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Birmingham double century ride report (it's a book)(19 posts)

Birmingham double century ride report (it's a book)JS Haiku Shop
Sep 8, 2003 6:38 AM
originally there were 11 for the DC, plus one for the 134. by the week of the ride, reality whittled the committed down to 4 for the DC and 3 for the 134--a 64% attrition rate before the drive to birmingham even began. the final players in this grand act were:

M (100 miles): descender
R (130): climber
TNSquared (130): phenom
JK (200): U25 wonderman
E (200): roleur with ease
A (200): belgian superwoman
J (200): low IQ

none of these folks (save author) has ridden a DC before. R, E, A, have 140 as their longest. M, JK 115. TNSquared, 103 (and 7 months on the bike as of 9/6).

naturally it wouldn't have been a proper DC weekend if we hadn't driven for 5 hours, gone out eating and drinking, then stayed up late drinking more beer, and started the DC day dark & early with only 3 hours sleep.

3:35 arrive DC staging area for 4 AM start. miss start (loop 1) with equipment SNAFU. DC pack (~20 riders) comes back around approx 6 AM with 39 miles (20.8 mph avg), after we've done our own 15-20 slow dark miles (15 mph avg). we hook up with DC pack for next loop as cool, breezy & overcast sky lightens. first few miles "neutral", then it stretches into a long thin line into the wind.

arrive back at staging area 18 minutes before century/130/other begin (7:40 AM, J has 50 miles). refill, grab my secret weapon (18oz coke), and we're off for a squirrely 15. skip SAG 1 to drop department store bikes and weekend road warriors. things settle down.

the rest is a blur, thankfully. pain-induced amnesia from the heat of last year's 180 miles on this route somehow erased the memory of central alabama's topography, and i once again believed the organizer's claim to the "flattest double century in the country". the e-mail response from the bham guys (upon my topo inquiry) was as follows:

"There are no long nor steep climbs this year. There's a small hill (doesn't even rate!) to get up out of Montevallo. Then there's a row of hills on Hwy. 86 for about 5 miles, but the lay of the land makes them look worse than they are. As you actually pedal up them they seem to 'deflate' from what they originally looked like. I think a 21 will do fine. After those hills, the ride flattens out completely, except for a couple of little humps in the road."

LOL. flat, meaning no mountain ascents. "couple little humps in road" = repeated, sustained large rollers with 40+ mph descents starting at mile 165 (max speed 44 mph). this, after a day enjoying a 10-15 mph head/cross wind and ever-undulating hills.

it was a thoroughly enjoyed DC and i took much away from this experience.


TNSquared rode all day strong and finished as such. he rode either a few meters off the front, or beside the paceline (in the wind), for most of the riding i observed.

JK's positive attitude was limitless. he improved his longest ride by 58%. when we arrived at the "finish" with 174 miles (J=180), he was *dead set* on riding another 25 (and did).

E was the embodiment of calm and tireless determination.

A was my hero. she was the only girl on an all-boy ride. she pulled up the hills and didn't ever hint of fatigue or discomfort. at 175 miles she looked the same as in the midst of a 30-mile training ride. she frequently looked over her shoulder at the line and smiled. when asked why she was so cheery in the "dark late afternoon of my soul" part of the ride (thanks Dale Brigham), her response: "I just realized I'm on my bike!"


intropsection: i felt fresh and centered the entire ride, and knew from the start that i could stay with the DC pack in a different circumstance. it was important to keep our memphis group intact, and i saved matches in the early parts that were happily burned later to keep the group together. the hills in this ride's last fifth kicked my tail. speaking of tail, my brooks broke in just days before the ride (big sigh of relief). i didn't find any answers on this one, but
the rest (told you it was a book)JS Haiku Shop
Sep 8, 2003 6:39 AM
I didn't find any answers on this one, but i saw a couple of other folks who did, and that's even better.

my #s: 200.05 miles, 13h 46m on the bike, 17 mph average (the others had higher averages by a few tenths). for my part, this went precisely according to plan, aside from the missed first loop. in retrospect, there were just the right number of hills to make the ride enjoyable.

thanks for reading.


postscript: "12x23" left a note on my windsheild in the ride parking lot:

"Hey Haiku Man,

How does 4:05:11 sound (century)? Regards to Eddy. Oh, and I really like that chick on the dash.


he's a monster. he dances on the pedals in a most immodest way. :)
correction: 11h 46m on bike. cateye rolls elapsed time at 10h nmJS Haiku Shop
Sep 8, 2003 7:52 AM
the rest (told you it was a book)12x23
Sep 8, 2003 9:52 AM
Unfortunately the 4:05 was off a bit. I was watching ride time and one of my riding partners total time. After I tore myself away from the babe on the dash he brought me down to earth with a 4:21 total time. We stopped twice, just long enough to refill the bottles, so maybe 4-5 minutes there. That would make us somewhere around 4:17 on the bike. I stopped my computer sometime during the ride or was trying to score some points with the hula girl.
DC mountJS Haiku Shop
Sep 8, 2003 6:42 AM
built up only a few weeks before, this was a suitable ride for the journey. ahhh, brooks.
EL300s worked fineJS Haiku Shop
Sep 8, 2003 6:44 AM
I used these lights for the brevets in Illinois and enjoyed them much, but realized two were needed to illuminate enough tarmac for any appreciable speed. using the same AA batteries as the last several dark rides and brevets.
J, are the lights mounted to the bar?stratoshark
Sep 8, 2003 10:03 AM
or to one of the extensions that allow lights and computers to be mounted off the bar? Those look good, if I try some 200 and 300k brevets I'll remember your setup.
on the handlebar, upside down; plenty of room! (nm)JS Haiku Shop
Sep 8, 2003 10:13 AM
Sep 8, 2003 10:32 AM
btw...JS Haiku Shop
Sep 8, 2003 10:39 AM
as cheap as $20 buy it now on ebay. it's where mine were purchased.
thanks, Baneser!JS Haiku Shop
Sep 8, 2003 6:47 AM
RBR community member Davis ("Baneser") read my post about the 11/12-21 cassette and mailed me one that was resting in his garage. i took Davis along with me on this ride, in spirit, and am eternally grateful for the extra "enjoyment" this gearing provided in birmingham.
a fun ride shirt (last pic)JS Haiku Shop
Sep 8, 2003 6:52 AM
(this is a 2XL, i'm a big boy.)

didn't carry a camera on the ride, but my 100-mile companion did, so maybe we can get a few pics online later this week.

nice ride shirt.
TNSquared, interested in your perspective (nm)JS Haiku Shop
Sep 8, 2003 6:53 AM
Easiest 130 miles I've ever done. :)TNSquared
Sep 8, 2003 7:38 AM
Truly, I had a blast. Two of the Evil 3 H's, Heat and Humidity, did not rear their ugly heads at this one so dealing with their partner Hills was alot easier. Having such a great group to ride with also made this a great experience. Assuming no more after-effects surface than what I already know about, I plan to do our local century this Saturday.

Our group was very lucky to have two riders that made it possible for the rest of us to succeed. J was the usual pace-setting rock and helped everyone else make it through unscathed, and "A" also proved herself capable of leading lesser riders through the rough spots, albeit without any of the vocal motivation/leadership like J. Riding behind either of these two is like being pulled by a tractor beam. Between J and A, they took 98% of the pulls into the wind and up hills.

As for that business about me being off the front or to the side, what J isn't saying is that he only observed about 10% of my ride because most of the time he was pulling while I was safely tucked away in the back of the paceline. If I was off the front, it was only because I've found I must take hills "on my own terms" as J puts it, which simply means I jump out of the paceline and try to make it up before I lose momentum.

All in all it was a well organized, friendly event that I will definitely do again next year - except that I will be starting at 4 a.m. with the other true lunatics!
Congrats y'allSpecialTater
Sep 8, 2003 7:40 AM
Sounds like a great ride. Hope to make it next year.

Good to hear you are riding the Fall Colors Saturday. Look forward to drafting off of you.
you can both draft off my big orange roving SAG vehicle nmJS Haiku Shop
Sep 8, 2003 7:45 AM
Great Job.............Len J
Sep 8, 2003 7:49 AM
sounds like you both had & gave much motivation.

I would be suspisious of anyone who said any ride in Birmingham was flat.

Maybe one of these years I'll stop traveling long enough to train for & do a double.


Great job all.

name time & place and i'm there nmJS Haiku Shop
Sep 8, 2003 9:05 AM
so foreign to meishmael
Sep 8, 2003 2:37 PM
three hours is a good, solid ride for me. four is an epic. Five, I got lost and ran out of food.

I look for the short bursts of pain that come from a snappy ride that's another kind of pain. Or maybe it isn't pain at all.