Saturday, May 7, 2011

Frederick 300K - Wow I did it!

I completed the Frederick 300K Brevet sponsored by DC Rand this Saturday.  That's 187.5 Miles in one day.  Prior to this my longest single day on the bike was 200K.  As the day started I was nervous and excited about breaking new ground and going so much further in one day than I'd ever been before.

I needn't have worried.  Riding the R-12 last year I completed that 200K distance once each month for a year. That provided more than ample experience.  I've also had some great coaching from the other randonneurs in the SPP (Thank you all.) I knew how to keep my pace in check when tempted to keep up with cool kids who ride really fast (just let 'em go), I knew how to eat and drink to keep myself correctly fueled (continuously in small portions), and I new how to dress for the expected weather conditions (wool base layers rule).  These may seem like trivial details but they really are skills one learns along the way.  It also helped that the weather was perfect.

All of that added up to a fantastic day, and one of my major goals for the year completed.

The course was relatively mild interrupted by 3 big climbs.  Click the GPS map below to see the climbing profile and other details.  The two biggest both came in the first 60 miles.  That was another nice feature of the course, the hard work was all front loaded.   In between the big climbs the ride was a tour of farm country, orchards and small towns in the valleys of Pennsylvania.

The biggest climb, Big Flat (no idea where the name comes from), features 1400 feet of climbing over 16 miles, it starts with some foothills and quickly builds to a long steep slog.   It was long and big and it just kept going up, and up.  But there was a reward.  From the summit of Big Flat I barely had to pedal a stroke for the next nine miles to the control in Shippensburg.  That was really something.  The GPS track also shows my max speed was 40 mph.  I had to ride the brakes because I couldn't always see around the next bend.  But I'm sure if I'd let it go I would have seen 50+ mph.  That's just not for me.  I'll keep pushing my limits on longer rides, but I'm not sure I want to chase any land speed records.

The farm country in between these hills was scenic, and the traffic was light.  This is the land of covered bridges, orchards and horse drawn buggies. Also some very nice rolling creeks.   I saw them all along the way. 






From Frederick 300K





From Frederick 300K






From Frederick 300K






From Frederick 300K




Bill Smith took this shot of me shortly after the covered bridge. I look pretty good don't I?






c William Smith Frederick 300K






From Frederick 300K



And cows, lots of cows.  All good rides feature at least one animal story, usually a loose dog chasing the rider(s).  We encountered a loose cow.  She was outside the pen and just staring at me as I rode by and realized no barrier separated us.  I tried to point her out to Nick and Justin who were a few yards back, but she started trotting out in to the road before they noticed what I was saying.  They wound up with a much closer look at her than I got.  She wasn't charging or threatening them and just kept going in front of them.  We stopped and told the family in the farm house about the stray, but the lady of the house didn't seem concerned so we continued on our way.  I hope they corralled her before she tangled with a car on the road.

On big rides the pack always starts to stretch out according to pace. This happened naturally as we approached Thurmont at mile 15 and the first real climbs.  I soon found myself hopscotching with the same few riders. I finished the last third of the ride with Justin and Nick Bull.  Both are veterans of PBP and very experienced riders.  The three of us found a comfortable pace and spent the miles getting to know one another a bit.  Nick is the president of DCRand and invests considerable time and energy helping to make these events work.  I appreciated the company and the chance to meet new folks on the road.  Justin was riding a recumbant bike, and this also provided some interesting conversation as he shared it's quirks and features. I want to thank them both for the company, it made the time and the miles go very quickly.

Before we knew it we were entering Thurmont again, only 15 miles to go.  By then George had caught up with us and our pack was four.  We stopped for one last refill of water when a van pulled up beside me in the parking lot.  Bryan and Clint doubled back on the route to check on me before they drove home. They had finished a couple of hours earlier.  You remember, the cool guys who ride real fast.....  Thanks guys.  One more hour and were passing Ft Detrick and turning in to the Hampton Inn.  I'd made it.




9 comments:

  1. Hi impressive ride, I think thats too far for me. My son lived in Haggerstown for a while some years back, so no the area a little. BY the way your right you do look good. Mind that cow!

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  2. Very nice ride report and congrats on completing your first 300K! But I think you must mean Thurmont when you say Taneytown, since the route went through the first twice, but the second not at all.

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  3. Thanks Bill - you're right I did mean Thurmont, corrected.

    Many thanks also to you, Nick, Mark, Crista all the others who put so much in to making these events happen.

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  4. Love the picture of the chairs by the water... Congrats, Mike!

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  5. Yep, I can see us sipping morning coffee, or evening wine, in chairs like that watching the creek flow by.

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  6. Enjoyed the write-up, Mike, and congrats on completing the 300K!

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  7. Oh, and I forgot... here' s a link to a pic of your official finish: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gersema/5700920544/in/photostream

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  8. Very nice! I grew up in Frederick. My parents live about a half mile further down Sundays Lane after you made the right hand turn. We used to go stomping through that little creek you passed over there! And I went to the Monocacy middle school you passed almost at the start and the little elementary school you passed by in Lewistown!

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