Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Putting the "Whee!" in Weekend

The RandoDaughter graduated from high school this past weekend. We had lots of family in town, and dinners, and cake, and big breakfasts, and more cake.

RandoBoy goes slow uphill when he is fat with cake.

It was a blast, though, and I was so proud of the RandoDaughter ... but, then I almost always am. She is smart and pretty and funny and talented, of course, but mostly -- as my mom once said -- she "has a good heart." I enjoy being with her, and there aren't too many people that I can say that about.

Riding the Rapha Route

Anyway, after all that cake, and spending Sunday afternoon waiting for the rain (which, of course, never came), I was soooo ready for a long ride on Memorial Day. Fortunately, Gran Fondo (a.k.a., The Greatest Bike Shop in the Universe) had a doozy: Vida Greer's "Killing Me Softly" route in Leiper's Fork.

Vida meticulously created this route to submit to Rapha (makers of some uber-nice cycling stuff) as one of their Rapha Continental epic rides. It does some of the usual roads that we ride down that way, plus a few of the unusual ... and unusually hard ... roads.

Although we started with a bunch of racers, somehow fellow randonneur Peter Lee and I ended up off the front after about 20 miles. He had just done a sub-five-hour century on Saturday -- the Clarksville Rotary Annual Metric (CRAM) -- but you would never have noticed as we swapped off pulls at just under 25 mph. We slowed a bit going up such roads as Ragsdale, which is short but steep, and I slowed down going into corners with gravel.

A few other riders caught up with us as we ate lunch at Fly, but none of them were interested in doing the full 105-mile route. Three tandems rolled in just before we left, but we had been sitting too long by then and needed to move on.

We kept expecting it to start raining, but as we headed south the sun came out. Peter and I missed a turn somewhere in there, so we didn't get to climb up the hill with the cell tower, and then later climb up to Theta. We ended up with only 100 miles, but that was enough to burn off at least two pieces of graduation cake.

Three more rides like that and I'll be able to climb again.

Meanwhile, Further South ...

While we were enjoying short rides (yes, a century is a short ride ... comparatively), Jeff Bauer and Alan Gosart were finishing the new route from the Audax Atlanta sadists: The Long Hammer 600K. Fourteen started ... eight finished (three of them RAAM racers). Need I say more?

If you want to read more about it, RBA Andy Akard posted a great write-up on their site. I talked to Jeff about it last night before the Harpeth Bicycle Club's ride in Cool Springs, and he said it is the hardest 600K he has ever done. It probably didn't help that Jeff had a broken spoke on his rear wheel. He didn't notice it until last night, but sleep deprivation will do that to you.

Jeff described the new route this way: "Imagine doing Six Gaps, and then a 300K, and then doing Six Gaps again."

This one is destined to be epic ... maybe too epic for a Rapha Continental route. I can't wait for next Memorial Day.


  1. I heard there was over 27,000 feet of climbing on that Georgia 600K. Wow!

  2. Just to clarify: I think in terms of terrain -- (elevation, grade pitch, etc.) -- it's the most difficult 600K I've yet rode, but due to the mild weather last weekend (temps in the 70's, overcast skies), it could have be much worse. And probably will be if it's held again next year!