Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Rough Rappahannock Ride


First Rest Stop
In the end it was a rough day. It was a small group that attended this event perhaps kept away by cool, wet weather. The temperature was in the high 50s and there was rain on the first part of the route.
Few houses look like this, actually, this is the only house that looks likes this

Of the three routes on the Rappahannock Rough Ride, the 60-mile ride being the longest, riders were loosely lined up at the start with the long riders at the front. When we rolled out there was a group of four, me, then perhaps 10-12 more riders.

The group of four were about 200 meters in front of me for the first half mile or so and I decided to bridge up to them. That worked well. A group of five. In the first 4-5 miles I pulled a lot then moved over to sit back. We stayed together although the shark's teeth profile was challenging -- just a series of ups and downs, nothing too long, just short steep climbs.

After averaging almost 19 mph for the first 15 miles I lost contact with my group on one of the hills and was caught by eight other riders. They went by me too.

Another view from the First Rest Stop 

Then in the next mile I caught and passed them and joined up with my original group. Strange how this happened. I didn't turn myself inside out to get back up to the front. Just riding at my pace, so I thought, I rejoined them. The body reacts so strangely sometimes.

We stopped at rest stop one (of two) and got soaked from the steady rain.

I headed out on my own and thought I rode 20 miles without seeing another rider, front or rear. I knew I was on course because of the road markings, the occasional volunteer I'd see at an intersection, and my GPS had been uploaded with the course from last year.
Near Hume I stopped to take a picture of a house I'd like to own and was passed by four riders who had probably been gaining on me the entire time.

After the Marriott Ranch rest stop, it seemed a number of us rolled out together although on the first hill my chain came off the inner ring and turning around to pedal it back into place was enough to make me lose contact. I soloed home after that.

Marriott Rank Rest Stop

I was tired and sore and just not feeling the same as I did last year. I checked my Garmin stats and confirmed, I was slower than last year. A lot. Riding time last year was 3:20 while this year it was 3:40 despite riding the first third of the course at almost 20 mph. Maybe I went out too fast.

The Inn at Little Washington

This was the fifth timed course that I rode this year that I could compare to last year. Beginning with SkyMass in the spring, then the Air Force Crystal Ride, Mount Washington Auto Road Hillclimb, then the Civil War Century, I have been slower on each and every event.

I can understand being slower on one or two but not all five. This is very discouraging. Father Time knows where I live and has found me.


1 comment:

  1. You never mention us whom you tuck in behind and suck our energy. I saw you soft pedaling. I moved to my outer ring and watched you sweat on your inner ring. I had been soloing at the front of the pack, and waited for you to catch up. But at the finish I was going so fast that my timing chip blew off 15 meters short and then my cleats clogged with mud. I went down just as you dragged your butt by me. I got no credit, no respect, and you got all the glory once again. I am never using the Post Office again.