Monday, May 22, 2017

Not a race

Before the start of Cranbury 200, NYC-Princeton Rando organizers told us at least half-dozen times: “This is not a race!” Their recap of Englewood – Port Jervis brevet pretty much sounds like that of a Giro stage! I am fine with either. The point is, if there is a final protocol with times listed, the factor of competition for speed cannot be eliminated, whether you want it or not. Englewood – Port Jervis was the ride I would have really liked to join, but it overlapped with the Mountain Blue. Their post-ride report contains a lengthy complain about the weather. Well, the weather was not perfect, some rain and cold. But… Just imagine an average NJ summer day with +30 deg C temp and 70% humidity and ask yourself whether the weather on 5/20 was truly that bad.

Mountain Blue 400K Eastern PA brevet

GPS data: https://www.strava.com/activities/998936655
Results: http://parando.org/PA400k_Results170520.pdf 
PA Rnndo ride report: http://parandonneurs.blogspot.com/2017/05/ride-summary-blue-mountain-400.html 

My first 400K. Everybody was telling me that 200K and even 300K brevets are somewhat similar to regular long rides, but 400K make a qualitative difference. I did not know what to expect and merely hoped to stay with Gavin and Will, but they were not there.

I tried to enjoy riding with Sean C as long as I could without burning myself out. It lasted way shorter than I hoped L At control #3 I waited for the next group and teamed up with Eoghan. We worked well, but just after we crossed the Lehigh, my carbon seatpost started to crack below the clamp with loud sounds. The seat finally gave up with only 10K to Wind Pap. The town boasts a bike repair shop that was unfortunately closed, but Advanced Auto Parts located a couple of miles up the road was open, and they had what I needed: a hacksaw blade, sandpaper, epoxy, and duct tape. I killed an hour in a pizzeria to let epoxy harden, moved the seat forward to reduce tension and rode back to the course. Wind Gap ascent without a seat, overly cautious attitude and uncomfortable setup after the repair slowed me down. But the seat survived till the finish line and the rest of the ride went smoothly.

Was 400K qualitatively different? In some sense it was actually easier: the ugly impatience I experienced during Water Gap 300K brevet never came during Mountain Blue.