Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sunday's Ride of the Damned: Last Minute Details

Before getting to the details, I'd like to encourage you to scroll down to see Brad's post for the upcoming Velo Vogue, June 3.

Ok, so, I suspect some are still wondering what the deal is for Sunday. We tried to convey as much as possible on the poster, but I think a few points of clarification will help.

When: Sunday May 24, 09:00
Who: Won't know until we all get there.

Foremost, a reminder that the ROTD is not a race, nor a mock-race, pseudo-race, nor is it really a Sportif. It is intended to follow the Gentleman's ride concept: a large group of riders ride briskly (see below) over challenging terrain, with the emphasis on everybody making it to the end together. Attacks on climbs are acceptable in the latter stages of the route, but the understanding is that the faster riders will wait for the others in order to reassemble the group. The start of the ride should be kept mellow, which will help the riders with fewer miles on the legs to warm up adequately. The real focus of the ride is to manifest some cycling magic, consisting of passage through scenic and challenging terrain while using team work to allow riders to cover ground faster and more extensively than they would be able to alone or with a small group. When faster riders are careful about pace, slower riders are able to accomplish rides that would otherwise be grueling. This is the idea. I prefer to keep it inclusive and think of it as a Gentlefolk ride. In this case, the ride will also offer the opportunity for many to access roads theretofore unknown to them. Adventure!

Ok, so the framework is laid. What about pace? Relative, right? Right. As a point of reference, Rodd and I tend to cover rides like this at about 25k/hr average speed. This does not vary much, even if we have a handful of others along. With the group size we expect on Sunday - possibly far more than 20 - team work will factor. An average speed of 25 is reasonable. If we do the math, for 150k, that's 6 hours in the saddle. If that freaks you out, you might want to peel off near Wakefield. Rodd and I will do our best to control the pace; in order to do this we will likely have to ride at the front much of the time. Communication from further back will help modulate the pace. The group will stop for mechanicals. Please do your best to ensure your bike is in order. Flats happen, but most other issues are avoidable with proper preparation.

The route then. Rodd and I have discussed taking a more direct route north for the sake of getting to the best sections of road sooner. We will go ahead with this plan, and decide on route whether a splinter group wants to/should take on a couple detours. The first would be the Chamonix neighborhood, which consists of a short steep climb followed by a flattish section and steady, fast descent on dirt. This is not a good option for people concerned about making the distance with the group, or those running skinny, light tires. Flats are not uncommon on this descent. This detour will definitely add a few kilometers. The second detour would be the Woodsmoke climb, which is very steep. Unlike the first detour, which would only involve a short wait for the main group at the meet-up point, if any at all, this sector is an out and back. It would thus mean a break of about 15 minutes for the rest of the group. A splinter group may wish to pull ahead before Woodsmoke in order to get a head-start to minimize the wait for the others. This will be a decision made en route.

Detours aside, we will head North for a while before looping west, then south to Wakefield. The northern sections are mostly rolling, with a few tough climbs, but nothing crushing. Wakefield will lie around 110k into the ride. This means riders will need enough food for about 4 hours on the bike, assuming we maintain the 25k/hr pace. Two bottles are obviously necessary; we will be able to get water before Wakefield, probably around the 60k mark. If its dry, a third bottle in the jersey would not be a bad idea. The stop at Wakefield will mark the final 40k to go. The return is fairly flat.

Here is the map Rodd prepared. If you have concerns about holding on, and suspect you might have to bail at some point, please print a copy of the map for reference. The 'map' version will likely be the most legible. There will be a few points where we will be able to direct riders to Wakefield, from which the return to town is straightforward. If you are not familiar with the area, take a few minutes to study the map.

Please remember to bring at least one tube and patches, pump, multi-tool, and $ for food and drinks. If you are dropped with a mechanical and nobody notices (or you are already alone), you will need to be able to get going again. Cell phones are a good idea. Some bug repellant will also come in handy, as blackflies are in full effect. Ditto sunscreen!

See y'all Sunday!


Anonymous said...

i wanna avoid getting new tires just for this unless absolutely necessary. i did about the same route up to wakefield recently and found it manageable with 23c. i don't recall any sections being just dirt. just a lot of ripped up asphalt with loose stuff over it in spots. is it more of the same after wakefield?


Rodd Heino said...

Hallo Mystery Potential rider
In answer to your question, no not more of the same
The bulk of the dirt is after wakefield.
there is plenty of it...
can you fit 25s or 28?
I have some extras you could borrow...

David Bilenkey said...


32c Paselas. Overkill for this ride? Thoughts?

Andy said...

I'll be rollin high on my 37c Country Rides... because this is a ride out through the country side.

Rodd Heino said...

Hey David
No I wouldn't say so
You can run 'em at a bit lower pressure which is always nice
My tires measure 31c so...
Thrilled you'll be joining!

the original big ring said...

Sorry to have missed this epic - that's some fantastic country out there. Hope everyone has a great time.

Andrew said...

Yah, it did become a bit of an 'epic'


Riding in from Kanata to the shop gave me some additional mileage... I ended up with 211.41 kms back to the shop, 8:02 ride time, 26.3 avg, max of 84.94 (was definitely not the fastest).

It was an amazing ride - true adventure, scenic and tons of fun!

Andrew said...

Forgot to mention that I'm looking forward to seeing Steve's GPS track of the route!

Andrew Hayter said...

Thanks guys, that ruled. Thanks for being patient with us slower guys too!

Rodd Heino said...

Hey all
So here's what we actually ended up doing

pics here:

nice job all

Pascii said...

Thanks to Matt and Rodd for the setup. I had a lovely time. The group was well rounded and all seemed to be enjoying themselves (or keeping their pain to themselves). Either way, all I was seeing was smiles all day.

Maybe a similar fall ride would be in order? Perhaps in the other direction? Perhaps with another cool poster? (Greg?) Perhaps we could bring a printout of the map next time? (snicker, the planned vs. actual route is HILarious)

I wished I didn't have to leave you all at Wakefield. It felt a bit cheap riding only a measly 140-odd km. ;0