Monday, August 18, 2014

Does this qualify as a Hill Slug ride?

So Saturday (8/16/2014) I decided to ride to Ringoes. Normally I lead a flat B to B+ ride (15 - 16 to 17 - 18 mph) this one ended up as 14.7 mph avg over 82.6 miles. As a flat lander I try to avoid 'real hills' like the Sourland Mountains but lets face it. It's a great riding area. Besides I don't want to exhaust my rides into South Jersey by doing the same routes over and over again.

So we left Cranbury, for Ringoes, by heading East, North, then West (Ride leader logic, must get in my miles and have rest stops every so often). We started the real hills when we cross the Griggstown Causeway (mile 31). We headed to Dutchtown Zion, boy was I out of shape and my lungs hurt at the top! I decided not to try to bomb down Lindbergh but instead cut over to Rileyville Rd. Rileyville Rd has a better surface and a better line of sight and I love to bomb down hills :-). We then stopped at the Carousel Deli in Ringoes where we met several other rides from all over. :-) We spoke with one group out of Bridgewater and talked them into looking into the Longest Day. We left the deli and proceeded to Boss Rd where we were greeted by an immediate hill and headwind and this was good as this meant we mostly had a tail wind from Hopewell to Cranbury. On Queen Rd we encountered recent chip seal (July?) and I hopped that Mt. Airy wasn't done recently also and we lucked out. The climb up Mt Airy was prefect chip seal (no loose gravel!). We turned left at the High School and rode the quiet back roads. Again we reached Rileyville Rd but this time we took it down to Hopewell (bombs away). The ride from Hopewell to Rockyhill was nice (tail wind). A stop in Kingston at the Deli/Bakery (boy were they packed) and off to a then a quick sprint down Plainsboro Rd into Cranbury.

A few weeks ago I was poking around Laura Lynch's web site: Hill Slug Chronicles. She posted a link to Ride With GPS to one of the rides we did. I took a look at the site, tried out the free part of the site and download their app. I planned out the route and it laid out the cue sheet (you need a paid account to print the cue sheet), turn by turn. Gives the elevation, grade, avg speed, the steepest grade, calories burned (I posted my weight to the site's stats) and fastest speed. Cool, too much information for a info junkie! Actually I thought the information about the grade was interesting. I used it to judge my efforts climbing (yup, flat lander). I really need to work on my climbing. ;-) I'll play with it a bit more and I'll be signing up for a subscription. Here's the link to Saturday's Cranbury-Ringoes ride.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

More On the road again

More nice weather in NJ for my 5/17 ride. It started out a bit cool and I left my sweater in the car. I planned out a nice 103 mile ride from Cranbury to Lacey to Tabernacle and back. I was surprised at how warm I felt in the cooler temperatures (high 50's) I usually need a sweater for that. The week before we'd experienced hot weather and I didn't fare well until the thunderstorm cooled us down. I still get a bit winded by the small climbs (this is the flat lands, these are small and could barely be called hills). I need to work a bit more on my stamina and recovery. Our first stop was at mile 38.7. I tend to not stop early but I do have more stops later, if needed. We stopped at the Lacey WaWa, a very busy place but it has pretty much everything we need (restrooms, junk food, sandwiches, etc). We then proceeded to Pasadena Rd. I recall Pasadena being rather rough (crocodile cracking). But it wasn't too bad or I hadn't been on it in such a long time I didn't care ;-). The sand mine was rather busy as there were about 8 dump trucks going in the other direction. This is also probably why the railroad crossings on Rt 539 and Pasadena/Savoy Rd were replaced with new crossings. The intersection at Savoy Rd and Rt 72 was very busy but manageable. When we hit Chatsworth our old friend the westerly wind was there to greet us. It normal for the wind to be out of the west at this time of the year which makes Tabernacle-Chatsworth Rd (Rt 532) a very good road to train for the Longest Day ride. The ride from Chatsworth to Tabernacle was pleasant. That might be why it didn't feel as long, especially early in the season. So when we reached Nixon's and we found that we had a pace of 17.1 mph I was ecstatic. We owe that to Rich who was feeling good and helped us keep the pace up (I wasn't sucking wheel this time though ;-) ). Lunch was quicker (we knew what to do at the lunch counter).

The ride home was pretty good though my legs had been pushed pretty hard. Surprisingly I was able to climb short hills and overpasses better than I had been able to in the past 5 years. Normally after mile 75 I'd hit the hill an I was forced to shift to a 39x25 as I had no strength. Don't get me wrong I was tired and sore still but I was climbing these hills much faster than 1.5 mph (sometimes I'd even hit 4.5 mph ! ;-) ). We skipped stopping at Allentown so we road the last 40 miles straight back. While I was sore and tired (no so more than normal) I was feeling pretty good. We avg'd 16.9 mph which was a 1mph avg jump over the previous week. I'm very please with my progress so far. Especially when I'm carrying more weight than I every have in my life and that I've had a messed up riding schedule for the last 3 years. Next week (5/24) it's a double metric riding from Cranbury to Griggstown, down part of the Longest Day route to Chatsworth, then over to Tabernacle and Back to Cranbury. I think I'll start that ride 1 hour early (7AM).

We rides again!

It's been a tough few years and I'm hoping that this one will be a bit quieter. With that in mind I've been building up my mileage. Last week I did the CJBC Farmlands century ride. I was pretty sick at the start of the ride but fared better as the day went. Of course I was sucking wheel all day, I don't normally make a habit of doing that. We averaged only 15.4 mph (mea culpa) but I did finish with a bit of something left. Yea, first century in 2 years!

Jump ahead to this week, I led a ride yesterday (Saturday, 5/10) for a century from Cranbury, NJ to Tabernacle, NJ. We started out slow as pollen was causing asthma problems (not to mention I have some serious weight to lose). We made okay time on the first half. Temp's jumped into the 80's by the time we hit Pemberton (Pine Barrens). And it was a bit windy (normal for NJ and this time of year, steady 8 - 12 mph winds out of the SW). The stretch from Chatsworth to Tabernacle wasn't too bad despite the wind and that I hadn't been down here in 2 years (mentally challenging). We stopped off in Nixon's for lunch (at about mile 60), dead tired. Not unusual for early training rides. So we ate, got back on the bikes and started back. We now had a tail wind and that helped a bit (might have helped a lot more than a bit). We managed to get just east of Columbus when we ran into a downpour. We reached the general store in Chester and hid under the porch for a while. When it appeared to be letting up we took off again only to go about 500 ft and be driven under a bank's drive through by a surge of rain and wind. We had roughly 20 miles to go and the worse seemed to be over (though it didn't stop raining), so we headed out. With the cooler temperatures we seemed to be feeling better and we started booking it. We hit several more pockets of heavy rain but just kept going. We finished with an average of 15.9 mph, not bad for 2 rest stops (and a few hide from the rain stops).