Pittsburgh Randonneurs Puppies and Kittens 200K

Brevity is a virtue?

Miles: 129-ish.

Hills:  5,300 feet.  Not a lot for these parts.

Route:  Designed for maximum flatness.  Out and back.  Sticks to the Ohio river valley for about 70 miles of the total.  Rolling hills mostly for the overland jaunt into Ohio (the state), with a turnaround in New Middletown OH.

Weather:  Very foggy and cold for the first 30 miles.  But it got sunny and  warmed up nicely by noon.  Short sleeves and sunburn after that.

Company:  10 starters.  9 finishers.  A few new faces, a few familar ones.  Got to ride with Dan Chew for the first time.  His reputation precedes him, and is pretty much spot on.  What a nice guy, he is.

Trouble:  Dan B.’s bike had an irrecoverable mechanical in Petersburg OH. Had to call in a rescue.  Bummer.

Strava:  http://app.strava.com/activities/129825789

Pics:   D. Chew wanted a picture with me because we were wearing matching Pgh Randos jerseys.  It was my first ride with the Chew-man, so apparently I now have my one and only red pen entry into his journal.  And, quite strangely, we each choose the same toothy smile for the picture, without pre-coordination.

others:  http://s771.photobucket.com/user/steamer_03/library/puppies%20and%20kittens%20200K

Still soggy from the morning fog… At the first controle at Al’s Corner in Koppel. Al’s is located on Big Beaver Boulevard. Not joking.


And the fog has lifted….

Waiting for the (double!) train to pass


Welcome to Ohio… Now let’s get the hell out of here.


I think we have a problem…

D. Chew and I at Al’s Corner (return trip)


Chew holding court…

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Well, this blog just passed 10,000 views.  Hard to believe that I have contributed so much to the downfall to society that is the internet.  Yay me.

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2014 Goals

It’s a little late to be formulating goals for 2014, but better late than never.  They are:

  1. Get fully healthy (I had a minor surgery on Jan. 13th and recovery is going well.  I might be able to get back on the bike pretty soon here…I hope. )
  2. Do another Fleche Velocio (last year was a lot of fun)
  3. Get a couple permanents approved  (scouting and designing routes is fun too)
  4. Finally get the RCoH up and running in some sort of low-key / trial form – even if its just a half dozen of us.
  5. Do at least a couple 200Ks, and at least one longer randonee (a 300K being most likely).
  6. Do one of those 200K on my upright bike.

Regarding the last one, I was asked if that was a spiritual exercise.  Heh. Well, sorta.  It’s mostly just to see if I can do it.  Or rather, to see how much I hate it when I do it (if I hate it).  I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time over the last couple months of 2013 getting my fit right  (and I finally found a saddle that truly works for me), and I want to see how far that progress can take me.  So, I guess you could say its intellectual curiosity.

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It’s Official

Splendid Isolation 201K is now an official RUSA permanent!  Best time to ride this is from about mid-May to early November.  There might still be ice on the gravel roads otherwise.

Since this is a free-route permanent, you even can do a nearly all pavement version if you really wanted to…(although I am not sure I can recommend that).

Recommended Route:  http://ridewithgps.com/routes/3504827

Come on folks, put some fatter tires on your bike and enjoy the ride…

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Proposed Toonbed 200K Permanent

I have been working in recent weeks on a 200K permanent route that starts/finishes in Altoona, near my house.  There is a big hole in the RUSA Permanent Map in this region, and EK and I aim to fix it.  Here are the results of my current efforts thus far:


Essentially, it’s Altoona-Bedford-Breezewood-Williamsburg-Altoona.  130 miles, 9200 feet of climbing (as per RWGPS).  I tried to keep the climbing down, but the only way to do that would be to ride on less pleasant roads (busy state routes and the like).  You have to earn your low traffic and nice scenery, folks.

I am a lucky guy.

I have ridden about 2/3rds of the roads that are on this route at one time or another, but never as one ride, or in this succession.  The first 1/3rd and final 1/3rd are flat-like, by central PA standards, but the middle section is a bugger.   Overall climbing density for the full 130 mile route is about 70 feet per mile, but the 40 mile middle section that follows PA Bike Route S between Bedford and Breezewood (also the Crush the Commonwealth route), and then up to Loysburg, is about 110 feet per mile.

The route is still in development, but I don’t foresee major changes.  I might eliminate the Martinsburg controle, however.  The 50 miles from Breezewood to Williamsburg is still a reasonable controle gap, I think.

I will do some car scouting this winter to further improve the cue sheet, and in early spring I will do the full ride.  After that, if I am pleased with it, I will submit to RUSA.

Am I doing this to encourage more rando / LD activities in this area?  To provide a handy place for EK to continue his R-12 streak?  Just for the heck of it?  I guess it’s all of the above.

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Virtual Elevation Revisited

Just as a follow up to last winters post The World is my Aerolab, I thought I would link to a little video that sums it up nicely.  Much more digestible than reading Robert Chung’s full paper (although I encourage that).  (edited to add:  the part about VE starts at about the 28 minute mark.)

I have spent a fair amount of time helping others get started in doing this.  It’s a pay-it-forward type of thing for me.

You do need a power meter to do true-blue Virtual Elevation type testing.  And that’s a very versatile and precise method.  But, there are coastdown methods you can do to determine CdA and Crr for those who don’t have a power meter, but have some sort of recording type bike computer, such as a Garmin 500.  You do need an auxiliary speed sensor, though.  Not a big deal.

This BROL post (written by me) gives some step by step details:


Just email me with questions, folks.

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Dumb Move Big S.

This is just a heads up for the 1 or 2 people who actually read this blog.  The big S has created quite a shitstorm for themselves.  One look at their FB page and you’ll see the reaction.  I tried to buy a T-shirt from this poor fella, but the guy’s shop has been getting lots of support, so they are out.  Good deal, anyways.  I don’t really need another T-shirt.  Aside from all that, it seems to me that there are so many nice bikes and bike brands out there, I don’t really understand why one would buy a Specialized bike..  I guess this gives you another reason to look elsewhere.

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