PBP training in the Maryland hills

After spending last weekend mostly loafing around, Mary and I signed up for a 200 kilometer permanent ride on Saturday – and it was a good move.

Back in the saddle

Normally we would hold off on a ride this long, so soon after the 600K we rode two weeks ago. Our heads say we are fully recovered – we’ve caught up on our sleep and most of the aches have gone away – but our legs are still heavy.

Gardner and Mary

This being a PBP year, though, it seemed like we could use the extra miles. We are feeling the PBP vibe strongly now, having completed the registration process last week. We will depart with the 84 hour group at 4:45 a.m. Monday Aug. 19. Tandems, velomobiles and recumbents get a 15-minute head start, something we really liked when we rode in 2011.

Overtaken by a sprayer

Plus, we had the incentive this week of joining a group ride. Our local randonneur chief and riding pal Gardner D. invited folks to join him on a ride from Frederick, Maryland that he wants to stage as a D.C. Randonneurs brevet, and the weather looked perfect.

We could ride our own pace and it wasn’t a qualifier, so a 200K seemed fine. We got up at 4:45 a.m., downed a quick coffee and drove the tandem to Frederick for the 7 a.m. start.

It’s official, summer has begun

We’re glad we did! We were the only takers other than Gardner, so the three of us headed out to the hills east and north. The forecast called for warm temperatures, but with low humidity and a light northwest breeze.

I got out one of my summer jerseys and the white socks I wear in hot weather. I left the rain jacket in the car. Summer was here, and frankly we really wanted to dig into final training rides before PBP.

Lots of miles on quiet farm roads

I split the route into two segments to use on our Garmin GPS: Part 1 and Part 2. I like to break up rides of more than 100 miles into parts. I’ll explain why in an upcoming post.

The route is a posted permanent called Damsel’s Detour. See it at Ridewithgps. You can see our track on Garmin Connect.

The tandem cockpit, bristling with gadgets


The route is never flat, but has no sustained climbing. It has lots of turns. And, yes, our legs were not firing at 100 percent. But the roads were very quiet, save for one stretch that Gardner plans to address with some re-routing. (That stretch led to a Sheetz, where coffee was consumed, so all it was worth it.)

We enjoyed sunny skies and lots of valley views in return for the many hills along the way. Not all was perfect, but that’s randonneuring.

We were a little tired, but ended the day happy for the outing

The tandem made a creaking noise from the rear wheel when we stood up, something we’ve had on and off on past rides. I dropped out the wheel at a rest stop, tightened the rear fender stay bolts, and reinstalled the wheel with the quick release tightened down extra snug. The noise disappeared. Spooky!

Co-Motion used replaceable rear dropouts, and I wonder if I need a quick release skewer with more bite. It could have been the fender was rubbing, too.

I also had some minor saddle irritation and thought raising the saddle nose a pinch would help. That was a mistake. Eight miles from the finish, we had to stop and restore it, as my hamstring started to ache and I felt like I was sliding off the back.

Mary has had a sore tendon in her hand, and it flared up a little by the end. We’re going to look at her handlebar setup.

That was about it; not bad for a re-entry ride after the brevet series. We plan something closer to a 300K this coming weekend from home that will involve a stop in Shepherdstown, West Virginia for lunch and espresso. After that we will prep for our 4th of July weekend roundtrip to Pittsburgh from Cumberland, Maryland, via hilly back roads and the GAP Trail.

Have a great week, and thanks for reading.

6 thoughts on “PBP training in the Maryland hills

  1. Sounds like a good ride. When I recently had a similar creak from the back wheel on my Moots, it turned out that the rear axle (of the PowerTap hub) was cracked! The only thing holding it together was the pressure from the thru-axle bolt. But I maybe that couldn’t happen with a standard quick release setup.

  2. What a great day! Hope to ride with you soon. The mere fact that you soled a mysterious creak mid-ride confirms that you are a bike whisperer.

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