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138 miles pavement, 2.45 miles gravel, 300 yards sidewalk(12 posts)

138 miles pavement, 2.45 miles gravel, 300 yards sidewalkJS Haiku Shop
Aug 18, 2003 5:38 AM
i've been slacking since the illinois brevets (early feb-early april this year)...maybe a century per month, and very light mileage the past 3 months. on the schedule in early september is birmingham's (AL, USA) double century, so i figured it was time to get back to work.

surprising that our group started with 9 riders (including J), as last year and the year before, i had problems getting people to even ride 80-100 miles in the same day. of those 9, two originally planned to ride "only" 80, turning around at 40 miles to retrace. one was on the fence, and decided to turn back at 40 miles when the fourth decided not to continue, just before the first stop. our group minus early attrition consisted of four guys and one gal (plus J).

so, we five chickens rode 40 miles east of memphis, fifteen miles north, then a bunch of miles west-northwest (to the mississippi river), then back south & east to the 'burbs where it all began. i mapped out this route in MS MapPoint, cued it by hand in MS Excel, and included refueling options (convenience stores) every 15-25 miles.

long story short: i pulled or rode out front for about 55 miles (to warm up and wake up the legs), then was convinced by gravity and air resistance to share the work, a little. never a good idea to draft training rides, especially when they're only 70% the distance of your target ride. to make a long story only kinda long, i worked early to set a 17 mph average, trying to impress upon the others this pace (not fast, but steady, and "easy"--holding back on hills, working on downhills and flats, keeping stops short). it worked; they kept it (17 mph) even in loose pacelines in the last 1/2 of the ride.

at mile 108, we descended the bluff toward the river. unbeknownst to me, and undisclosed in the map program, the descent ended abruptly in a "T" at mile 110, where the roads went to loose gravel and hard-packed dirt for 2.45 miles (until the climb back up the bluff). i was pretty sure a couple of those guys were going to completely lose their minds. geesh! they all soldiered through, though, with flying colors.

later, running slim on time, we were held up by a funeral procession blocking a 3-lane road. that's where the 300 yards of sidewalk (old skool!) came in. ah, well.

all in all, 140.82 miles in 8h 19m, total time 9h 10m. avg on bike speed ~17 mph, avg trip speed 15.4 mph. less than 50 minutes off the bike over 4 stops--not bad. the temps reached 98 degrees with little or no clouds, wind was gentle and at our backs for the last 20 miles, and i returned home that afternoon with arms and knees the color of a tomato (forgot sunscreen).

at least one of our group went for more miles after we returned with 140 at the parking lot. he's not going to make the double century, so i think he wanted at least 150.

among the group, the longest ride ever was 115 miles, with everyone else's ranging from 100 to 108, or so. they're all strong, dedicated riders, capable of anything they set as a goal. when we stopped a final time at 118 miles into the route, i asked and discovered that they were all on personal best distances; it's a great feeling to hear that, and one of the big motivators for me in putting together rides like this. i'm excited about the new gang of distance junkies and aspiring ultra-riders in our burgeoning group.

That's it! I'm moving to MemphisPaulCL
Aug 18, 2003 6:09 AM
I've been trying in vain to get a group ride like youres organized in my area. I've advertised, gone by word of mouth, put up a flyer in a LBS etc.. for the last two months without a single taker. Sounds like you have a better cycling community there than here in Northern KY. Maybe advertising an average speed of 27mph over 140 miles scares people off??? Hmmmmm .....yeah right!

Its' a great feeling to top your biggest mileage day. I did it earlier this summer while in Colorado. My previous biggest day was 105 miles - numerous centuries. On the fourth day of our Colorado trip, we had 130 miles scheduled over two mountain passes. I didn't sleep well the night before due to nerves. Turned out that I rode 110 of the 130 miles alone, 20 with a group, and still averaged 16.1mph time on the bike. I was very happy with my result. Ok, the mere fact that I didn't die on the road was enough.

consistency, reputation, reliability, dependability, altruismJS Haiku Shop
Aug 18, 2003 6:53 AM
damn i'm full of myself:

really, though--i think what has made the difference, aside from an ideal set of circumstances this year, is keeping up my end of the bargain. i started these long rides ~2 years ago as an alternative. the only other options on weekends were "social" rides (tea parties), and team training rides (local cat 1/2/3 *closed* sessions).

consistenly offering and leading the rides, providing maps and cues, safe and challenging routes, following announced plans, schedules, and pace, leading and sweeping, and making sure the ride is led when i'm out of town--these things i think have all come together to attract folks interested in testing their boundaries.

riding in a manner that encourages development, a little friendly competition, and mutual support, also seems to help. being one that others can depend on--following through with commitments--is a major factor. leading the rides even when you're the sole participant (which was frequent on less than ideal weather days) sets a standard.

when i realized that it's more important to ride steady, be available, approachable, and take a the helm a little on rides, things started changing for the better. also, half-wheeling folks to AT, dropping people on hills on purpose, and waiting until the last 10% of the ride to "kick" (on a friendly group ride) is counter-productive. not that you do any of these things by any means, but in my experience and by direct observation, these traits are not ones that attract steady, reliable, developing riders. getting somebody capable of riding a strong 65 miles into the later hours of a 100-mile training ride, then crushing them on a hill and riding back to the car as fast as possible--this makes most less than eager to push their limits next time; it's like asking for a clear shot at their achilles tendon, then taking it.

there's more to riding than trying to get off the front. when we lead a ride, we establish future guidelines by example.

just thinking out loud. maybe something will help. i'm sick of complacency and mediocrity; i'm extra-sick of ulterior motives. do, or do not. people will notice. they're not following; they are allowing me to gently point out the path. it's not a matter of leadership; it's a matter of passive and active.

Aug 18, 2003 7:35 AM
So I shouldn't sprint up the hills while yelling "WIMP" over my shoulder?? When its' my turn to pull, is it still OK to suddenly move the average speed up 4 or 5 mph?? At least I can still berate anyone with less than Record components, can I??? I'm still being friendly,right????

Just kidding. My problem is assembling enough local riders willing to ride the miles I want to ride. There are plenty of guys in the area who will do a 25-30 mile ride. I'm going to start with a short ride group on Wednesday mornings.

I've built in one other problem for myself: my time for a long ride is early Sunday mornings. As an avowed heathen, I don't go to church. I've met and invited a few guys I've met on the road, but without exception they've said the same thing: "...oooh, love to, but my wife wants me to go to church..." Funny how its always phrased that way.

Eventually, I will get a group together. I'm going to have a new LBS install a headset in my new Tsunami frame. When I'm in his shop, I'll talk to him about organizing a Sunday group ride.

headsets and group ridesJS Haiku Shop
Aug 18, 2003 7:46 AM
see my other post this AM--the new bike. chuck installed the HS cups & fork crown race for me, but i considered removing them and installing the cane creek HS purcased in the kit from gvh. did much research, and also some reading in the archives on the components board here (kerry irons = guru), purchased pieces of home headset press from home depot. 12" x 3/4" threaded rod, 2 x 3/4" bolts, 2 large washers with 3/4" hole. search components board for "homemade headset press". viola! i spent about $7.50 on the parts.

something that's helped on group rides: offering distance, time, and route options. most people don't want to start at 6 am, but i do. so, i start at 6 am, ride for 1.5 hrs, come back by the parking lot, pick up the 7:30 riders, and go. then, offer an out & back or shorter (60 mile) option, and a longer loop (70-100+ mile) for those who want to ride farther. that way, folks can get as little as ~25 miles (6 am to 7:30 am at a modest pace), 60 miles, 85 miles, or >100 miles, picking their time slot and route, and almost always have others to keep 'em company. another benefit is that people will become familiar with the route(s) and pace, and more apt to ride a bit farther next time--and bring friends.

all this goes out the window when the days get shorter. people automatically shut down in october, regardless of weather. i'm guessing, once again this year, i'll be alone more often than not on saturday morning rides in late december, january, and early february. ugh.
Aug 18, 2003 9:36 AM
"i'm guessing, once again this year, i'll be alone more often than not on saturday morning rides in late december, january, and early february. ugh"

True to a marathoner's approach to periodization, I plan to *increase* my ride miles in late december, january and february.

So unless you *want* to be alone, or I do something to get myself un-invited, you'll have at least one wheel-sucking hanger-on through the winter. :-0 !!
good. it's about time! nmJS Haiku Shop
Aug 18, 2003 9:38 AM
That's funny...SpecialTater
Aug 18, 2003 7:41 AM
for me it was the half-naked girls, free (good) beer and the cash...
sounds like a different kind of 'ride' nmJS Haiku Shop
Aug 18, 2003 7:48 AM
As someone who was recently attracted toSpecialTater
Aug 18, 2003 7:50 AM
the Memphis group-ride scene, I feel I can add some insight. TNSquared posted about it the other day too.

J and associates do a really good job of welcoming new riders AND offering a challenge. There is obviously a market for it here. I've done the social rides and they are very welcoming and nice, but it's not for those wanting to really train or reach goals (other than 50 miles per week at 15 mph). There are other groups who do the training thing but they are generally too "exclusive" (re: buy the jersey and "fit in") for me.

It is interesting seeing someone ride the Thurs ride for the first time at a B level pace and 1) realize they can do it; 2) enjoy the company and 3) realize there is a group that does this in Memphis consistently thanks to J and J2. Oh and they also see the girls (or guys), beer and cash.
That's it! Miss M is moving to Memphis. nmMB1
Aug 18, 2003 6:17 AM
no vacancyJS Haiku Shop
Aug 18, 2003 6:57 AM
wait a minute, i forgot: Miss M's a hottie. i'll send you my address and directions.