Subject: Ride Report - PPTC 300km brevet [long]
Date:     Sun, 17 May 1998 12:18:22 -0400
From:    Alan Felsen <>
To:         WHIRL <>

        On May 9th (the week before the Big Ride) I attempted the PPTC 300km brevet.  I wish I could report on the entire ride but I DNF'd and turned it into a century ride.  I rode a Vision R-44 SWB/USS/FS (full suspension) and was the only recumbent on the ride.

        After days and days of rain the morning of May 9th approached with only light drizzle and cloudy skies predicted.  The weather and my general lack of training (less than 100 miles ridden since the 200km brevet 4 weeks earlier) made me question whether I was going to even attempt the ride.  My original plan was to get to bed very early on Friday so I would start the ride well rested, but I was already running about 10 hours short on sleep for the week. I initially decided not to do the ride, then at about 10:30pm I got everything ready and set my alarm for 3:00am.  I figured I'd see what the weather was like in the morning and decide then.  I awoke at 2:45am before the alarm went off and made my mind up.  Forget it.  Back to sleep.  At 3:00am the alarm went off and I changed my mind again, got up, and headed for the ride start.
        As we started the ride from Frederick at 5:00am and for the first several hours we encountered nothing more than a mist and wet roads.  The route headed north into steady headwinds and climbed (and climbed, and climbed) into Cunningham Falls State Park.  As long climbs go this one wasn't too bad.  It was a very scenic road with a creek rushing downhill next to the road and tall trees arching overhead.
        The ride continued north into Pennsylvania and more headwinds, and into the first real drizzle of the day.  The cue sheet was marked with a two peaked mountain icon to indicate major climbs and a one peaked icon for smaller climbs.  The road into Cunningham Falls State Park rated the two peaked icon.  In 14 miles near mile 60 (? - I can't find the cue sheet) there were 5 single icons and one double on 7 consecutive roads.  This was as we went toward and then over Big Flat Ridge.  I had a rear flat on one of the climbs which gave me a much needed rest while I stopped to patch it.
        The weather improved a little with the rain letting up and the sun trying to make an appearance.  The 4 mile descent off of Big Flat Ridge would have been a real thrill if it had been 10 degrees warmer and the roads had been dry.  As it was my legs were getting stiff and I had to keep pedaling to keep them from turning to stone.
        As we approached the town of Brookside I ran out of water in my Camelback and was extremely hungry.  I stopped at a store for a sub and a drink, then partially filled the Camelback and continued on to the second control point.  Because of my flat tire and long stop for food (and my 11.0 mph average rolling speed to that point) I made it to the control 5 minutes after it closed.  Since I wasn't planning to continue the brevet series and wasn't worried about qualifying, this wasn't a big deal, but as I approached the control I had made my mind up.  Time to bail out.  I decided that being cold, wet, and sleep deprived was too much like work for me (literally... I get plenty of that on the job).  The hills and headwinds had made the first 100km of this ride harder than the entire 200km ride a month earlier.
        We were about 90 miles into the ride and in Bloserville, PA, just northwest of Carlisle.  I called home and my wife was gracious enough to make the two hour drive up to Carlisle to rescue me.  I rode a few more miles with two other riders I had caught up to at the second control.  We then split up as they continued on the route and I turned towards Carlisle and the exit from I-81 where I was going to meet my wife.  Just as I arrived at the designated point my computer clicked over to 100.0 miles.

Vital Statistics:
Planned distance: 192 miles
Completed distance: 100 miles
Average speed (rolling): 11.6 mph
Total time on bike:  8.55 hours
Total time: ~11 hours
Max. speed:  36.0 mph
Total climb:  way too much