Inaugural Colonial Crossroads Bike MS: From “The Other Side”

ColonialCrossroadsBanner This year’s Bike MS event was renamed and moved to a new location, with Day 1 beginning in Smithfield, VA and riding 75 miles to Williamsburg, including a ferry ride between Surry and Jamestown. Day 2 was in the opposite direction. As usual, 40-mile and 100-mile options were also available. Our event was organized to run concurrently with a sister event that ran between Richmond and Williamsburg. So the Colonial Crossroads Bike MS event was actually two rides that converged in Williamsburg for a combined evening program. Medical setbacks continue to preclude me from lengthy rides. I still wanted to be involved, so I decided to volunteer. I will share my experience of this event from “the other side” (non-rider). Continue reading

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An Unexpected Review: Carry-On 3.5X5LSHS Utility Trailer

SurryCentury-FerryRideI recently served as a SAG driver in support of our local bicycling organization’s Surry Century. I started supporting (rather than riding) the club’s two annual events a few years ago. Later, I took possession of the club’s 14 water coolers. I had a 4×6′ utility trailer, so moving them was a cinch. My event routine had become to deliver the coolers to prescribed locations, uncouple the trailer, mount my bicycle carrier (hitch-mounted) and then drive my SAG routes, restocking water along the way. I’d reverse the process at the end of the event, usually resulting in a really long day. Last year, I towed the trailer while I was SAG’ing. It was less time-consuming, although slightly cumbersome. I recently purchased an even smaller trailer. Transporting the coolers while making my rounds is now very convenient. The car/trailer combination is only a foot longer than an F-250 with crew cab; but it’s lighter, more nimble, and more fuel-efficient. I averaged 34 mpg over the course of 353 miles, including idling with the AC running. Continue reading

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ACP Suffolk-Lake Gaston-Washington 600 km (DNF)

20150613_MapThis entry is LONG overdue. When I last wrote, I was just hours from starting the event that would make me a Super Randonneur, the Suffolk-Lake Gaston-Washington 600km brevet. I still had some nagging knee discomfort from the previous month. But I felt I could manage it throughout the ride if I could keep my speeds in check. I first mentioned my knee pain after riding the MS-150. However, the initial injury happened while overexerting myself early in the Tour de Cure late in April (no blog entry). I had taken a week off here, two weeks off there, and then a slightly longer break before the 600k in June, all in an attempt to let my knee heal or recover. The pain returned at varying distances into each ride, even when I took it easy. Regardless, I had a goal to complete the 600k and wasn’t going to let mild knee pain stop me from at least trying. Continue reading

Posted in Brevets (200km+), Super Randonneur Series | 3 Comments

Final Ocean to Bay Bike MS Ride (146 miles)

Bike-MS_LogoThe weekend of May 30-31 marked the final running of the Ocean to Bay Bike MS event, often called the “MS-150.” Bike MS is a fundraising event that benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (MSS). The event began in Cape Charles, VA, rode 75 miles to Camp Silver Beach for an overnighter, and then returned to Cape Charles the following day. I first participated in this ride in 2011 and had a great time. It was a Bike MS weekend that hasn’t been topped yet. Read about it HERE. Once again, I rode with Team Killer Bees, the charity fundraising arm of the Peninsula Bicycling Association. The team has gotten smaller over the years. But its spirit is well-intact. Continue reading

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ACP Suffolk-Lake Gaston 400 km (252 miles)


Charging the gadgets. The plastic bag on the Brooks saddle is due to Friday evening’s rain…

I’ve been cycling more lately, including my fourth annual Tour de Cure on April 25th. However, I opted against writing about it since I spent my free time writing about the ACP 300-km brevet as well as preparing for a May 2nd 400-km brevet. The TdC was relatively uneventful and only served as a training ride for my much longer rides.  00-winky Since I was still feeling residual discomfort in my neck from the 300k during the TdC, I did an easy ride on Monday and then took the rest of the week off to let my neck heal.  I also returned a high-rise stem to service to help get my back and neck a little more upright. I gained about 2-cm. See the difference between the stems in this photo. Since the 400k began at the same time and from the same hotel as the 300k, my preparation and plan was nearly the same. The major difference was that I didn’t forget any clothing or gear. I unpacked, prepped the bike, and plugged in my gadgets to charge overnight. I was actually in bed at a reasonable time.  00-cool  Continue reading

Posted in Brevets (200km+), Super Randonneur Series | 3 Comments

ACP Suffolk-Lake Gaston 300 km (187 miles, Run #3)


Continuing my run for a Super Randonneur Award, I entered Tidewater Randonneurs’ ACP Suffolk-Lake Gaston 300-km event. Staying at the host hotel last year worked really well, so I decided to stick to that practice. I packed my car Friday morning, the idea being to go straight to the hotel after work. It seemed like a perfect plan… until I realized I had forgotten my arm warmers. “No biggie,” I thought, “I’ll pick up another set.” All was good! Knowing the ride would start at the same time as the hotel’s free breakfast and that the hotel room had a refrigerator and a microwave, I opted to buy some breakfast items on the way to Suffolk so I could eat really early in the morning. Continue reading

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My First Overnight Bike Camping Trip (94 miles)

20150411_RouteMy original draft of this entry became too long. So I split it into the previous “Preparing for My First Bike Camping Trip” entry and this one, the actual trip report. Eight riders met at our starting point in Smithfield, VA: Scott B. (organizer), CJ, Paul K., John S., Robb M., Bob & Emily A., and myself. It was interesting to see the various setups (photos below). Scott and CJ had full pannier sets; John, Bob and Emily had rear-only setups (and John was on a mountain bike); Paul towed a trailer with his road bike; and, as already shared, I had a front-only setup. John, Paul and I were new to touring. The weather was PERFECT at our noon departure time. It was around 70 degrees and expected to warm just a little more. The wind was light. Armed with cue sheets and/or Ride w/GPS files, we left shortly after 12:00 pm and stayed together for the first five miles. Continue reading

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Preparing for My First Bike Camping Trip

Arkel_Orca-08_ReverseI had prepared for my first overnight bicycle camping trip for months. My brainstorming began in January when I first heard one was being organized. I started researching equipment in February; then I began to gather equipment and supplies in March. If you’ve read my Bags & Gizmos page, then you already know I favor Arkel touring products. It was a cool coincidence that Arkel had just released their new Orca waterproof panniers when I was ready to shop. They feature roll-top closures and are very durable. I opted to buy a full set, which includes a large 45-liter pair for the rear and a 35-liter pair for the front. I ordered Arkel’s AC LowRider front rack, too. I quickly loaded the panniers with notional camping gear and took a fully-loaded ride and experienced some handlebar shimmy. Continue reading

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RUSA Dart 200 km (128 miles)

20150404_OvercastStartFor many randonneurs, Easter weekend is the time for a 360-km ACP 24-hour team event, known as the Fleche (French for “arrow”). Ideally, several five-bike teams ride from different origins, departing Saturday morning, and converge on a single point at the finish, often ending with Easter morning breakfast. It’s a really cool idea. A Dart is another team ride in the form of a 200-km RUSA 13.5-hour event. Tidewater Rando hosted its inaugural Dart on April 4th. We originally had two teams that were going to ride separate routes and meet at a common finish point. Unfortunately, personal schedules shifted and we fielded only one team of five. Continue reading

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Team Killer Bees’ Swarm to Benefit Wounded Warrior Project (40 miles)

20150328_WWRideEach spring, Team Killer Bees has a “swarming” to kick-off the season, pull together as a fundraising team for upcoming charity rides (Tour de Cure and Bike MS), and to collect bicycling clothing and equipment for the Wounded Warrior Project. Thirteen riders started from the hosts’ home near Mattaponi, VA and rode through 40 miles of rolling terrain. A few of the hills were fairly challenging. But the most brutal force of the ride was the wind… 41-degree wind! I was wearing new tights and discovered that they aren’t as warm as the ones I’m retiring. I wasn’t cold, but I also wasn’t as warm as I prefer. As in previous years, the host provided three types of chili and the riders brought side dishes or desserts. It was a good time! We may have this ride in May next year in hopes of a slightly warmer ride.  00-smilie Continue reading

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