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Thread: Look who my wife spotted in Harrisonburg Va this weekend.

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    Default Look who my wife spotted in Harrisonburg Va this weekend.




    I was going through her images of the crowd before and after the Jeremiah Bishop Gran Fondo and I stumbled upon a local legend.

    I'm pretty sure we were at the fourth rest stop at the same time but after that crap there is no appropriate way to exchange pleasantries.

    I think there was a time when I was behind Tim Kelley going into the first dirt climb, where I proceeded to break my chain and bend my carrier within the first half mile of uphill work.

    That was an awesome event though. I have many regrets about my training and equipment, but I'm glad I made that my first mountain Fondo, although I think the gravel might keep me from doing that one again.

    How did the other members here who did the Fondo fair?

    Here's me and my aluminum sled on her last century.

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    It was a tough ride alright. Tim, Mark and culimerc had to drag me home after they waited for me at the top of Reddish Knob. I knew with the elevation it would be challenging but the off-road sections pushed it a bit beyond my abilities (I don't ride off-road much these days and I'm not the best technical rider/bike handler in the first place). I did have close to the right equipment (carbon fork, 34-28 low gear, sturdy 25s), but with the exposed rocks, gravel, etc on the dirt climbs/descents I just couldn't keep any momentum. Checked out mentally around 68-70 miles I'd say.

    Dirt and skreaminquadz had amazing rides! I briefly caught up to Dirt at the first rest stop and I rode with skreaminquadz most of the way up the first dirt climb, and until the base of the Reddish climb. The first dirt climb was really tough but it was also a lot of fun - I counted 4 riders in front of me who fell over trying to mash up/over gravelly parts. I stopped twice to avoid hitting them, and so I could pick a different line. The paved part of the descent after that climb was really steep and a bit narrow I thought. I was riding the brakes the whole way.

    I talked to a guy at the hotel I was staying at the next morning, and he'd asked Jeremiah about all the rocks, etc. after the event - apparently when that second dirt climb was first scouted out it was in much better condition, but heavy rain in August washed it out.

    That said, I enjoyed the day immensely and couldn't fight the urge to go home via the C&O yesterday. Riding that on a road bike seems much easier now! My favourite part was probably the first major climb. Nice long steady paved climb with sunshine and beautiful views. Actually the scenery throughout the ride was great.
    Last edited by vvill; 09-18-2012 at 08:52 AM.

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    That kit is just adorable. The white compression tights really make the outfit. Thanks for the photos.

    That was a lot of fun! I finished better than I expected to. My back had been bothering me most of the week and it finally loosened up a little bit before the climb up Reddish. I ditched the whole group I was riding with on purpose (don't tell them I said that. I pretended to them like it was an accident) and rode the whole day solo.


    Just kidding about the ditching part. Someone had a mechanical, I thought the group was ahead of me, so I hammered to catch up... turns out I was leaving them behind. Says a thing or two about my ride leading skillzeses.

    The bike and wheels were right. I could have used one bigger cog for the first dirt road climb. My low gear was 39x25 and that wasn't quite low enough for me to keep the pedals turning over at a pace that I like. I made it up the climb well, but my feet were moving pretty slowly.


    Mark and Tim shopping for used cars


    Top of the second climb.

    Great day on the bike. Can't wait for next year's ride.

    Dirt
    Last edited by Dirt; 09-18-2012 at 08:39 AM. Reason: I wanna rock and roll all night, And party every day.

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    Ooooh, this may be my big ride for 2013. I've got 12 months to prepare, so I better start now!

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    Steve--you should have introduced yourself!

    Here's my audio/visual take on the ride: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXX5dh7R6o8

    While my moving time ended up being pretty good, my total elapsed time had a poor showing. A mechanical at mile 3 dropped me off the back of the pack and I just couldn't make contact with the big group again after that. I ended up riding with some wonderful people, but we took a little extra time at most rest stops and on some of the climbs.

    I don't think that I've ever done a Category 1 climb before, and this one just happened to be on dirt and rocks. I wish I had better prepared by having a something larger on my cassette than a 25 and surprisingly it was my back that ended up being the most sore. More deadlifts in prep for next year and it'll be a much different story!

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    I'm glad to see everyone here made it out of WV in one piece. I'm sure Dirt got some funny looks while riding over the those private roads in some of that really rural countryside.

    It really was just some beautiful scenery and the opposite of that for road conditions.

    Top of the first KOM

    Top of the dirt road...right past the cattle catcher

    Bout 10 miles from the end, middle of Mennonite country.

    The reason I signed up.

    I had done some training with a 32-12 rear with an SLX but I did not really care for the way it shifted so I replaced it back to the OE 25-11...a move I later regretted. I would have taken a slow weak shifting 32 over a decent feeling 25. There was a point on the first KOM climb I was cranking it out and felt a bang from the rear I checked it out at the peak and didn't see anything and heard nothing else from it until the first dirt climb when I realized what I had actually done was begin breaking my chain, which did eventually let go. Carrying and extra power link and chain tool totally saved me out there. After fixing that it rode fairly well for the remainder of the day. There were many people out there without even a compact saddle bag...that is just brave. There were some points out there were I was totally alone...there is something I like about riding alone but there is always a backup plan to get help...out there that may not be the case. The drop off the side of the road was several hundred feet and there were no houses within sight. If you go over the edge or something bad happens you are as SOL as you could possibly ever be.

    There was another point there I learned that it was indeed possible to stay upright at rpms as low as 30....28 though and it is all over. I recall at least two occasions when I said to myself...My wife was right...maybe I shouldn't have done this....maybe the medio was the way to go...I can't do this. I was reassure when I hit the time cut site and they said we were still an hour ahead of the cutoff time.

    I know I will own the fact that I wore out my cleats walking parts of that ride. I had to give the hammies a rest for a moment. I wore them out despite having covers in my back pockets...I was having trouble standing on one leg.

    Kudos to everyone who volunteered there, I left my First Endurance baggies, a $20, and my drivers license either at the second or third rest stop...they were returned well before I arrived, and my wife was a little worried to get a bag full of things that I had kept on me and she had not heard from me in hours. There were some of those

    Now my next question...where do the rest of you all find areas around here to train for such long grinding climbs...training on the rollers in our area is nothing for a 3 or 4 mile climb.

    I do not know that I will do that again (but I will most likely have to try again) but I'm planning on Mountains of Misery double next year.

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    It was a great ride indeed. Like Tim, my back was surprisingly sore compared to the rest of my body.

    Steve - were you walking down the dirt climb after breaking your chain? If so, I think Will and I saw you as we were climbing and you were walking down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveTheTech View Post

    Now my next question...where do the rest of you all find areas around here to train for such long grinding climbs...training on the rollers in our area is nothing for a 3 or 4 mile climb.
    Since there isn't any long climbing in Arlington, doing intense repeats on some of the steeper hills would probably be best if you can't make it out to Shenandoah to train.

    Here are Dirt's Top 3 Five Favorite Hills:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/pedrogr...th/5099618268/

    Try sprinting up 41st street a few times--and make sure to get Kill Bill on your ride schedule too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveTheTech View Post
    Now my next question...where do the rest of you all find areas around here to train for such long grinding climbs...training on the rollers in our area is nothing for a 3 or 4 mile climb.
    I'm not a master climber or anything, but Anacostia (well, EOTR, but most people just refer to that whole area as "Anacostia") has some pretty long climbs that you can make into some pretty fun loops. On weekend mornings, the traffic is light, the drivers tend to be much more tolerant of cyclists, and there are a surprising number of bike lanes and wide roads.

    One good climb is Ridge Road SE, which is about 1.5 miles long and maybe 3% grade average. The middle of the climb is flat, but it's bookended by .5 mile climbs of about 7-10%. Not crazy or anything, but it's one of the longest uninterrupted climbs I can think of in the area, as there's maybe one stop sign on the entire stretch. It is also super wide, with very little traffic (just watch out for the seams in the concrete!)

    Good Hope Road is another good one...it's about 1.2 miles long with about a 4% grade average, but it's deceiving because the beginning is very easy, but the last .5 miles it kicks up to almost 7%.

    Again, nothing that'll kill your legs, but I find it's a great area to ride to get some longer, more moderate climbs that are harder to find in VA.

    Here's a fun route I just did recently...looping through the hills, then over into Md to cross the Wilson Bridge...

    http://connect.garmin.com/course/1791291

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    I'm curious to know how many people attempted and completed the full loop. ~230 registered, ~180 finishers. Some registrants didn't start obviously (e.g. Joe D), and some switched to the medio route.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveTheTech View Post
    There were many people out there without even a compact saddle bag...that is just brave.
    Brave, or just foolish. I had my usual stuff for punctures, a 2nd spare tube (although I lost it somewhere), a printed map of the course, and multitool though I didn't bring an extra chain link.

    I only slapped on a front 25 a couple days before the event - I was toying with the idea of using my standard 23 (which I've never flatted on) - very glad I did that, although the raised profile of the particular tire (Panaracer RibMo) made me feel a bit less confident on the descents. I'd also put on a new 11-28 cassette and new chain a couple months earlier in preparation, and a new Gatorskin on the back a few weeks ago. I could've probably used a lock-out front shock though too

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveTheTech View Post
    training on the rollers in our area is nothing for a 3 or 4 mile climb.
    Agreed. And the dirt climbing is really different to anything I'm used to. On paved surfaces, if you get tired, you can mash a bit more or drop down to a lower gear and still go up, just slower. On dirt/gravel, you are constantly trying to make sure you have enough traction, and also avoid holes, sharp rocks, etc so there is no respite at all - you have to watch where you going much more closely, and you get much less momentum. If you stop it's harder to get on your bike and clip in again. I'm definitely more used to riding as a "rouleur" than a climber. My wrists and especially left elbow (never quite been the same since my crash last year) were as sore as my legs after the event. My legs actually weren't all that bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveTheTech View Post
    I recall at least two occasions when I said to myself...My wife was right...maybe I shouldn't have done this....maybe the medio was the way to go...I can't do this. I was reassure when I hit the time cut site and they said we were still an hour ahead of the cutoff time.
    We hit the time cut offs with plenty of time to go but I knew I reached my physical limit around 68 miles - there were a few times later on the Reddish climb where my vision was getting "grainy" and a few times when I was riding solo later on when I was letting my eyelids close for a couple seconds at a time. I think I experienced my first true "suffering" experience on a bike on the last miles of that climb up Reddish. Looking down at your mileage progress is always a mistake when you're going 5mph! 68.1... 68.1... 68.1... 68.2...

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveTheTech View Post
    I do not know that I will do that again (but I will most likely have to try again) but I'm planning on Mountains of Misery double next year.
    Immediately after the ride I thought to myself I'll never try that one again, but now I think I could be persuaded, especially if there's the same great group of people to ride with. The scenery was indeed beautiful. But I'd like to be able to ride up something like Reddish or at least this segment a few times to train if I was going to ride it again. And I'd spend less time at the rest stops - I spent 1hr 20mins stopped during this ride - including 20 mins at the first rest stop alone.

    I've thought about that Mountains of Misery double too (I think I mentioned it to Megabeth who replied something like how fun sounding a name for a ride it was - of course this was only a few hours after the Fondo.) I think after the Alpine Loop, Mountains of Misery would actually be easier even though it's longer and more feet in climbing - assuming it's paved.

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