This was the first brevet of the season that was delayed by a week due to high winds with gusts up to 70 Mph.
Riding this brevet was a last minute decision. The night before the event I purchased a Wahoo Bolt GPS unit, and this is a great opportunity to test it.
I arrived in Nokesville, VA one hour before departure. It was nice to see that our president – Mike Wali and ride Organizer Patrick O’Connor were there already. They were freezing with temperature of about 25 degrees, but were smiling and pretending not to be cold.
After brief instructions from the organizer, he gave us the OK to go, but nobody was moving ! Twenty seconds later, we finally rolled out. On the very first traffic light my helmet visor fell on the ground. What a great start! I pushed my bike Flintstone style , grabbed it and kept going 😊
It was 25 degrees and extremely cold.The forecast was for cloudy / sunny day with temperatures into the 50s a little after lunch. Few of my fingers were frozen almost immediately. Everyone was moving slower in the beginning and chatting as usual on a brevet start. On the first little incline, the speed dropped drastically. I felt like going faster already . . . The goal was to get it done before 3 O`clock.Once I took off, I was able to see some riders in the distance behind for the following 30 minutes, but no riders afterwards until the end.
No settings were done on my GPS, and I just uploaded the route from ridewithgps. This better work! Surprisingly, it was so easy and convenient to use. I really like the Climbing future, where it draws the elevation profile, and you can see what is coming up next. I knew how hard and when to press on the pedals. The most useful feature was the fact that I can finally see my heart rate while riding. The goal was to stay within my sweet spot zone for at least the 1st half of the ride, and not go over 160 BPM.
The first stop was an info control at mile 29. I had a hard time removing my gloves and writing down the answer on the brevet card. The first actual control with services was 10 miles down the road at 7/11 in Marshall, VA. Perfect time to enjoy a warm coffee and a muffin. Two minutes later I was back on the road while maintaining over 18 mph overall speed.
On the next info control at mile 43 I decided not to stop because of the cold. Just took a quick picture and kept going.
There was some traffic while riding through Warrenton, VA. Soon thereafter I arrived in Brady Station at mile 77. Somewhere here, I realized that 5000 feet of climbing was done out of 5900 suggested in the ride description. Either my GPS is wrong, I can’t read, or the next 50 miles have 900 feet of climbing. Something was up and I decided to slow down, have good meal and rest for 5 min. The Ajs Grocery and Deli had really good fries, Pizza and snacks. I don’t drink soda except coke while cycling, so today was cheat day and I had a small can.
Suddenly, my phone received a text from the organizer who was worried if I was okay. My Wahoo tracker (that I had no idea was sharing my location on FB) was showing that the ride has ended, and I am back at the start 🙂 No reception was the actual reason of the bad reporting. The organizer told me as well that the climbing was more like 7000 feet. . . Now I can press on!
The mile marker for our next Control was a bit off by 0.3 miles. When I stopped at the 85.1 mile cue, I was on the intersection of Batha Rd and Highland, and not Batha Rd and Algoniquion Trail. Ahhh . . . I hate going backwards. After only 0.6 additional miles I moved forward, while only taking picture of the info control location. My fingers were still cold, and the sun was nowhere to be seen. In all honesty, I can predict the weather better by just looking at the sky.
Once I reached mile 100, I was smelling the Pizza at the finish line. It was also finally getting warmer. The roads were not chip seal any longer, and the climbing was almost done. There was plenty of debris and fallen trees after the heavy winds a week ago as seen below.
This was more climbing than what I expected. Unfortunately, once I got to VA611-Sowego Rd, I was not feeling it. The pavement was good, but traffic was awful. Cars were passing close, I heard few honking their horns at me.
It was such a relief to get off the main road. Feeling rejuvenated, my average overall speed jumped from 17.2 mph to 17.4 mph during the last hour while averaging over 20 mph during that stretch. Maybe I was going a little too fast and ended up missing the final control by simply relying on my GPS 😊
All in all, a good day on the bike completing 125 miles in under 8 hours. Thanks to Patrick O’Connor for organizing, Mike Wali for helping and the other 14 Randonneurs for having the guts to come out on this cold day. The average temperature was 32 degrees according to my GPS.