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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

2020 Century-A-Month Club

Old 05-05-20, 07:51 AM
  #26  
Brett A
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The temp was about as warm as it gets this time of year; low 50's which is nice because you don't need more than two light layers. I didn't stop in any towns. I just fueled with the cliff bars and nuts I brought from home. I carry a Steri-Pen and refill my two, one-liter Smart Water bottles from natural sources.

The overall speed average was low because about 30% of it was on soft terrain. Not to mention the 5k feet of climbing which is unavoidable if you want to do a loop ride of this distance in New England.

So, I headed south from Orange, Massachusetts, past the Leverett Co-op, down to Montague. Up through Miller's Falls, Northfield, MA, into Richmaond, NH. Then on the old railroad bed up to Keene. Climbed over Chesterfield into Brattleboro, VT then back to Northfield, over the mountain (at least when we call mountains around here) into Warwick then home via Wendell Depot.





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The Ashuelot covered bridge which crosses the Ashuelot river, Richmond, NH. (It's pronounced Ash-wee-let, BTW)

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Brattleboro, VT was pretty quiet on a Wednesday afternoon. This was also the first sign of leaves in the trees I've seen this year.



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This tree has hundreds of Corona beer caps nailed to it. It's on an old cart road somewhere in the woods along the VT/MA boarder, around Bernardston.

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Old 05-23-20, 02:56 PM
  #27  
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My first attempt at a century for May came up short by 6 miles. I was about 15 miles from home and just ran out of steam. I had no desire to ride another couple of loops in the neighborhood to get to 100 miles. I just wanted to be done. I had noticed that my knees were aching for about the last 20 miles which seemed odd. It wasn't until a couple of days later when I got back on that particular bike that I realized my seat post had slid down a couple of inches. No wonder my knees were hurting and everything felt hard.

Yesterday was great weather and I used my last day of paid time off for the academic year to get out and try for 100 miles. Much better experience! It was in the 60s with light winds. It was overcast the first 30 miles and then it got sunny. Then overcast again and then sunny. Just delightful to be outside!

100.5 miles done. No pictures. It was just a tour of suburbia. I did notice that a lot of people were having their roofs replaced. Also plenty of driveways either being seal coated or completely replaced too. And many people were outside doing yard work.
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Old 05-23-20, 07:03 PM
  #28  
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My knees are really sensitive to my saddle being low. Not sure I understand that at all.
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Old 05-24-20, 03:25 PM
  #29  
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The forecast has been showing chances of rain every day until June -- not that I mind a little rain, but it can still be off putting.

Woke up this morning, no clouds in the early dawn light. Checked the hourly forecast, saw the rain was holding off 8-9 hours until the afternoon. Today was the day. I didn't leave with a real plan, just the goal of getting in the big Imperial Century.

I rode straight-away to the curvy and scenic River Road (a favorite of mine, it seems). Rode that out and back. Following the river downstream and out of the hills made it hard to turn back towards any 'real' elevation, so I pushed east into the prairies to rack up some flat (but windy) miles. I was close to home around 95 miles, so did a small popular circuit in town to finish the ride (the circuit is anything but a chore -- it features some amazing shade all around, and many of the estates have farm-animals that suspiciously eye the passing cyclists).

I'm doing really bad at taking pictures -- so here's a screenshot instead (wish I could figure out how to resize images -- either on BikeForums, or before I upload... oh well, maybe after dinner).

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Old 06-14-20, 02:50 PM
  #30  
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A few friends of mine invited me to join them on a 125 mile (200K) bike ride yesterday. I haven't seen any of them last year so I decided to go. Social distancing wasn't a problem since I'm slower than they are. They were kind enough to wait for me at various intersections to catch up, especially in the numerous sections on the second half where we were riding into strong headwinds in flat farm country.

The weather was perfect (other than the wind). Temps were in the upper 50s at the start and got to the upper 60s in the afternoon. Sunny the whole day. The one rider really did a nice job putting together this route. He used the Strava heat maps to pick some of the better roads in the area. I had no complaints at all about the route. We had opportunities to secure fuel and bathrooms about every 20-25 miles.

The countryside was so green and there were plenty of farm animals to be seen: horses, sheep, goats, cattle, etc.

I'm the one in the orange vest with the pasty white legs. I think this is the third ride this year where I didn't need tights.

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Old 06-15-20, 04:01 PM
  #31  
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June is an opportunity to escape Texas, and head back home to visit with family. The drive felt longer than usual -- with most places still closed (and avoiding those that were open and busy), 'rest stops' amounted to take-out meals in the driver seat. Once back home though, the cooler weather and warm welcomes eased any lingering stiffness from the drive.

After a few days helping around the house, I finally had some open time to get out on the bike. I left promptly by 8 ... the temperatures were brisk for this now-acclimated Texas resident. The brisk chill was mildly uncomfortable, but no worse, and I was confident the day would only warm up. The ride took me around some of the "hills" that Iowa has to offer; although they aren't steep at all, the elevation did slowly add up at first. By the halfway point though, I wanted to explore some new developments (new rail trails) that had appeared while I was gone. I followed the trails up and through the cities, until I broke through the other side. Before long, the city's paving efforts gave over to county-maintained crushed gravel (which still offered a nice ride for the 35c tires on my 'road' bike).

I was so excited to keep moving, reliving old roads and finding new ones, that I could hardly find the patience to wield the camera (I was too focused on the maps and memorizing new turns). I pinky-promise to get a few good views to share for July. Photos or not -- checking in here has still been excellent motivation to keep going (especially with the current lack of organized events to help stick to a training plan).


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Old 06-16-20, 04:14 PM
  #32  
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I'm really late to post my May centuries, but better late than never.






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Old 07-12-20, 08:35 PM
  #33  
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It's good to be up north in July: while home in Texas is seeing temperatures over 100, while staying with family in Iowa, the forecast was a comfortable high of just 83, with a cool wind from the north. It was an easy choice to head out for the century of the month. With my close family's homes being about 60 miles apart, I saw an opportunity to try a point-to-point route, with a bit of exploring along the way.

The goal was southeast, nearly to the Mississippi River; I started the morning heading east. The roads were quiet enough that I stayed mostly on paved county routes. (Gravel roads in Iowa make a nice escape from traffic, when necessary.) The weather was cool enough that my 50 ounces of water was easy enough to conserve, even with some of Iowa's steeper hills. The view from the top was breathtaking, for a prairie -- the road twisted lazily away into the horizon, a perfect candidate for an "Empty Road Ahead" photo.



After taking some new-to-me turns (of which I could only recall thanks to my GPS), I accidentally ended up adjacent to US Highway 30. Luckily, an alternative was readily available -- a minimum maintenance "B" road, but thankfully in reasonably good shape. The detour was welcomed, as I still needed to round up a few extra miles to make a full century.



Less than 10 miles of gravel and I was somewhat glad to be back on the pavement. I was getting closer to home, and the options for the rest of the route were becoming more familiar. A few turns -- north into the wind for a bit -- provided a chance to chase down some Personal Records from previous years. Surprised, I actually broke a few of those records too (at about mile 90, no less). I rolled home about 3:00 -- nearly a 7-hour day; fast, but probably thanks, in part, to having a general tailwind for the day. Overall, aside from a hefty dose of ultraviolet, it was an excellent day, especially considering August's century will likely have to be under the Texas sun.

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Old 07-13-20, 11:18 PM
  #34  
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On the first Sunday in May I rode 169 km for my Century of the Month, which brought me up to 93 consecutive months. In order to socially distance from the local population of the rural districts I visited, I brought my own sandwiches and refilled my bidons with tap water at public toilets. It was by far the hottest day of the year until that date and I did not do well with the heat. Instead of climbing to the highest road in Tokyo (Kazahari Toge at 1100+ m above sea level) I visited the Shiraiwa Falls in Hinode. Ride your bike, stay healthy, stay safe!

On Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/3384849446





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Old 07-13-20, 11:28 PM
  #35  
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After two more centuries in May, I rode 174 km on June 6 for month #94 of CaM. The day started out cool, was hot later and turned rainy for the last couple of hours.

https://www.strava.com/activities/3572312293


June is the rainy season in Tokyo where we get many overcast or drizzly days.



I first headed to the northeast side of Tokyo (I live in the West-central portion) to the left bank of the Arakawa river in adjacent Saitama prefecture. From there I headed west and northwest to ride parts of Tokyo and Saitama I had never visited before, to clear VeloViewer map tiles. I visited many residential neighbourhoods, aging shopping streets and farmland that I would not normally visit.



The original plan was to continue to the foothills of Saitama, but my slow zig-zagging course to clear as many tiles as possible meant that by the time I reached the turn-around time I wasn't there yet.

The sky got dark and darker. It turned into a drizzle, then some downpours intense enough for me to shelter under the roof of a building for a while. Thankfully I had brought two light windbreakers, which didn't keep me dry but at least I wasn't shivering. It rained continuously for the last 40 km.

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Old 07-21-20, 07:27 AM
  #36  
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I rode a second century in June, a group ride with friends, plus some VeloViewer tiling, all in the mountains.



For my July CaM, I visited a mining ghost town in Chichibu (190 km with 2200 m of elevation gain, on Strava). I used to go there once or twice a year, especially for the autumn leaves in November, but then one of the tunnels leading to the ghost town was closed for being too dangerous and needing repair. Recently a friend posted a ride on Strava that indicating that the route was open again.



I drove about 100 km to Chichibu with my son and a friend of his. After some coffee near the local train station I left him with the car and met up with my ride mate, who had cycled there.

The area is very rural and with Covid-19 there weren't too many hikers or other tourists around. We did see a lot of motorcycles though, including one accident site with ambulance in attendance.



After a short break at a local hydroelectric dam we headed on to the ghost town. We encountered almost no people. We visited a scenic wild canyon.

Because it was a Sunday there was no truck traffic near the limestone quarry below the ghost town. I think the company is trying its best to discourage ruin tourism. Many of the remaining buildings have been made less accessible. The window holes have been covered with plastic sheets or other materials. The bridge at the south side of the main village near the doctor's office has barriers not just across but also on the side. Since much of the open space in the village is now being used for limestone storage, foot paths to some of the buildings have been buried.

Above the ghost town the road is open for a couple of km to provide access to hikers, but then there is a barrier about a km before you get to the tunnel. The tunnel is long and cool, which is nice in the summer heat. There is steady airflow from one side to the other, as the cold air constantly leaks out of the lower lying end.



It was much sunnier on the other side of the tunnel. We took some pictures and then carefully descended to the Rt299 junction. We couldn't go fast because of sharp-edged debris everywhere, even on our wide tires (42 and 32 mm, respectively). This part of the road is never particularly clean, but it may have been the worst state so far that I've seen it. I was glad when we reached the barrier at the Rt299 intersection. There part of the back road had been washed away and an almost toppled power pole was leaning across the road.

This is were we split up for separate rides home. This was just as well, as I then noticed some GPS issues that made me stop. My unit kept losing satellite lock, with only intermittent updates to the distance count. Eventually I shut it down and rebooted it, as well as starting a separate recording on one of my phones using the RWGPS app. At home I had to manually merge the recording of the first part of the ride with the recording from the phone to get a good track to upload to Strava using RWGPS and the GOTOES utilities for Strava. I wasn't sure of my total distance count until I did the merge.

I changed my return route to Chichibu to pick up some VeloViewer tiles and came across beautiful ajisai (hydrangea) in the process.



Another tile was up for grabs only a couple of hundred meters away from the main road on the road that leads up to the cement factories below the Mt Buko quarry. The final tile was awaiting the other side of Yamabushi toge, near the Arima dam. In total those four tiles only added about 200 m of climbing. By the time I got to Arima it was already dark.

I cycled back to Ome and had dinner at Sherpa. When it started to rain on the way back to Tokyo, I put on both of my light windbreakers. Fortunately it was pretty warm so that even with the rain I didn't feel chilly. I texted my wife as I got closer, as it was getting close to midnight. I only got to bed at 01:00, which makes for a long day when you got up at 05:30 that morning!

95 consecutive months of Century a Month - one more to go to complete 8 years, only five more for 100!

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Old 07-23-20, 06:44 AM
  #37  
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So wish I had found this eariler on! Great photos!
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Old 08-04-20, 07:51 PM
  #38  
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(Haijimadaishi, a Buddhist temple in Akishima.)

Another month, another Century to ride.

In 2012, I had already done rides of more than 160.9 km (100 miles) in March, April, May, June and July. Then came the typhoon season and a trip with the whole family to Taiwan (which I loved), but somehow no Century ride that August. I did one again in September and continued month after month. The ride that I did on Sunday completed the 96th consecutive month or 8 years of Century a Month.

The forecast for Saturday was sunnier, so I waited until Sunday for the ride, contacting my friend Peter only the evening. We met up at a 7-11 convenience store across the street from Musashiitsukaichi, 45 km from my home. The parking lot was busier than I remember ever seeing it.


Not exactly what you expect when new Covid-19 case numbers in Tokyo and nationally are breaking records on a daily basis. But to be fair, cycling and most outdoor events are still some of the safest activities around that you can do when not being by yourself. The riskiest part probably is stopping for lunch, when you sit around a table and the masks have to come off to eat.

We decided to head up some previously unexplored mountain roads around Hinohara village. There were two VeloViewer tiles that I wanted to collect if possible. This was one of them.



It was one of those concrete roads with grooves cut for traction and for drainage to help keep them ice-free in the winter. Once you got off the bike, it was hard to get started again. I seriously felt the heat and got off to push for a while.



I was glad I had hydraulic brakes when we descended again.

Next stop: Tengu Falls. There was no road that would take us into the other map tile, it was too far in the mountains. But just south of one tile border were two waterfalls, Little Tengu Fall and Tengu Fall, with a mountain road leading up towards them. So we decided to head up there and then maybe with a bit of hiking, I could only just grab that tile.



It was a steep climb and at the top the road widened just enough so buses could make a U-turn. Strictly no parking for cars. A hiking path towards the falls soon crossed the river, but the crossing was pretty dodgy with the current water level, hard not to slip or get one's shoes soaked. I did not let that deter me and took off my MTB shoes and socks, while Peter decided to wait. So I hiked up the gravelly steep mountain trail barefoot, meeting two or three groups of hikers. A part of the hike had what were like stone steps, but most of it really wasn't much fun without shoes.



First I encountered the little Tengu fall, which was nice:



Then the trail got steeper and I finally saw the taller main fall. But behind it arose a near vertical rock wall, that I would somehow have to pass to enter the nearby tile. In my shoe-less state and my ride mate waiting below, I decided that it would be the sensible thing to save this tile for another day The descent was more painful than the climb, but I made it back without any cuts. I washed my feet and put the socks and shoes back on.

After lunch at a local cafe, we descended back down to Hinohara and Akiruno, then headed up Rt184 to another valley. There we visited a local bike shop that sells Colnago, DeRosa and other bikes.

Then came the long climb to Ume-no-ki pass. We had been told that you can only go to the top because the road on the north side was closed and not in good condition. Well, it was closed, but compared to several local forest roads it was in reasonable condition, with the exception of one landslide that is being repaired, but passable on a Sunday with no workers around.



From there we rejoined the main road between Okutama and Ome. At restaurant Sherpa I decided to have an early dinner, while Peter headed on to make the most of the daylight.



I got home after another 4 hours. The total came to 163 km (after correcting for some GPS noise around Ume-no-ki pass) with 1250 m of elevation gain.

Four more months and I'll be in the triple digits...
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Old 08-12-20, 07:54 AM
  #39  
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Home again in Texas, where the daytime temperatures are predictably breaking 100F, and where Covid-19 is just as 'hot'. Wanting to be as safe as possible, I planned to complete August's century in two loops from home.

The first part of the ride started at 6 a.m., an hour before sunrise; it was still in the upper 70's Fahrenheit and humid to match. Even after sunrise, lazy, low, and lingering clouds kept the at bay until well after 8 in the morning: 50km done. I stayed true to the plan, avoiding any stops along the way and rationing my water getting to 100km. I returned home around 10am, just as the day was getting unbearably hot.

I spent the late morning and early afternoon tidying up some computer work, and started an early dinner around 5pm. After that, I was back out the door and on to the bike. The sun still lingered high, but the shadows were growing longer. A few of the local hill repeats were almost entirely shaded by the time I started. The goal was to rack up about 3,000 feet of climbing in about 30 miles (preparing, hopefully, for something like Austin's Das Hugel ride). I managed to meet my goals, and finished the 100-mile day just before sunset.

September will likely follow a similar plan of breaking up the ride and avoiding the heat. Looking forward, I hope that by October, I will be able to slow down a bit, hit a few more desirable routes, and take a few more pictures.

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Old 08-15-20, 03:55 PM
  #40  
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It has been a hot summer here in the Chicago area. We are well above average in the number of days with highs in the 90's. I failed to make the 100 mile mark in July with my longest ride being ~94 miles on the Tunnel Hill trail in southern Illinois. It got well into the 90s that day. I could have ridden 3 miles beyond my car on the trail and then turned around but by the time I saw my car, I was done.

I did get 100.3 miles in last weekend. I was up in the Kewaunee area of Wisconsin finishing up the last 2 segments of the Ice Age Trail in that area. I've now hiked all trail and road segments from Devil's Lake on the west through the eastern terminus in Potawotomi State Park.

This was the heavy bike's first century as that is the bike I use for my bike shuttles for my point to point hikes. I got drenched on my hike of the Sturgeon Bay segment on Saturday and just dodged the worst of a pop up storm during Sunday's century.

The blue dot is me. The red area is where I rode through a hour before when there was no indication of a storm.

Waiting out the downpour on Saturday's hike. The heavy bike got soaked. Not its first rainstorm. It didn't melt, nor did I.

The green line is the portion of the Ice Age Trail completed to date, ~484 miles out of ~1,200 miles.
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Old 09-06-20, 06:07 AM
  #41  
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Took advantage of a 3 day weekend to get my 100 mile ride in for September. It was a beautiful day to ride! I started out by riding my first 100K perm for 2020 (#3740) which starts at a gas station less than 1/2 mile from my house. After I finished that out-and-back, I did my favorite meander up through Wheaton where I pass by a gluten-free bakery. Of course I stopped and bought some treats. Apparently I've been there enough over the past few months that the owner remembers me! 101.3 miles for the day.


Going through downtown Batavia on a Saturday morning on a holiday weekend was no fun at all. tons of stop and go traffic.

Oh, maybe I can just ride through this!?!

Or maybe not. They are rebuilding this road so it was all loose gravel. Never mind, I'll follow the detour.
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Old 09-10-20, 08:38 AM
  #42  
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201 km. 33 C. 48 Veloviewer tiles. It was a looong day (on Strava).

I left late, it was almost 08:00 already and I got back after midnight. I drank about 5 liters.

Besides the Century distance, I wanted to clear some Veloviewer tiles by riding in areas I had never visited. There was a cluster of 2x2 tiles in the mountains more than 50 km from my home that I wanted to clear. There were also two isolated tiles in the Kanto plain whose surrounding I had already cleared. Finally, if I could clear some rows of tiles near the north-east corner of my "max square" I might be able to bump it up from 24x24 to 25x25. I achieved all of these goals and came back with many pictures:

Little shrine with Sarusuberi in bloom:



Windows of a Japanese storehouse in Ogose:



Bus shelter, decorated by the kids from a nearby school in Ogose:



A Dragonfly, considered a harbinger of autumn in Japan:



Proof that there are people who wash their car(s) less than I do:



In case you're wondering, that's a Mitsuoka Le-Seyde (1990-1993), a clone of the Excalibur car (1964-??) which in turn is a tribute to the 1928-1932 Mercedes Benz SSK... Under the retro skin it's a Nissan Silvia.

Rice fields waiting to be harvested:



Love hotel in the countryside:



That brings my CaM streak to 97 months. Three more months to go without accidents or serious illnesses until I reach the three digits...
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Old 09-13-20, 07:14 AM
  #43  
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September has brought some cool weather to central Texas -- morning lows in the '70's with highs hovering around 85F this week. I left comfortably after sunrise, around 8:00 am, destined for the best of the Hill Country.



I rode steady through the morning, out past Wimberley where the hilliest back country roads lay. There, I hopped onto Mount Sharp Road, a popular segment for Austin-area cyclists -- for a few moments, I wasn't alone, and distanced waves offered a refreshing bit of sociability in these isolating times. As the road reached its peak, I turned west. Three strong riders soon passed me, then vanished over the next hilltop; I stuck to my much slower, but steady pace.

Out of the "mountains" of the hill country, I reconnected with more familiar routes, including the highway between Canyon City and Sattler, and the New Braunfels favorite: River Road along the Guadalupe River. The same river road seems to be a common feature of my centuries this year -- at noon time, the well-rooted trees offer nearly full shade along a ten-mile stretch, and the road's traffic is usually restrained to just about 20mph. I didn't see many cyclists though; most had probably already finished their rides in the morning hours.

I stopped at the convenience store just outside of Gruene; the salt accumulating on my kit suggested some type of Gatorade to accompany a fresh water fill. The rest of the way home would be flat and relatively easy compared to the morning's hills.

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Old 10-03-20, 03:47 PM
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October

I've been feeling better on the bike lately (maybe because the temps are finally under 90) -- in late September, I organized a 200k that took a small group of us on some familiar loops. A flat route (25 feet/mile) and sharing the pulls led to a pretty quick ride.

This week, I was starting to feel a bit over-exerted, so I spent a few days deliberately soft pedaling. I set out Friday morning at 8:30am, with the interesting caveat of a teleconference scheduled at 2 pm. Initially, my goal was simply to knock out 100 kilometers before phoning in; I settled on the common trip out towards Wimberley. The routes are a bit hilly, but riding along the water's edge is unbeatable. The river loop is a near-perfect 5 miles; I went ahead and circled it 4 times.



I started the 15 or so miles back towards San Marcos around 11:30, giving myself plenty of time to find a nice stop for lunch. Back in town and with over an hour to spare, I added another 15 or so miles circling around parts of the local club route. By mile 65, lunch became second to better hydration. I stopped at a convenience store for a Gatorade, where I also ended up with gummy "dinosaurs" and a Pop-Tart -- I always say I'll find something better for lunch, but the simple stuff always seems more appealing to me.

After 'lunch', I pedaled lazily around town, up and in to the local park. I took my office call in the shade of the trees, snacking on gummies and sipping Gatorade; a few deer crept through the trees, occasionally casting their gaze in my direction. Wrapping up, I checked the cyclometer -- 75 miles, and I was set to ride 25 more.

I was near enough to a few local hill climbs that I had often skipped; the climbs follow limited out and back routes, and I much prefer loops. On the positive side, roads to nowhere have very little traffic. The out and back climb added a nice bit of elevation to the day, but didn't quite make 100 miles for the day. Not trying to be too easy on myself, I rounded out the miles on some of the locals' favorite hill climbs, mostly over 100 feet/mile. In the end, I was glad to clock somewhere around 6,000 feet for the 100 mile day -- good preparation for November's Das Hugel ride.

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Old 10-04-20, 06:58 AM
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It had been almost 16 months since my last randonnée, but yesterday I rode a 200 km one, the shortest category (on Strava). Covid-19 wreaked havoc on randonneuring events this year. Starting from April most events either got cancelled or postponed until further notice. AJ Nishi-Tokyo's first event this year in March collided with my travel schedule so I didn't sign up, but then the travel schedule collided with Covid, as I chose not to leave the country for fear of not being able to return...

The only event I was already signed up for was a 24 hour Flèche ride from Aichi prefecture to Yokohama (360+ km), but that also got postponed. It is now set to take place in two weeks. To prepare for it, most of our Flèche team signed up for the 200 km ride and ride it Flèche-style, i.e. not as individual cyclists choosing their own pace and breaks, but as a team that stays together under a ride captain (like the original Audax style of Randonneuring). This would allow us to check out our fitness (or lack thereof) and give us experience with riding and stopping as a team (pace, how many toilet stops, etc).

Fitness was one thing I was worried about. I mean, just about anybody is less fit than they were last year, before the "stay safe, stay home", don't leave your prefecture "not a lockdown" here in Japan. Usually I am one of the latest finishers in each event. The minimum pace of a randonnée up to 600 km is 15 km/h at each control including all breaks for food, sleep, etc that you chose to take. The limit for a 200 km is 13 1/2 hours while my typical weekend ride is more like 170 km in 14-15 hours -- a significantly slower pace (and a lot more time for pictures, sightseeing, etc).

The weather forecast was near perfect, with temperatures mostly in the low 20's C and overcast. From leaving the hotel near the start at 06:15 to getting back home at 23:15 I never had to get changed, though I had brought a windbreaker just in case.



The maximum number of participants had been reduced to 40, everybody had to wear a mask at the start and goal and we were asked to bring our own ball point pen to sign the brevet card, so that no writing instruments were shared.



One of our team couldn't make it, so we set off with only four of us amongst the other starters. Our first break was after about 50 km, at the Michi no Eki Doshi road station. Like in last year's Flèche I found the initial pace challenging, but after the short break at Doshi the ride leader took it easier and I was more comfortable. When riding to the Yamanakako lake, it's always a relief to make it to the tunnel at Yamabushi toge, the pass between Doshi and Yamanakako at over 1100 m which was to be the highest elevation of the ride.



From there we descended to the lake and then swung around it counterclockwise. Two more cyclists had joined us by the toge and they asked if they could join our lunch plan. After a brief stop at a convenience store near the north side of the lake to collect a receipt as a proof of passage (it was an untimed control), we headed to the restaurant. All six of us ordered the same dish to minimize waiting.



I had never eaten at a restaurant on earlier versions of this event because I can't afford the time loss. I recall at one time I arrived at PC1 (the first timed control) with only 5 minutes spare. Well this time, after a long and fast descent on the Gotemba side of Kagosaka pass we got to the family-run grocery shop that served as PC with only two minutes spare!

From there it was a steep climb up the back of the Ashigara mountains, home to the Kintaro folklore story. Lots of steep climbing, but I didn't feel I was the weakest of the team. The descent at the opposite side was very steep. I was glad the have hydraulic disc brakes on my Elephant Bikes NFE. There was another untimed control where AJ Nishi-Tokyo staff served us barbecued meat and sausages. Then a descent down to Matsuda, more climbing near Tomei expressway and a descent down to the coastal road. We were now rushing to make the cut-off for PC2. We made it with 9 minutes spare, almost 10 hours into the ride. The sun set as we headed up towards Miyagase-ko, another lake. The six of us were climbing in total darkness. Finally the pass, then the lake. We dashed for the third PC.



After a short break we headed on to Sagamihara and Machida, where the goal was. When I collected my final receipt at the 7-11, it was six minutes under 13 hours and 30 minutes, the overall time limit. We enjoyed the food we had bought to get the receipt, then headed to the official goal reception next to the Cherubim bike shop.

It felt great that we had finished within the time limit. We had worked well as a team, including the two randonneurs who had joined us in mid-ride. It was a hard effort, but also a good preparation for the Flèche. The challenge there will be a bit different, less hilly but more hours so we'll all get very sleepy.

On this ride I again tested my two GPS units against my phone. Again, both units lost satellite lock for unknown reasons. I had to shut down and restart the recording. The RWGPS app on the phones had issues that it would not record in the background, drawing only straight lines between places where it was manually awakened, counting only 171 km of the 201 km course length. That's even though I shut down all other apps. I think I will get myself a Wahoo Elemnt Bolt before the Flèche.

This was Century ride (160.9 km / 100 miles) #20 this year, which makes October my 98th consecutive month with at least one Century distance. Veloviewer says I have done 201 such rides so far. Two more months to go until the month count goes into the triple digits!

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Old 10-04-20, 07:45 AM
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It's been a while since my last post... but since missing my June century due to sciatic nerve issues I've been back on track.


JULY:



AUGUST:



SEPTEMBER:
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Old 11-08-20, 08:23 PM
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November Century complete, 99 consecutive months of CaM!



Yesterday I returned to Chichibu for the autumn leaves ride (193.7 km on Strava / 120.3 mi). There were six of us. We visited Mitsumine shrine, climbing from the east (Chichibu) side and descending on the west (lake) side. This ancient Shinto shrine lies near a pass some 1200 m above sea level. Unlike typical Japanese shrines, which tend to be relatively plain it's very colourful. It is supposed to date back to around 150 CE.





It seems not many foreigners have ever heard of it or visit it, but it can get very crowded during the autumn foliage season when it attracts many hikers and other visitors (one reason why we chose the eastern approach instead of the main road from the west used by cars and tour buses). There are two restaurants near the Shrine entrance and I had been wondering if they would be busy, but they weren't. Despite the many cars queing outside the car park, there weren't all that many people around the shrine grounds. I think one explanation for that was that there were hardly any tour buses, probably due to Covid-19.

On the climb along the Ochigawa and above we saw many Japanese maple trees, most of them a fiery red:





You could see far over the Chichibu mountain basin below.



After a stroll around the shrine we had lunch, then returned to our bikes and prepared for the descent. I think this was the first time I could descend from the shrine all the way down to the dam without once being stuck behind a car or bus. The road on the west is very smooth and can be enjoyed at speed.

With the exception of a few brief traffic light stops we returned to Chichibu pretty much non-stop, 35 km in 1:15, arriving 20 minutes before sunset.

After seeing off my ride mates at the station, I had some coffee and a snack at a convenience store, then started the 82 km ride home. I added another layer as it was now dark and colder. Like two weeks earlier, the descent from Yamabushi pass to Naguri felt like the coldest part of the ride. I stopped for dinner at Sherpa in Ome.

I got very sleepy for the last hour of the ride, as I had only slept about 4 hours the night before. That was more of a problem on this ride than the 2718 m / 8917 ft of elevation gain (700 m from Kitasakado to Chichibu, 1300 m on the Mitsumine loop and another 700 m over Yamabushi pass and Ome).

I will probably do a West Izu ride in December for my 100th month.

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Old 11-09-20, 08:01 AM
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Got my October and November centiries in...







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Old 11-12-20, 08:19 PM
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November's century has been in the works for awhile. Das Hugel is a ~110 mile tour of west Austin "Hill Country"; the route emphasizes the steepest hills in the area, with typical gradients between 10 and 20%. The overall elevation gain is around 11,000 feet. Having finished the ride last year, I hoped I could best my time by a bit.

Covid 19 changed the mood of the ride significantly; the event has always been 'underground', but now it was 'asynchronous' too. It was lonely, but I appreciated it after all; I focused on my pace and keeping my cadence high, and seeing through with my goal.



The Courtyard climb includes three challenging ramps -- even 4-6% grades are a relief. I stopped frequently to check the map and rearrange my cue sheet (taped gently to the top tube, and tucked tightly under the top-tube cables); paper has served me well for the number of turns the route takes. The finish was uneventful: waiting in Zilker Park, under the Mopac expressway, waiting for my ride home. Glad I followed through with it -- for the century-a-month, and for the Hugel -- hopefully the event recovers its following in a year or two.

I finished about a half an hour sooner than last year, but only with a 0.2mph faster moving average. Still, a personal victory.


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Old 11-23-20, 07:58 AM
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My First Double-Century

Yesterday I completed my first double-century. What a fun day of cycling!!!























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