Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rapha Festive 500 - messy commute


I had reservations about commuting to work on Tuesday the 28th.  I do not have fenders attached to my 'cross bike yet so I figured if I made it to work I'd be very dirty and wet.  The side roads were still messy and sometimes unplowed.  

The northern half of the path along side the west side highway was untouched by a blade.  So I road past Columbia Med. on Ft Washington then went down the hill to Riverside Dr where I commuted through a very wet, dirty brown slush.

Eventually I arrived at 96th st and the path was plowed that led to the greenway.  I decided to hop on it, mostly to escape the nasty slush, but didn't make it very far before it became impassable.

So I tossed the bike on my shoulder for a little 'cross practice and started running through the snow.  The path opened up again a few hundred meters down so I performed an ugly mount with a bootie hanging off the shoe and was on my way to Riverside Dr again.  At 59th st, I headed towards the bike path and was happy to find it was mostly clear.

Commuting home after work turned out to be uneventful.  I took the same way I came in the morning, and got even more slush sprayed on my rear.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rapha Festive 500 - post blizzard, ride?


Data after five days:
distance - 229.5km
time - 9.16hrs

elevation gain - 3223m

The blizzard came.  It snowed about 20" over most of NYC, and due to the wind there are huge drifts of snow everywhere.  I had doubts that the 27th's ride would be very successful due to the unplowed streets.

Some of the main streets appeared to be reasonably plowed, but not really safe to ride on due to the giant plow trucks.  Once I got to a side street, the snow was now present on the road and I had to dismount a few times in some deeper sections.  Then up the road near where I turned around the snow was unplowed and about two feet deep and a number of cars were completely buried.

So I turned around and limped home down Broadway.

Distance:  1.29 miles

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rapha Festive 500 - the blizzard ride


Data after four days:
distance - 227.5km
time - 9hrs

elevation gain - 2974m

On the 26th, A blizzard warning was in effect starting around noon so we left CT early Sunday AM, and I eagerly anticipated my planned ride along the west side bike path in Manhattan starting a little after 1pm.

The weather quickly deterioated as I headed south.  The nor'easter wind increased throughout the day and made it a quick ride despite the steadily increasing snow on the path.

Eventually the wind grew so strong I started considering the return north to my apartment.  The snow was blowing and drifting and I soon learned that the studded snow tires do not perform well through drifts with depths of snow exceeding roughly 4 inches.  They were ok in deeper snow as long as it was a consistent depth.

I turned around where the path was blocked by construction south of the Goldman Sachs building.  I was quickly greeted with huge gusts of wind and snow.  What followed was an intense battle grinding my way along the path in 38x26.  Icy snow consistently stung my face.

My average speed was 19.4mph southbound.  After finishing the ride my avg speed was 12.4mph on a mostly flat, smooth paved road and I was working hard!  Near the end, my favorite part of the ride, there are some large steps that I ride both ways on my daily commute.

Time:  124 minutes
Distance:  26 miles

Friday, December 24, 2010

Rapha Festive 500

Data after three days:
distance - 186km
time - 473 minutes
elevation gain - 2811m

For the next seven days, I'm going to be taking part in Rapha's Festive 500.

I originally had a goal of 1300km, but after riding on the studded snow tires a few days I quickly realized I would not be covering as many miles due to the very high resistance of the Schwalbe winter marathons. How about 1000km now???

Day 1
I awoke at 6am and was greeted outside by dark skies and a 24F temperature with a windchill of 15F. I headed out for a 2 hour bistate ride before work on Stinky Pink with a backpack loaded for work. I started in the dark over the George Washington Bridge, and was eventually greeted with beautiful views of the Hudson while heading north on River Rd in NJ. I rode about halfway on River Rd then turned around and started towards work. A great way to start the day.


Time: 137 minutes
Distance: 36.1 miles

Day 2

For the second day of the Festive, Stinky Pink was loaded on to the back of the car and headed north from NYC to northwestern CT. Often I ride all the way from my apt in Manhattan to my parents place, but the studded tires make me go so slow I'd be on the road for 8 hours in sub-freezing weather riding in a headwind all day long...wah wah. Anyways, I opted to be dropped off north of the city and get in a nice 40 mile ride through the country to their house.


Lots of climbing averaging 100ft per mile, very cold with a windchill around 20F, and a constant headwind made this a deceivingly tough ride. My avg speed is so low I wonder if I'm losing my fitness.

I arrived at my parents house roughly 3 hours after being dropped off.  I couldn't feel my fingers, but otherwise felt great!

Time:  158 minutes
Distance:  39.8 miles

Day 3

For my third day, XMAS DAY, I took stinky pink out for a jaunt around the Washington, CT area.  Lots of climbing again averaging 100ft+ per mile.  Roughly half the ride was on dirt roads with a smattering of single and double track and big road climbs. Another day of sub-freezing weather, but today I put warmers on both my hands and feet hoping I'd be able to make it for more than a few hours before freezing.  Success!  Near the end my fingers started chilling a bit, but I think I finally have my winter kit nailed.


Time:  177 minutes
Distance:  39.7 miles