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Fave ride of the year?

Old 12-16-19, 12:05 PM
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ooga-booga
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Fave ride of the year?

its that time again...what was your favorite ride of 2019? epic? quirky? after recovering from injury? while on vacation? whatever the reason(s), feel free to post it here.

had a few nice centuries but my fave rides this year were seemingly (mostly) 30
miles or less. i kept coming back to one all the way back in february...

https://strava.app.link/yl8w7ziit2

a really magical 9 miles. on a little quickie vaca and was crunched for time or i woulda done the loop 3-4x. had been wanting to ride the eastern part of saguaro np for years and finally got to on this morning. there was a storm lingering in the area so the nearby mtns had plenty of the white stuff. the park itself was super green and the lushest desert id ever seen. an intermittent drizzle mixed with peekaboo sun had steam rising off the pavement nearly the entire ride. the course itself has plenty of rollers, curves and a shortish but notable climb. best hour i had on a bike all year. looking forward to hitting it again next visit to tucson.
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Old 12-16-19, 12:14 PM
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Kind of hard to pick a favorite ride, so go with the first one that came to mind. I believe it was in August, I posted a thread "Hundred miles, four bikes. It just kind of happened. Through the course of a bit more than 11 hours, I rode 4 different bikes, doing different things, and finished the day with 100 miles. It was in the mid to high 70s with light wind, really nice for riding.
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Old 12-16-19, 01:17 PM
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Can't decide between two rides. Both stick out in my head for the absolute misery they put me through.

First one:

81 miles, 4300' of climbing. This one sticks out because it's the first (and only) time I hit a climb I had scoped on Strava. It's 1.83 miles long, paved, and averages 12% grade. The hard part is that the climb is a "stair-stepping" climb that alternates between 8% and 16% with the bulk of the steeper stuff near the top. The climb was about 40 miles into my ride and it absolutely ruined the rest of the ride. By the time I crested it, my entire body was DONE. My arms, back, core, and legs were just blown to pieces pushing my 39x28t up that dang thing. Shame that I was so haggard after descending the backside of the climb, as the road on the other side was fantastic. Got the KOM on the climb, but can fully admit that if anyone takes it from me, I'll never try to take it back.




Second:

98 miles, 9617' of climbing. This is an out-and-back on one of the prettiest roads in my area. It starts as a normal windy double-yellow road, then the center lines go away about 6 miles in, then it whittles down to a single-lane paved road with turnouts that follows a creek before climbing over a mountain and down to a highway (the turnaround point).



What made this ride heinous: There are ZERO services on this road, and the turnaround point is just where this little road meets a highway in the mountains. I brought enough food and three bottles with the idea that I'd be refilling bottles at a campground around mile 60. I arrived at the campground (bottles empty) and knocked on the door of the host's RV. He opened the main door but not the screen door, looked down at me and this transpired:

Him (through his screen door): Yeah?
Me: Where is your potable water spigot?
Him: No.
Me: ...
Him: ...
Me: Oh.

I ended up riding the remaining 38 miles with no water...in August. I found out that I couldn't eat my food either because I had no spit to chew and swallow with, and my stomach was in full protest. By the time I got back to my car, I was struggling to put out any kind of wattage and couldn't do simple math in my head. I struggled to eat the post-ride food I had brought, even after downing a liter of water. As an added bonus, I cracked the hub on my front wheel at some point during the ride, so by the time I finished, my wheel was making a fairly concerning noise and the wheel was going more and more out of true.
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Old 12-16-19, 01:26 PM
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Moved to the UK early this year. Majority of my riding was on my commute...which sucks compared to my old one. I rode way less than I have in the last 4 years and less than half of last year (my best year of cycling).

My best ride was a day trip I took to Wales so I could ride Gospel Pass. Beautiful day and nice ride. Still not in my top 10 though.

Im riding the trainer a bit now and will be riding in France and possibly Italy next spring and summer. Ill hopefully have some better rides to recount this time next year.

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Old 12-16-19, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
knocked on the door of the host's RV. He opened the main door but not the screen door, looked down at me and this transpired:

Him (through his screen door): Yeah?
Me: Where is your potable water spigot?
Him: No.
Me: ...
Him: ...
Me: Oh.
Yikes why are people like that!?

For me I did a nice century in April, took a sunny Friday off. Had to hike over some lingering snow drifts till I made it past the "snow line". Started out at 37f but quickly it was 50f. Just going past the small ponds where the frogs were chirping and it finally being spring was just awesome. Ended up bonking but made it the whole way.

Did a 145 mile ride, still my longest. Bought a handle bar bag after the fact for my next 200 mile attempt next season.

Had my first 3am start for a 60 mile ride, that was really magical.
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Old 12-16-19, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
Yikes why are people like that!?
Right?! I was more bummed about that guy's attitude than I was about not having water. My grandparents were campground hosts back in the day and they'd give you the shirt off their backs if they thought you needed it.
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Old 12-16-19, 01:37 PM
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I don't know about favorite, but a pleasant memory is a recent one. My wife and I decided to visit a synagogue we don't normally go to. Actually, she was on the fence, since she wanted extra time to rest. When I headed out on my bike, I didn't know if I would meet her there. She and I arrived at about the same time, as she drove her car. It was about 20 miles each way through the countryside in the Catskills region. It's terribly scenic there and pretty hilly, too. It was cold, but as luck has it, I dressed perfectly. The other folks there thought I did something heroic, but it was really no big deal. I took a different route going back to the house, for fun and variety. Traffic is light in that region, which is so nice for me, as I spend my weeks in ultra-crowded Manhattan.
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Old 12-16-19, 02:26 PM
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Not really one ride, more like a few weeks of rides, but there was a period from early to late June where I did a BikeMS event one weekend for 175 miles, then rented a road bike in Montreal the following weekend and spent 3 days exploring that city by bike, and then went on a "babymoon" with my wife to a river resort here in Virginia where I brought my bike for some rides in an absolutely gorgeous part of the state. Also snuck in a solo day on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Collectively, that was the best part of my "riding year".
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Old 12-16-19, 04:36 PM
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I got the memo late for a group ride and missed the 0730 roll out. Was just going to skip it, but decided to go solo. Ended up riding over 100 km with perfect riding conditions on a route with lots of rollers and fast descents. Sublime.
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Old 12-16-19, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
What made this ride heinous: There are ZERO services on this road, and the turnaround point is just where this little road meets a highway in the mountains. I brought enough food and three bottles with the idea that I'd be refilling bottles at a campground around mile 60. I arrived at the campground (bottles empty) and knocked on the door of the host's RV. He opened the main door but not the screen door, looked down at me and this transpired:

Him (through his screen door): Yeah?
Me: Where is your potable water spigot?
Him: No.
Me: ...
Him: ...
Me: Oh.

I ended up riding the remaining 38 miles with no water...in August. I found out that I couldn't eat my food either because I had no spit to chew and swallow with, and my stomach was in full protest. By the time I got back to my car, I was struggling to put out any kind of wattage and couldn't do simple math in my head. I struggled to eat the post-ride food I had brought, even after downing a liter of water. As an added bonus, I cracked the hub on my front wheel at some point during the ride, so by the time I finished, my wheel was making a fairly concerning noise and the wheel was going more and more out of true.
​​​​​​My favorite ride of the year went kind of similarly. Ran out of water, expected a small town I rode through to have a store or something. No water in August on the "desert" side of the Cascades, and it was miserable. But the scenery was fantastic and it was the last training ride before a big event and before I got injured pretty badly. I didn't actually get denied though, so yours was much worse, in my case the few houses I went by were set half a mile back from the road, and I imagined it being even worse if I kept riding up and finding nobody home, or getting shot at or whatever.
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Old 12-16-19, 05:38 PM
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Had lots of memorable rides this year where a dozen or so could be considered a fave, but if I had to pick one it would be a 127 miler that is my personal best for distance. Was just one of those days when I had energy to burn, and felt really, really good. Ended with darkness and pouring rain, but man ...it was still one of those magical days.
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Old 12-16-19, 07:10 PM
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That would have to be my ride on July 23rd. I took out five of my Lemond bikes for a 6 mile lap for a total of 30 miles. Anyone who knows Lemond will understand what this day was all about and why 30 miles.

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Old 12-16-19, 07:28 PM
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Old 12-16-19, 08:16 PM
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Favorite solo ride- the c&v crowd had a big group ride in SW WI back in September that I went to. I decided to take the next day off work and drove only halfway home so I could ride a 45mi gravel route i mapped out in the Driftless area of NE IA.
It was a blast. I had a mix of gravel roads, level B(minimum maintenance), and level C(no maintenance) roads on the first half of the ride. It was constant climbing since that area is rolling hill after rolling hill, but the farms and views were beautiful.
I passed by the Field of Dreams, and then made my way back to the start via some gravel roads and a limestone rail trail.




Favorite non-solo ride would be a 40mi ride I did on the 4th of July with my oldest daughter who is 12. It was on a rolling paved trail that gives you some decent climb and tracks thru woods as well as prairie. Some riding, some food, lots of fun. No speed records were set, but it was the first time I found out she can climb really well.
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Old 12-16-19, 08:21 PM
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Bikepacked the Katy Trail. 240 miles of cold and rain. Great memories with friends.
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Old 12-17-19, 11:14 AM
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I had many great rides this year. This one was a favorite because it was my Saturday morning go-to ride. I rode it many times and it always delivered in a myriad of ways. It was always changing as the seasons progressed.


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Old 12-17-19, 05:51 PM
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I did two rides within days of each other, one the grand tour of Brooklyn, a 50 miler that never leaves the borough and doesn't do any backtracking or extra miles as filler. The other was San Francisco and Marin county for 45 miles on a typical SF cold day in the fog. The contrast was pretty stunning. It was a great week though. The SF bike was a really nice rental, a Specialized Roubaix, brand new. These were the last two significant rides I did outdoors this year. I also did a ride in Milan and that was fun too. I wanted to ride in Shanghai but it was too damned hot with a heat index of 118. You would be dripping wet if you stepped outside.




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Old 12-17-19, 08:51 PM
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Finally did the Stelvio Pass on the Italian-Swiss border (41.44 miles, 6,950 ft): https://www.strava.com/activities/2556097333

Nowhere close to being the most challenging ride, but definitely the most scenic and exhilarating. Biking into another country and back added to the appeal.




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Old 12-18-19, 01:40 PM
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Two weeks self contained in MT with a couple of days in ID:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29428535

Highlights
included the Route of the Hiawatha Trail and a cute, furry friend.



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Old 12-18-19, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by one4smoke View Post
Had lots of memorable rides this year where a dozen or so could be considered a fave, but if I had to pick one it would be a 127 miler that is my personal best for distance. Was just one of those days when I had energy to burn, and felt really, really good. Ended with darkness and pouring rain, but man ...it was still one of those magical days.
Similar for me, too. Thankfully no rain at the end

My second 200K ever, the first one hurt a lot. This one was fun the entire way through.

This ride we had absolutely perfect weather and a great group of people. I felt super strong during the entire ride, it was only until about 5 miles from the end that I stood up to crest a small roller and my legs protested in anger for the first time.






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Old 12-18-19, 03:11 PM
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For me, it was the Open Range 200k gravel race. A variety of surfaces -- gravel, paved, brick, gypsum, and deep sand. 20 to 30+ mph winds. And it was held in an area our family lived in many years ago -- where our kids were raised. It was a great experience!
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Old 12-18-19, 04:34 PM
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I'm going to have to go with 53 miles for Day 1 of this year's Hilly Hundred in late October.(around Bloomington, IN). Weather conditions were just about the WORST for riding. Temps were in the low 50F, windy, and it rained the entire day...from mist to downpours. But it was the best ride. Why? I got to ride with BOTH of my brothers. We're all in late 50s/early 60s. I've been riding for about 40 years, them only about 20. We all live in different states. It was the first time in all those years that the three of us got to ride together. Normally in the Hilly Hundred there are in the neighborhood of 3000 bikes on the road. But that day...during our 53 miles...we say just three other riders. Conditions were terrible. But it was awesome because I got to spend it with both of my brothers.


A close second was the ride I go to do along the Amalfi Coast in Italy while vacationing there in early October.


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Old 12-18-19, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
That would have to be my ride on July 23rd. I took out five of my Lemond bikes for a 6 mile lap for a total of 30 miles. Anyone who knows Lemond will understand what this day was all about and why 30 miles.

My favorite local segment is a 6 mile mini-version of that classic 1989 time trial route. Nearly straight but undulating. It's a gradual -1% grade in one direction, 1% climb the other, but with lots of hillettes in the 5%-12% range.

With a tailwind on the downhill route it approximates the conditions of that final stage TT. Naturally I couldn't match LeMond's 30+ mph average. My PR is 25+ mph, good enough to crack the top ten on Strava -- mostly because some of the local pro and serious amateur team riders don't post their Strava logs publicly, otherwise they'd dominate every Strava segment and give us old fellers a serious inferiority complex.
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Old 12-18-19, 05:47 PM
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The first half of 2019 was mostly recuperating from illness and injury, so my two favorite rides were meeting one goal and surpassing another.

I usually do a few metric centuries a year, mostly in conjunction with group rides, and my ride to and from the meetup. But I hadn't ridden a full standard century since late 2017. Every time I planned one after that something interfered, or I wimped out. So I decided that rather than planning a century I'd just wait for a day when I felt right and had no other plans, and just keep going. That happened at the end of September. It started with an early morning club ride of around 40 miles. The pace was a little lighter than usual so I had plenty of energy afterward. Grabbed some lunch, got back on the bike and kept going. The final 10-15 miles was kinda uncomfortable -- mostly aching neck from old and new injuries (hit by cars twice, in 2001 and 2018). But I finished 101 miles averaging 15 mph. I was pretty satisfied with that.

The other goal was improving my average speed on a favorite training route of 20-40 miles, depending on which version of the route I took. When I resumed cycling in 2015 after a 30+ hiatus I averaged about 8 mph riding that route on my 35 lb comfort hybrid that was a little small for me. The next year, 14 mph on a lighter hybrid that fit me better. Then 15 mph on my new-to-me 1989 road bike in 2017. Then 16 mph in 2018. But I lost power and speed recuperating during late 2018-early 2019.

My goal was to average 17 mph and I hit and exceeded that in late August, averaging just shy of 18 mph on the 29 mile version. No plans. I was wide awake after midnight, the temperature was cool for August in Texas and there was very little wind, unusual for that route across the prairie. So I headed out just intended to take a relaxing ride and get to sleep. Ended up setting my fastest time without really feeling like I was trying.

After getting past that plateau my average speed has remained around 17 mph on that route, although it usually feels like I'm really trying. Haven't quite repeated that magical feeling of effortless speed that night. Mostly I'm riding a 1993 Trek 5900 carbon fiber bike now, but it's not really significantly faster than my steel bike. It may be a little more aero due to the lower handlebar/stem, but the 5 lb lighter weight isn't much of an advantage here since we don't have any long steep climbs.
@Cypress -- regarding that water thing, back in 2017, I think, I attempted a full century in July. Big mistake. I took three water bottles and a Mylar pouch that holds about 12 ounces, frozen and tucked in my jersey pocket so it'd be thawed by the time I needed it. There were convenience stores roughly every 10-20 miles so that seemed like enough.

But I took a route that bypassed one store where I usually stopped. By around 60 miles I'd gone through every drop of water and had another 2 or 3 miles to the nearest store but it was pretty much all uphill. Midday, temp around 100F. I stopped at a park near a disc golf course to look for a drinking fountain. When I asked if there was a fountain a fellow just handed me a cold bottle of water out of his cooler. And that was gone by the time I finished that 2 or 3 mile ride to the nearest store. I bailed out at around 75 miles as soon as I was near home.

Most folks are pretty decent. I try to remind myself of that whenever a driver nearly clobbers me or hollers. They don't represent the other 99% of folks who at least tolerate cyclists.

Last edited by canklecat; 12-18-19 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 12-18-19, 07:21 PM
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I had many good rides this year. That said, my favourite was the High Pass Challenge. This was my first year/time doing the ride. What I liked about the ride was a) I was challenging myself to get a good time - the ride is timed to the top and b) the scenery was fantastic. While I didn't get an opportunity to check out the scenery on the ride to the summit, I did take my time on the way down. Great ride. Hope to do it again soon.
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