Mothers of all 300km and Northern exposure 400km

 

The name of the 300 brevet is Mothers of all 300km. It sure does lives up to its name. The elevation gain was 14k for 186 miles. This was the greatest suffering. All you need to do is look at the elevation profile . Steep section after steep section and then some more. No pictures from this ride as my SD card was corrupted. I wasted my time taking photos all day.

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Doing this 300km ride  after the Urbana 200km was hard. This is my toughest ACP SR series and good  training for France.

Next up was the Northern exposure 400km.

I am pretty sure I did this ride last year ! Who would do the same 250 mile bicycle ride  two years on a row?  Just to test his strengths , weaknesses , abilities and mental toughness. I am always adding few things to my equipment. This time is a new rain jacket, neoprene socks and neck brace. I hate riding in the rain, but have to get used to it. I think the main things are nice rain coat, fenders , wool hat, jersey and neoprene socks. Now let’s go back to the 400km brevet.

Last year it took me 22h20m. So this year I was hoping for better time . Unless I move with 8 mph for the last 45 miles like last year that should not be a problem. The final result was  actually 5 min slower. I was off the bike over 3 hours mainly waiting for my riding partners in the end of the event . Only 20 min off the bike for the first 100 miles. I like to stick with a group at night. Riding solo at night is no fun. 400 km ( 260 miles ) brevet may just be one of the hardest things you can do on a bicycle without sleep in under 24 hours.

For the first 50 miles I always feel crappy and push relatively hard with 17 mph. All you can see early in the morning is headlights and tail lights , lined up across the road. Three different riders told me that my tail light was out. After stopping constantly and wasting time I replaced the batteries and continued . Into the foggy ascent I go!

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Very soon we were in Amish farmland at sunrise. They were working the land with horses like centuries ago. The children were waiving out of a barn as we pedaled along.

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The forecast was for cloudy afternoon with chance of rain. We all dismissed the first drizzle. As the rain intensified I stopped. . . I got my rain gear out : wool hat, rain jacket and poncho. Plus plastic bags over my socks. Within 5 minutes the bags were full of water and I was going downhill soaking wet. It was cold and I can hear the poncho making annoying noise.

You can barely see 50 feet in front . It was pouring and you can smell rain. . . I pulled the last rain gear out and placed all electronics in my carradice bag.

Wool hat maybe the best thing to have in the rain. It keeps your heat dry and warm. Plus the  visor !  You can move it in the direction where the rain is coming from , so you will be  able to see. I stopped to wring my socks out( i didn’t have my new neoprene socks for that ride). No one was around. In front or behind . I was either slow or they stopped, and I am crazy enough to continue in the rain.

Interesting statistics:

To save time I did not stopped much in the first 100 miles. Just 20 minutes for info controls. I carried 150 oz of water and food to last. This time I was feeling like eating Clif Bars. So I had 7 ( Yes 7 , Chris Mento had to repeat it laughing ) I also have my salt pills. Others now think I am a Camel 🙂

To fight cycling amnesia and bring interesting moments out I started recording my voice every 30 miles or so  . This will hopefully bring memories and paint a better picture!

Here it is. Voice transcript:

Mile 65: Going up south mountain. Catching up to everyone. My average speed is still respectable 15 mph.

Mile 72: Small brown dog is chasing me ferociously. I think is the same dog Mary and Ed encountered. I just sped off. But this little fella was very persistent.

Soon afterwards was another one. As I bike I can hear scratching behind me. I turned around to see the face of a big white dog  up in my rear tire. Lucky to escape this one as well.

Mile 74: Had to stop quickly and change.Time for my featherweight Castelli climbing jersey. My notes pointed towards the next big hill. Few riders passed by me: Scott, Bill, Mary & Ed. I was still feeling strong.

Mile 79: Another rider took a wrong turn going downhill. I was whistling and yelling but it was too late.He was gone. It took him hours to catch up to us.

Mile 129: Great pizza stop. But wasted 20 precious minutes. My GPS was showing just a line, no map. I was wondering what wrong did I do again.

I want to thank my wife for letting me do this. She told me that I am not going to MA or NC to get the 400 ACP qualifier done.  My wife understands the years of dedication, commitment , training and sacrifice I put into accomplishing my dream – going to France . I would forever be grateful .

As I drove back I got a call that she is going into labor . Here is the result.

My little girl was born on the same day as her big brother . I think I am blessed! Her middle name is my mom first name : Valentina, and I am very proud of that. I know my mom is too, while continuing to watch me from above. What better inspiration can I ask for ?

 

Stay tuned. I just finished my 600k.

 

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