the brace you are wearing.
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Old 08-11-08, 03:47 AM
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Sounds like a great ride.
Nice report, glad you hung in and did well.
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Old 08-11-08, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeArkansas View Post
A great story. It was interesting that you felt better later in the ride.

I do not want to be off subject, but I would like to know a little about the knee brace. My right knee is causing a considerable amount of pain. I have thought about some type of brace, but was not sure what to use. I would like to know more about the brace you are wearing.
I have had good luck with the neoprene sock from ACE with a hole cut for the patella, I bought it at the drug store about 15 years ago. I bought a second one two years ago - could not find the same one but found one with two velcro straps - it works but not as well, I have one for both knees just in case but I typically use just the one. The key for me is a adding a little support to the tissues and keeping the knee warm promoting blood flow.
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Old 08-11-08, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil View Post
A very interesting tale. Given how often it rains in the East in the summer, I'm sure a lot of rides don't go as planned. Yours could have been much worse, as it reads as though you got in a good, competitive ride. You probably surprised some of those other guys with your performance.
Thanks Tom - I rarely ride in the rain, I typically check the radar and pick a good time. On this trip I just looked out the window (there were blue skys at the start) and relied on the forcast from the night before. As far as surprising the other riders - the closet I could judge that was that one of the guys suggested I ride next weekend as a couple of them were doing the Ididaride. They may have been a fast group but they were all mature enough to be good people.
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Old 08-11-08, 07:16 AM
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That was excellent coverage of your ride and it sounded like a pretty rough one. I guess the knee pain must go with the territory. I have a right knee that gives me problems as well. Anyhow I was looking forward to your report as I knew it was coming up and congratulations on your metric. I probably would have been somewhat of a cake walk, if it weren't for the rain.
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Old 08-11-08, 07:34 AM
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Good job. You were really moving. I was lucky to average 17.5mph riding home from work last night on 9 flat miles with a tailwind. (Sometimes the weather is your friend.)
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Old 08-11-08, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
Good job. You were really moving. I was lucky to average 17.5mph riding home from work last night on 9 flat miles with a tailwind. (Sometimes the weather is your friend.)
Exactly. That's a pretty good speed for us old gits.
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Old 08-11-08, 09:07 AM
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Great report and ride. It sounded like a Tour de Force.
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