Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fall Winter 2008




The leaves they are a-changing....and the road beckons....

Seagull Century 2008


A rare sight, the Engine, being led out by a loyal domestique...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wellsboro Fall 2008 Part III




A fine day for the Hancock Peleton.....Mark, left, consistent, Kurt K
top, in the classic jersey, and with the best bike, the Basso frame with all well cleaned components, leading the pack, Kurt N, doggedly leading us on, on to Timeless Destinations.....and Kristi...

Wellsboro Fall 2008 Part II




Lots of great fall scenery...particularly stunning are the old railroad
bridges and the rivers...riding up through the PA Grand Canyon
is quite spectacular in the fall....Arriving in Blackwater upper left...

Wellsboro Fall 2008

Long long day in the saddle...nearly 110 miles up to Wellsboro from the Corner Room...much of it on the old rails to trails...you can see the gravel surface to the left...hard but gives a little, meaning more power output per pedal stroke...picked up a rider, Dean, in Lock Haven...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rockville Sugarloaf Ride

Here is a link to an excellent photo blog on rockvilleliving.com (Rockville's finest web site):

Sugarloaf Mountain Fall Ride

Seagull Century 2008: Nic's First Metric Century!




A few choice pics, including father/son
at finish!!:

Seagull Century 2008: A Glorious Day


More than 6400 riders participated in this ride, the most
ever I believe...we started very very fast, 23-25 mph over
first 20 miles to first rest stop, this without breakfast. Jumped
onto a lot of pacelines, there were many, and kept up pretty
fast pace, while the Engine often darted ahead. Knee started
acting up a bit at around 40 miles, and was fighting low level
pain for rest of way, but this did not detract from overall excellence
of the ride, with some great beer (Killians) and food at the end...
Highly recommended first century, very little if any climbing...

Click here for full ride data: Seagull2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rockville Cycling: Long Rides


This is a fairly long ride, a near
century, which can be extended
to a full 100 miles with a few
tweaks. From Rockville, go North on
Rockville Pike, right on Gude, then the
first left onto Crabbs Branch Way, then
right on Redland Road. Though there
is not much of a shoulder on this road,
the road condition is excellent, and it
will take you all the way out to Laytonsville Road. Turn right and then the first left will put you on scenic Brookland Road, with few cars and nice bucolic scenery. It becomes more forested as you approach Georgia Avenue. The next stretch of this ride is on Georgia, not the greatest road for cyclists, but with a decent shoulder for most of the way until you can take a left on Jennings Chapel Road. There is a store which serves as a first rest stop located at the intersection of Georgia and Damascus/New Hampshire.

Follow Jennings Chapel, once again a lightly vehicled country road, with excellent views of fields and farms, all the way until it hits Florence Road, cross Woodbine. Florence becomes St. Michaels, which you can follow up to Route 144. A right on 144 and a left after a short uphill climb on to East Waterville Rd, will take you over US Route 70 and up towards Mt. Airy. Follow East Waterville as it becomes West Waterville right on to Main Street in Mt. Airy, where a left turn takes you down a hill. Look for Prospect Street heading to the right, which will take you out of Mt. Airy towards Frederick. A the interesection of Jacobs and Old Annapolis Road, you can take either a northern route or a southern one. The northern route takes you up Old Annapolis to McKaig, then right onto Gas House Pike, which will take you all the way into Frederick. The southern route takes you left on Jacobs, down Woodville to Old National Pike. This road has a fair amount of traffic on it but also has a decent shoulder, which is in good condition. Getting into Frederick this route simply requires taking Old National Pike to 144, which will take you right into Frederick. You can add a little excitement by turning right on Meadow, climbing a fairly steep hill. taking a left on Hall, and then a left on Quinn which turns into Terra Firma and hits 144, right and on into Frederick you go. The second rest stop is at the corner of Market and E Second Street. Take in the sights and sounds of historic downtown Frederick!

Out of Frederick on Market Street you turn on to New Design Road, which will take you over Route 40 and 270 and extends all the way to Route 28. An alternative to this direct route, and a bit more scenic, is to go down New Design, turn left on Manor Woods, which becomes Michael's Mill Road. This is a beautiful route which goes along the scenic Monocacy, will take you left on Fingerboard Rd, and then right on Flint Hill, also scenic and lightly travelled. There is a steep climb on Flint Hill up to Park Mill Road. A right on Park Mill will take you screaming down the hill and on some rollers down to Route 28. Take a left on 28 and on into Dickerson for the third rest stop!

Then you can either take 28 to 107 to Poolesville and back down 107 to 28, or go the back way down Big Woods to 109, left down to Sellman to Peach Tree to Barnesville and on into Boyds, down Whites Ground to Schaeffer into Germantown, then down Riffle Ford to 28 and back in. Either way, a stop at Smoothie King in the Fallsgrove Shopping Center is in order! You are back safely in Rockville!

Most of this ride is on roads with light traffic, except for the stretch on Georgia, and of course portions of Route 28, though these are blessed with pretty good shoulders for most of the way and there are plenty of alternatives to avoid 28 depending on how much time you have....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008




A few more...to the right is the Valpolicella ride near Lago di Garda...above is Pass Gardenia, to the right is Passo Stelvio, near top, from the Bormio side...

Italian Mountain Passes: Rider Small, Mountains Big




New photos just in from Italy...these were taken by our tour guide Massimo, and give a sense of the rider against the amazing scenery...click on the pictures and view full screen....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Mountain Mama



Preride dinner left, the peleton starts off, right...it was quite a day, thundershowers all night, ride postponed for an hour as storms moved through....it was, in a word, The MAMA.....

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mountain Mama Prep: A Real Long One



Well, as preparation for the Mountain Mama on August 2, I went north to PA, to find some real mountains...not planning to do too long a ride....I found myself gettingup at 6:00 am and then suddenly some 85 miles out of State College, in a little place called Selinsgrove PA, after 3 climbs, including the ugly Ulch Gap, with grades of 15 to yes, 24 percent in spots, short but steep....here is the route

http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/invitation/email/accept.mb?senderPk.pkValue=127832&unitSystemPkValue=2&episodePk.pkValue=6242128&backgroundDatasourcePk.pkValue=11

Was doing fine after some lager (no hefeweizen) at the Selinsgrove microbrewery, pretty good place:

www.selinsgrovebrewing.com


but left knee started to give me some problems around mile 105, on a hot hot stretch heading back...by the time we got to Hickernell Well, I was in serious pain, but our spirits had been buoyed by the arrival of Kurt K, who had slept in and started out at 1:30, 45 miles out from SC. Kurt numbed me up with four bottles of ice cold Hickernell Well water, and we chatted with a couple who were going to spend 30 minutes at the well filling up water jugs, they claim the water is the best in the state....back in the saddle and another hard climb, then downhill and rolling into Spring Mills, where the acute pain forced an abandonment after a meager 135 miles. Think it may be an inflamed tendon, will be taking it easy before Mama..rescued by Dad and son Nic, whisked back to town and some tall beers at the Autoport...what a ride...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Post Tour Ride, Looking Ahead


Back on the road Sunday after a two day layoff, the legs were still kind of sore, as were shoulder and back. Did quick 16 mile loop with Phil, and provided fuller download of Alp and Dolomite stories...looking forward to ride this weekend in State College, PA with northern peleton, further warmup for Mountain Mama in early August. Its not too late to sign up:

http://bikemountainmama.homestead.com/

Monday, July 7, 2008

Next Installments?

On the plane back from Rome, I met another cyclist who had just completed a 10 day tour through the Abruzzo. He said the climbing was good and there were not as many motorcyclists as in the Alps. Already thinking about a possible European jaunt next year, the intrepid cyclist is considering a possible French classic week, the Abruzzo, Sardegna, or some other good climbing venue to bring the peleton.....

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Further Plug for Massimo and GFC

Here is the website for Massimo's business, gardaexplore:

www.gardaexplore.com

He teaches all sorts of cool stuff, like Nordic walking, mountain biking, etc. and can arrange special tours for specific places and interests. He is an excellent tour leader and I highly recommend his services.

Keep in mind GranFondo Cycling for great tours like the Italian classics, granfondos, and particularly the Maratona del Dolomiti; they have special in for entry applications, which are done by lottery otherwise.

www.granfondocyclingtours.com

Tour Data: Part III, The Full Monty

OK, here are links to the stages (click on or copy whole link and paste into browser window):

Stage 1: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/invitation/email/accept.mb?senderPk.pkValue=127832&unitSystemPkValue=2&episodePk.pkValue=6165310&backgroundDatasourcePk.pkValue=29

Stage 2: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/invitation/email/accept.mb?senderPk.pkValue=127832&unitSystemPkValue=2&episodePk.pkValue=6165318&backgroundDatasourcePk.pkValue=29

Stage 3: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/invitation/email/accept.mb?senderPk.pkValue=127832&unitSystemPkValue=2&episodePk.pkValue=6165326&backgroundDatasourcePk.pkValue=29

Stage 4: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/invitation/email/accept.mb?senderPk.pkValue=127832&unitSystemPkValue=2&episodePk.pkValue=6165378&backgroundDatasourcePk.pkValue=29

Stage 5: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/invitation/email/accept.mb?senderPk.pkValue=127832&unitSystemPkValue=2&episodePk.pkValue=6165386&backgroundDatasourcePk.pkValue=29

Stage 6: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/invitation/email/accept.mb?senderPk.pkValue=127832&unitSystemPkValue=2&episodePk.pkValue=6165394&backgroundDatasourcePk.pkValue=29

Stage 7: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/invitation/email/accept.mb?senderPk.pkValue=127832&unitSystemPkValue=2&episodePk.pkValue=6165415&backgroundDatasourcePk.pkValue=29

Note: I forgot to reset the Garmin unit before starting Stage 6, so Stage 5 is a bit hosed, showing straight line from Bormio to La Villa (start of Stage 6). If you zoom in on the excellent map for Stage 5 near Bormio, you can see some of the switchbacks, etc. and follow the entire climb. On Stage 5 you can also see how close we were to the Swiss border. The group which did both sides went down into Switzerland, then back into Italy and up the other side.

Tour: Data Dump, Part II

OK, the full data is in:

Total miles ridden: 215
Total feet of climbing: 30,000 plus (all real climbing, no rollers)

Highest elevation:

Stage 1 (Valpolicella, Fosse): 3228 ft
Stage 2 (Madonna di Ghisallo): 2479 ft
Stage 3 (Passo di Gavia): 8587 ft
Stage 4 (Passo di Mortirolo): 4296 ft (this should have been around 7000 ft)
Stage 5 (Passo di Stelvio): 9014 ft
Stage 6 (Passi Valparolla, Campolongo): 7236 ft (Valparolla)
Stage 7 (Sellaronda): 7359 ft (Pordoi)

Max speed:

Stage 1 (Valpolicella, Fosse): 41.7 mph
Stage 2 (Madonna di Ghisallo): 35.3 mph
Stage 3 (Passo di Gavia): 43.2
Stage 4 (Passo di Mortirolo): 35.6 mph
Stage 5 (Passo di Stelvio): no descent
Stage 6 (Passi Valparolla, Campolongo): 43.9 mph
Stage 7 (Sellaronda): 38.9 mph

Note: Those who completed the full Mortirolo and the "doppio Stelvio" did another 10,000 ft of climbing!! Now that I feel better and am down at 400 feet, I feel ready to do the doppio Stelvio...will have to return to do the 48 switchback side, hopefully with some members of the missing peleton....

Friday, July 4, 2008

Tour: Data Beginning to Come in....

Seven days of riding: every day 2000-6000 feet of climbing (details to follow)
Clif Shots consumed: 20
Hammer Gel Perpetuem consumed: 15 scoops
Bananas downed: 10
Gatorade gulped: too much to count
Pasta: molto

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Tour: Thanx to GFC in General and Massimo in Particular

At our final dinner together at the Boffenigo, we toasted our guide and leader Massimo, who really made the difference on this one, teaching us about the local cycling culture and more, encouraging us on each tough climb, arranging all the meals, the support van and troubleshooting our minor and major problems with good humor. We salute you Massimo!!! Massimo is involved with a local business that organizes sporting related tours of the Garda area and other locations in Italy. Will post more information about his site later.

As we sat around during the final dinner, it was hard to come up with something to complain about on this trip, other than the untimely weather on the first day in the Dolomiti. A big big plug for Gran Fondo Cycling, which organized a great program, with a mix of climbs including around Garda and Como, and an excellent mix of Alpine and Dolomite passes. The hotel and meal arrangements were all excellent and the support was superb. Thanx to Mike Elmer for joining us in La Villa and riding the Dolomite portion, he was a great addition and added to our knowledge of Italian cycling. Thanx to Tobias and Carrie Panek from GFC for a great trip, and hope Carrie will soon be back on the bike....

Finally, a special thanx to Dan, Bruce, Steve, and Michael for sharing the rode, all the meals, including the sausage and sauerkraut panini, inspiring one another to keeping going on hard days, for their great senses of humor, and for making this trip a truly memorable experience! Saluti!!!

The Tour: Back to Garda and Beyond


Though we still dreamed of more climbing and descending, our leader Massimo insisted that we load up and get on the road for the return trip to the Hotel Boffenigo. We loaded the cycles and then downed amazing forno cooked pizzas at a pizzeria near the Hotel Diana. Pizza had never tasted so good....
The drive out of the Dolomites revealed further beautiful scenery, as we wound our way down through Bolzano and down to the north side of Garda, Massimo pointing out great climbs along the way...this area would be a great place for a summer residence....

Stage 7, The Sellaronda, Passo Gardenia, Cowbells at Last




video


Finally, the top of the Gardenia reached, but only, I must stress, with the assistance of once again, cowbell, encountered here about midway on the ascent.....At the top, purchased some nice Dolomiti "chum", including a Gardenia patch. I should have gotten one of these on each of the passes, but did not realize they were for sale. Will ask Massimo to perhaps obtain from each of passes we finished...The long ride back down through Corvara to La Villa was excellent, if a little chilly......


Stage 7, The Sellaronda, Passo Gardenia




video


Another fearless descent down the Sella and another right hand turn, this time for the final ascent of the Sellaronda, the beautiful Passo Gardenia. We had driven this pass the day before, and thought it didnt look so bad, but after nearly 5000 feet of climbing, including reaching well over 7000 feet several times, this last climb was anything but easy...

Stage 7, The Sellaronda, Passo di Sella, Near Top




video


The scenery on the Sella may may have been some of the best we saw in the Dolomiti...climbing out of beatiful pine forests, surrounded by sheer rock faces rearing up high into the blue sky, surely this was where climbing on a two wheeled machine under only human power was meant to take place.....

Stage 7, The Sellaronda, Passo Sella

video

Just as you scream down the Pordoi, mojo roiling, you realize that you face another very tough climb, this one the Passo di Sella. Massimo had been warning about this one, and it turned out he was right again, per usual. The scenery here though made it just a tad easier to reach down and find some more energy....

Stage 7, The Sellaronda, Passo Pordoi




The Pordoi was the beginning climb for one of the tough Dolomiti stages in this years Giro di Italia. The climb starts right away as you leave the town of Arraba, and the first part has grades of 8'-10 percent....its not as hard as some of the longer climbs such as Gavia and Stelvio, but it was challenging at this point in the tour, and with the tough Sella and easier Gardenia to follow, I knew I had to save some mojo for later.....as it turned out, I "won" this stage, having been spotted a slight head start by the peleton....I was looking for cowbell though the whole way up, can I get more cowbell? Brownie? Thats a famous Fausto Coppi statue, Il Campionissimo, at the top of the Pordoi...


Stage 7, The Sellarondo, Campologno Video

video

The Dolomites are really spectacular, this gives some sense of the climb out of La Villa, but the scenery would become ever more impressive as the Sellaronda wore on......

Stage 7, The Sellaronda, Passo di Campolongo





This was not a particularly hard climb out of La Villa, but there was no time for warmup, as was typical of a lot of these climbs, out the door and zoom, up up and up....At least it was dry today, and the air was really fresh...unsure how the legs would feel after 6 days of intense climbing, I was anticipating maybe having to bail after the first climb...left knee was also sore...but got to the top with no problems and plunged down the other side, ready for the next challenge, the massive Pordoi.....

Stage 7, the Sellaronda

The Sellaronda is a standard Dolomoti ride that goes up and over four major high mountain passes: Campolongo, Pordoi, Sella, and Gardenia. The two middle climbs are quite hard, while the first and last are less so, though no pieces of cake, mind you. The Sellaronda is also the short loop of the Maratona di Dolomiti (www.maratonadolomiti.it). One of our guides, Mike Elmer, took another group on this ride, which finished last Sunday. It is a very high tech race, with each rider given a special chip that helps officials record their routes and times. Check out this website (http://runners.tv/events/md08.asp?r=3066) which shows Mike at various stages of the race (you would have to know what he looks like to pick him out). He was riding as Tobias Panek, head of Gran Fondo, who had to bow out of this years event.

We started early, straight up into the Campolongo climb, reversing the freezing descent of the day before. This side of the Campolongo was easier....

Stage 6, The Dolomites, Passo Valparolla, Passo Campolongo

After driving down the Stelvio, we high tailed in the van across northern Italy, travelling via Bolzano and on up into the Dolomites. We went over the Passo Gardenia, which would feature in the tours amazing final day (see above) and down through lovely Corvara and into La Villa, our starting point for the 2 days of Dolomiti riding. After the full day of Stelvio climbing and 3 hour van ride we were ready for some well deserved rest at the lovely Hotel Diana in La Villa. This is a major sportivo area, with mountain biking, Nordic walking, skiing, etc.

The following day we set out early for our first Dolomite ride. This took us up the Passa Valparolla, a tough climb, and then screaming down into a lovely valley, around to Arraba, and then up and over the Passo Campolongo, which we would come back over the following day. Unfortunately, 1) I forgot to put my SD card in my camera and quickly used up the internal memory, and I cant get the videos and pictures off until I have the right cable, and 2) it rained for most of the ascent and desent of the Campolongo. The descent was not fun, as I was freezing and shaking so much that I almost lost control of the bike. Steve and I stopped in Corvara on the way down and had great pizza, thin crust with aspargi, funghi, e spinaci....a hot hot shower at the end brought us back to life, and ready for the next stage: the innocent sounding Sellaronda.....

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Stage 5, Passo di Stelvio, Cowbell


video

For Brownie and the guys, I did manage to get some more cowbell.....The 48, lets say, take a LOT of cowbell to get up.....

Stage 5, Passo di Stelvio, Looking Down the 48


video

This gives you a sense of the view down the 48 switchback side. I did take the podium briefly, sans the beautiful women and flowers, but decided that I was barely worthy of 3rd....

After we all ate some panini with sauerkraut and sausage (please hold), we headed back down those switchbacks in the van. One of our number had a bit of a mishap with the sausage and the switchbacks later on, though he managed to keep it all out the window and we were able to stop at a gas station and tidy things up...

Stage 5, Passo di Stelvio, The Top


Finally at the top, we faced a choice, descend about 500 feet, take a left, go into Switzerland, and go back around to other climb with 48 switchbacks, and another 6000 feet of climbing. To their everlasting credit, Dan, Bruce, Michael, Freddy, and Massimo (who had not climbed the Bormio side), all went around. I was feeling a bit light headed at 9000 plus feet and opted, along with Steve, to wait at the top for the peleton to come around. I know that if "The Engine" had been with me, I would have thrown caution to the wind and gone up again......

Stage 5, Passo di Stelvio, The Scenery


video

Here is an attempt to capture the majesty of the Stelvio climb. As noted previously, the climb from Bormio is considered the "easier" of the two ways. Its only 5000 ft compared to 6000 ft in climbing the more traditional side, but it is nevertheless extremely challenging.

Random Action and Dinner Shots











Left, Mortirolo Ascent, middle Stelvio Podium, right, dinner at rustic restaraunt, pasta was fantastico....

Passo di Stelvio, Nearing Top




This was a helluva climb, over 5000 ft, to over 9000 ft, breaking my all time record set two days ago on the Gavia! Started to feel the altitude at the top, but it was not too bad, this climb is not to be missed...