How Little Can You Ride and Still Do Rando?

So far this year I have 1,107 km in perms and brevets under my belt.  I haven’t been doing much other riding this year.  My annual mileage so far is a meager 1,844 miles.  That makes my RUSA events 37% of my total mileage.  I’d like to ride more, but I simply haven’t been for a number of different personal reasons.

In any event, this situation pretty well cements my previously held positions that:

1 – you don’t have to be in very good shape to be a randonneur, at least not if your goals are as simple as completing 200Ks and 300Ks within the time limits (and having a good time in the process, too).  Only a basic level of fitness is required.

2 – it takes very little riding to maintain that basic level of fitness.  Riding once or twice a week does it for me.

Interesting, isn’t it?

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My Precious

I have been wanting a handmade lugged steel road bike from an American master builder for many years now. You know a Bruce Gordon, Goodrich, Tesch, Sachs, Bohm, Belinky, Oulette, Rodriguez, Weigle, whatever.. I am not picky.

Well, recently I scored a Tom Kellogg Spectrum. Used, but gently.  And, most importantly, in my size!   I feel lucky to have picked it up. I got it for a very reasonable price. I had to drive 2.5 hours just to see it, but obviously that all worked out.

Rides like a dream. I am STOKED!

The frame is believed to be mid 80’s. Seller had trouble putting a specific year on it.  At some point, I will email T. Kellogg with the S/N and find out how old it is and what tubing it uses, as there is no sticker.

My first ride on the bike was to do the 1250 foot climb behind my neighborhood.  It involves a section of sustained 16-20% grade for about 500 feet.  I had to zig zag on the road in order to not walk.  Was a bit rough.  Low gear is 42-24.  Prolly going to have to arrange a 39-28, which should help.

I was asked if I was going to do a brevet on this bike.  Well, while I like my uprights, after about 3 hours, truth is that I am happier on one of my recumbents so why bother?  I’ll save the Spectrum for more routine, everyday rides which rarely go past 2.5 hours or so.

Some pics:

Prolly can’t see this in these pictures, but the lugs are very thin. It’s one of the first things I noticed. The lugs don’t stand out in the pictures very well, but they are nice. They are also pretty compact. I guess they could be called ‘short point’ lugs?

The stem and bars are from my parts bin.  As is the saddle.  The stem is a Nitto Technomic, which has an unusually long quill. I am very nearly at the limit line, but not above.  My back is not as flexible as it used to be, so the position I have set up on this bike is quite comfy.

The bike came with a pair of 20mm wide Michelins and I don’t like tires that skinny. I had a 25mm Durano available that I stuck on there as a temporary measure. I am probably going to get a set of either 26mm or 28mm wide Compass or Grand Bois tires. In tan-wall, of course!

FWIW, the components run down as follows:

Dura Ace front changer
Shimano 600 Ult. rear changer
Shimano 105 indexing shifters
Dura Ace 7 spd freewheel (13-24T)
Campag Nuovo Record crank 53-42T, 170mm arms
Campag Record Brakes and Aero Brake Levers. Levers are mid-80’s Calipers might be older. Levers are the convertible type, I think.
Campag headset and BB (not sure of model)
Specialized hubs
Mavic Open 4 CD rims
Dura Ace seatpost
SA Titanio X saddle
Nitto Technomic stem, 110 mm
Nitto Handlebars (forget the number…), 46cm wide.
Bennotto Ribbon

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SI 200K Part II

Completed SI for the second official time. Good, hard ride. I’m up to R-5, now.

Nothing remarkable to report. We started a half hour late, and between that and our mediocre fitness levels we found ourselves teetering on the edge of disaster (well, no, not really) the whole ride. We did finish with plenty of time to spare, partly by eschewing the most pleasant route between Spruce Creek and B-Burg for a straight shot up Rt. 45. That turned out to be perfectly pleasant, however.

The only other navigational variation was taking Hoofnagle Road climb up to the Hunter Road summit instead of our semi-usual way. We found this to be more scenic and not quite as steep as going up Hunter the whole way. Very nice. I think it’s our new recommended route, in fact.

I took lots of pictures:

Some favs:

My steed at the start.

Eric is smiling because… I forget now. Might have been something I said about Garmin that was unkind. And accurate.

Foggy Morning. Nice socks, eh?

Eric is smiling because… I forget why. But it might have been because I almost crashed trying to take this picture.

Only you can forget forest fires. Urr, I mean “prevent”.

Outta da woods and on Treaster Valley (paved portion).. on the way to Milroy.

Our favorite trail sign. Eric is smiling because he’s having a pleasant day.

Dear Lord, this climb is long and steep and chunky. When you reach this point on Colerain, you know 80% of the climb is behind you.

This needs a caption…..

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Alternate Proof of Passage on RUSA Permanents

If you agree with the concept of liberalizing the permitted forms of proof of passage that permanent owners are allowed (but not required) to accept, as articulated by Susan Otcenas here:  ….then please lend her your support.  Let the RUSA board members know your thoughts.

FYI, the original discussion on the randon list is here:!searchin/randon/BOx/randon/jVcT4qsKSIE/Eb2rrQ_51tUJ

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Happy Buffalo 200K

Last Saturday, Eric and I completed the first official ride of Eric’s Happy Valley to Buffalo Valley 200K permanent.  Should have called it Happy Buffalo, instead.

It’s a nice route that takes you from State College to Lewisburg, mainly on Rt. 192, and then returning via a variety of roads and such (Buffalo Valley rail trail, Rt. 45 over the mountain, Pine Creek Rd., Penns Creek Rd, Lower Georges Valley Rd, and so forth.)

Our ride started out rainy and cold-ish  (about 61 deg. F.).  Riding up Rt. 192 on a wet day is one dirty affair, what with all of the horse manure on the road…. Yuk.  Look at your water bottle before you it put in your mouth, folks….   But, it warmed up nicely by lunchtime.

We stopped at the Sheetz in Lewisburg, but decided on not eating a ton there, as we had designs on a more substantial stop later in the day.

The ride up Rt. 45 from Mifflinburg to Woodward was ok.   Traffic was moderate, but behaving in a sane manner.  Rt. 45 has some shoulder too, which helps.  The climb up the mountain right before Woodward was hard, partly due to the very high humidity and temps in the low 80’s, along with full sunshine.

When we stopped at Milheim, we decided to have lunch at Elk Creek Café.   We each had a burger, fries, and two beers.   I never had such a great meal at a controle on a brevet or permanent before.  Usually a Subway sub is considered fine dining.  Now, I think I like this approach, but I fear this won’t be a pattern.  Seems to me that few of our routes are easy enough to make this kind of stomach burden tolerable.  Although I noticed when we got going again, I felt pretty energized.  Still though, beer and beef aren’t exactly energy foods.  This route is fairly tame, with total climbing not exceeding 6,000 feet, and we were riding it slower than usual due to Eric’s need to take it easy.  (Eric is still recovering a bit from ear surgery).

Finishing this perm. just extended me to R-4.   Not sure about next month’s ride.  Might need to be in eastern PA.

I was pleased to get this one done, because my fitness has been really poor as of late.  Riding only one or two days a week might have something to do with it.

Along Rt. 192:  a wet and messy morning in Penn’s Valley.  It was a 5 banana ride, by the way.

Buffalo Valley Rail Trail near Lewisburg


Along Rt. 45:  Where’s Scooby and the gang?  (old mansion like building with a locked gate and signs saying ‘keep out’)

Just up the hill a bit more….   Only you can prevent forest fires…


Nice barn on Pine Creek Rd. Prolly doesn’t hold cows anymore.


Hopheads rejoice near Coburn!  ( I wonder if these hops are sold to Elk Creek Café?  Scale seems too large for a home brewer…)


Inadvertent selfie  (taken outside Elk Creek Café)


Enjoying a brown ale at Elk Creek.

Rimmey Road rest stop.  This was nice for a pee stop and some water.  And of course we signed the guest book too.


Nice View from Rimmey Road.

Ride with GPS:

Happy Buffalo 200K:

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Lock the gates, Goofy.

Eric and I had a successful ride this past Saturday, on the first official running of Splendid Isolation 200K.   I have a whopping R-3 streak going here.  Yay for me.

To offer some modicum of variety, we decided to try out an alternate route between Weikert and Milroy, and it ended up being the simultaneous lowlight and highlight of the day.  It was rocky, steep doubletrack that was challenging to ride, and it slowed us down big time.  But it was rewarding.  We finished in 13:04 (officially), but had to really bust ass to do so.  But overall, despite being hard, it was a great ride.  We wouldn’t do this stuff if it was a cakewalk, right?

The scenery was great and everything was extremely lush, due to recent rains.  And also, as usual, the ride was extremely quiet.  We saw one whole car on the non pavement sections all day.  Splendid Isolation, indeed.

Warren’s take:

Eric’s take (on the ride):

So we finished in 13 hours out of the 13:24 allotted. Steamer took a roofing nail to his rear tire with about 7 miles to go, so we were a little concerned about time. The fact that it was a nail made changing it a little easier since we knew the cause of the flat was gone and there was no need to search around for it like happens with a sliver of steel or glass.

I always was curious about one of the roads we took, turns out we should have trusted the Purple Lizard map that showed it as ajeep trail. It was about 15 miles of doubletrack with big rocks and huge mud puddles, compounding the fact that it was almost all uphill. Fortunately, the road surface on the descent was much better, although it’s not sustainable and there were huge ditches made by runoff crossing the road. Ya, you can ride it on a CX bike, but it’s a lot slower than if you are riding a MTB. I suspect that if I was riding the 30mm tires I was using last year that I would have gotten at least one pinch flat.

Amusingly, one full second after I pulled the roofing nail out of my rear tire and showed it to Eric, he pointed to a contractor’s trailer parked 30 feet away that said “roofing and siding”.  Thanks a lot, pal.  Let’s keep the nails in people’s yards where they belong…  Ahem.  Eric’s point about pinch flats is mildly ironic.  We missed a million opportunities to have one of those all day long, you see.

Oh, in case anyone was wondering, the doubletrack Jeep road we speak of is Longwell Draft Road and it looks like…..

Longwell Draft Road. Kinda rough for the machines we’re riding (not mountain bikes).

The Macho Man getting dirty. (talking about the bike….)

I took this picture whilst Eric slathered his nether regions (untested saddle, you see…). The Stoopid 50 came through this way the following day. See the yellow arrow in the background?

Old RR trestle abutment near Weikert (along Cherry Run Rd.)

A favorite area of mine. Cherry Run.

Vista on the ‘back side’ of Colerain.

The front side vista of Colerain. I have posted a picture taken from this location how many times now? (I like it. It’s even more appreciated when you climb 1,000 feet on the thickest, loosest gravel in Rothrock in order to get here).

The rest of the pics:

Strava entry:

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Alternative Format Idea for RCoH

I have only had very spotty interest in doing The Rothrock Cyrcle of Hell event.  I think what makes it lack appeal for some folks is the heavy demands of navigation in an area they are not too familiar with (or not familiar with at all).  Most folks would rather plan a route at their leisure and then go do it, rather than having to navigate on the fly.  GPS devices and marked up maps and cue sheets are nice.  I get that.  It’s certainly a nice security blanket.  I wouldn’t start a brevet or adventure ride without such things, so I am not putting myself above that, you see.  ( I still have my childhood security blankets too, if you’d like to psychoanalyze that….. let me know what you determine. )

SO, here is another format concept to chew on…

Imagine an open course 12 hour race that entailed all riders starting and finishing at given location.  Each rider does their own route.  It’s a distance event, with the riders with the most miles wins, except that vertical gain would count too.  And so would gravel / mixed surface.  Every so many vertical feet counting as an additional equivalent mile.  Every mile traveled on gravel would be equal to 1.x miles on pavement.  (an appropriate value for “x” to be determined).  All verified by GPS track data.  Part of the strategy would be to come up with a route that suited one’s own strengths, and still get you back to the start/finish within the 12 hours, but yet still utilize all 12 hours.  I guess someone could ride and up down the road near the start finish or something, and that would be lame.  We’d have to have a ‘no retrace your route” rule, etc.  The idea is to get out there and do one big circumnavigation / grand loop or a big out and back or something like that.

As you can see, ‘free route’ is near and dear to my heart.  But it allows for pre-planning, which seems to be a thing obsessive compulsive ultra cyclists enjoy doing.


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