Long rides so far this March

Mar 14, 11:58 AM

A mid-month report: I’ve been keeping up with my self-imposed schedule for training, including a mix of commuting, after-work rides, and long weekend rides.

March 6-7: 21 + 45 miles

Saturday, March 6, was a warmish sunny day. Jennifer and I decided to take the rail trails from Hadley to Look Park in Leeds (Northampton) and back. From home, we rode over Mount Warner and then down Route 47 to North Lane and West St., where we picked up the Norwottuck Rail Trail. At the end of that trail we crossed Damon Road and followed the extension to its end on Woodmont St. A short jaunt on North St., King St., Finn St., and State St. took us to the Northampton Bike Path, which we followed to Look Park. We did a tour of the park and then rode back along the trails to East St. in Hadley, then north to Rocky Hill Road, Breckenridge, and thence back home. It was about 21 miles total.

The next day I decided to go out for another 25+ miles to make my 45-mile training goal for the weekend. I headed up toward Leverett and then Lake Wyola, torn between turning around (which would have made for a 28- to 32-mile ride) and heading north to Wendell. The lure of the unknown won out, so I headed north, and up, to Wendell. There I headed west toward Mormon Hollow Road, where I had a thrilling descent that was my reward for the climbs—over Cave Hill, up from East Leverett to Lake Wyola, and then up even more to Wendell. I took my camera with me; pictures are on my Flickr site, and the route map is here.

Overall I climbed 2900 vertical feet, according to my cyclocomputer, the vast majority of it between miles 4 and 22. Not bad preparation for the Berkshire Brevets.

March 13: 50 miles in cold rain

The week of March 8 I commuted 4 days and got in one post-work ride of 12 miles or so. Riding after work should be easier now that daylight saving time has started. The weekend was forecast to be lousy, though: temperatures in the low 40s, rain, and strong winds. Nonetheless, I suited up on Saturday morning and went out for a ride. I decided on a 25-mile loop to Montague, up Route 47 and back on Route 63, with options for bailing out and doing shorter loops at several points. When I started, it was raining lightly and the wind was against me. Around mile 14 the rain let up and the wind was helping me out; I was feeling OK except for my cold toes. I got home, had a snack, changed shoes, and set out again, intending to do the loop again but leaving open the possibility of bailing out. The new shoes weren’t much help: in fact, they left my toes feeling not only cold and damp but also numb. And it started to rain again. But I finished the second loop, feeling tired but content. I didn’t take any pictures, but the route map is here.

Coming attractions

We’ll probably go down to New Haven next weekend to visit a friend, do some work at Yale’s library, and see some sights, so I’ll probably do a long ride on Wednesday. It’s spring break, so I won’t do as much commuting, though I do have a meeting Tuesday.

Six weeks to go until the 200K brevet. I’m on track to be prepared, though I need to do some speedwork if I want to finish much ahead of the limit. My goal is to average 20 km/h including stops; right now I’m just a little over that on my long rides—but without stops.

Brian W. Ogilvie

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