Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Getting out of the house

I was thinking last year that getting out of the house was getting easier for two years running as the boys get older and this year would get out even more.  I was wrong.  There never seems time to get out for long rides and most of my miles this year have been commuting miles.  Nevertheless, I have been out on my IF for a couple of hundred miles and on my Surly for mixed surface riding several times.  I really enjoy recreational riding and hopefully I will get more time as the summer unfolds.

I did do a forty miler a couple of weeks ago on this route on a damp and sometimes foggy morning:

on this route. except I did a little side trip to Flint Pond in Lincoln.  Because of the conditions, I kept my lights on for the ride (and got to see how long my Nite Rider lasts on the low setting - 3 hours and counting).  The route covered much of 6 towns and also crossed briefly into Acton.   The ride looks like this:

I believe I mentioned the process before but I used a GPX file generated from ridewithgps.com, although I could have taken it off my Garmin, and pulled the town boundaries from MASSGIS, pulled the towns I wanted using QGIS, and converted them into KML (from their original shapefile format) using OGR2GUI.

I've repeated some variation of this ride 3 times this season.  It's a very easy ride and I know my timing on it pretty accurately so I know I can get home when I need to.  Having said that, the last time I did this ride I had intended to go south to Conant Road and Old Conant Road south of Lincoln center and realized I didn't have time for the extra miles and time that entailed and cut back a shorter way than I planned.

I also did a night right, in preparation for Rob Vandermark's DUTODARI all night ride on the shortest night of the year.  It was over well know routes, including the Minuteman Bike Path, the Reformatory Branch Trail, and Battle Road.  Since the DUTODARI includes dirt, my training ride included dirt.

One lesson learned - when you leave for a ride like this when your wife is asleep, leave prominent notes so you don't get into trouble.

I did the night ride on my Surly, which has the tires for dirt trails and the better lighting system, for now.  I do have lights ready to go on my IF and hopefully I will get a new generator wheel this summer.  The ride was pretty amazing.  I averaged 12 MPH, which isn't bad for night riding that included dirt.  There were a couple of sections of long (enough) wavelength rollers on the Reformatory Branch Trail that were fun but not dangerous.  It was sort of a mild roller coaster, not over the top for the conditions but amusing.  I went out legally lit up (plus a couple of extra headlights and tail lights) with more than adequate reflectors so I felt I was safe as I could be.  And I wasn't on roads all that much either.  I did skip some trails in favor of checking out the NE Randonneurs 300k/200k finish line but my arrival was ill timed.  There was a very unfortunate and fatal airplane accident at the airport and state police were blocking the entrance to the airport.  I saw one randonneur held up with what looked like a ride official coming to the roadblock to try to explain the situation.  I just rode off into the night rather than trying to get past the roadblock.

Hopefully I can report on more long rides later in the summer.  I plan to do Ride Studio Cafe's Pioneer ride this Saturday and have my sights set on some interesting rides later in the summer.  We'll see how it turns out.

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