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I believe that the ride length, when combined with the Tabb Scale, works pretty well to describe how much pain you will feel the next day and will suffer getting the ride done.  When I do a cue sheet I post the total gain, the max grade encountered, and usually use either the word "rolling" if it is pretty easy to "hilly" if it is mean.

The problem with the above is exemplified by the CWC and CWC Reversed rides.  The CWC is a pretty easy Century with 7K of climbing.  I know that the CWC Reversed is not really the exact same ride reversed but just the climb up Jack's Mountain from the Covered Bridge side when doing the reversed version, followed with little recovery of climbing up Gladhill, I found it impossible as a relative rookie to big rides many years ago and had to quit.  I've gone back and killed it now that I'm more experienced, but those two climbs, back to back, are freakin' insane, long, hard and just terrible.  The Jack's Mountain part is really steep, and goes on for a long time.  Gladhill was endless while already blown up from Jack's years ago and sent me straight down 550 back to my car with my tail between my legs.

So here we have basically the same ride and in one direction it is pretty tame, in the other, pure torture.  Now, in a bizarre twist, I kind of like the reversed version because it crosses all those miles of cornfields at the start DOWNwind to Gettysburg.  You get it out of the way in a pleasant fashion.  At the end, instead of that pain, you get to plummet down Cunningham falls on 77 from 1700 feet to 550 feet to end it.

So, I don't have the answer to coming up with a quick, short, description that lets various levels of riders gain a real understanding of how "hard" a ride will be.  I do think that you do need to indicate how much 12%+ grade there is and especially how much 14-15% there is because I find that to be back-breaking for many newbies.  The gain is good, but the Tabb scale might be a better "number."  Those 10 sections of rides can blow you up, the long rides that actually are an 8 are pretty deadly, even for strong riders.  A 7 ride (typical for long rides around here, usually 7.5'ish) are a lot easier to deal with.

Then we need to add a wind rating, right?

I don't know, we have had this discussion for YEARS and we've never decided on a standard.  BTW, the "Tabb Scale" is 100 feet of climbing per mile is a ten (10) rating which is very hard.  So, as was pointed out from Janet, while the entire CWC is a low 7'ish rating, when you put most of the climbing in the first 70 miles, it becomes a 10 ride followed by a 1 or 3 ride with headwinds for the final 30 miles!  Even that points out the problem more.


Jun-09-10 01:06 am
Blow by blow account of an eight hour workday in the saddle (long!)
Category: Social
Forum: Ride Reports

Guess what?  The Civil War Century route is better, and harder, with the “Ritchie Upgrade” last year.  The character is changed, and for the better, however it is a tougher course than before, and represents a serious century challenge for cyclists.

Big thanks (again) to Janet Goldstein, our “friendly” BBC Forum moderator, for leading us on a “club ride” version of the fall classic, the BBC Civil War Century (CWC).  Kudos have to be registered for Roger Eastman for carpooling with our driver David Kelling and me today to accomplish his second Century ride in the last two years since getting a leg blood clot on a flight to/from France a while back.  Being another “Clydesdale” like me, this is not a ride in our wheelhouse or forte’.  Something like the Seagull is more appropriate for those of us that make up the “Autobus” at the rear of most climbs but the challenge of climbing is what we seek, so we set out at 8:06 am this morning from Thurmont.

About a dozen folks showed up for this ride and a whole other group was in the lot for another ride adding to the confusion.  With all the dire weather predictions and getting worse on Thursday and Friday, I’m sure and know it scared some folks off.  Those guys (PPTC?) from some other club made some really funny comments about us volunteering to spend 100+ miles with Janet, after she rode her bike down from the back/upper parking lot and chastised us for parking next to the road instead of going to the rear of the park to sign in and get cue sheets.  Man how we love Janet, and we (who love her) can see right through that gruff exterior to her warm and caring interior ?

Terry Harrigan rolled out first and was never seen again.  Turns out he hooked up with Galen later and they must have raced the rest of the way around.  I can’t wait to hear those full stats and Power Tap results.  I’m sure he was out to beat the impending rain.  I doubt any other personal records were set today.  Over half of the crew went out together and pretty much spent the entire day riding as a “pack.”  Every time I saw them the leader was Teacher Bob breaking the wind with everyone huddled behind.  David, Roger and I rolled out well after everyone else and only caught the big group after the full first climb.  Right from the start of the CWC you head up RT-77 next to Cunningham Falls and climb from the ride start at 526’ above sea level to seven miles & thirty-seven minutes later peaking the first major climb at 1700’. 

I blitzed past the gang of six with Roger and David behind and spent most of the next 14 miles descending with four small “steps” over 41 minutes dropping into an even lower valley at 451’.  From there, the second climb (much smaller) began climbing to just under 1000’ 1:46 into the ride.  Just before reaching the first stop there, Phil Feldman who arrived late just as we rolled out had run everyone down up to me.  He and I went up to the rest stop together.  We stopped at the state park for bathrooms and water.  When Roger arrived, he anointed me the “winner” of stage one.

We rolled right back out after chatting with some hikers from Maine (!!) hiking the Appalachian trail (wonder if they saw Gov. Sanford) and it was back down to an even lower valley at 346’ 36 miles in.  I watched as Phil Feldman on the Flying Dishwasher” took off having already said I couldn’t be “baited” into chasing him and watched as Roger took off after him.  I knew that would be then end of him, I’ve done it so many times before ?.  We then climbed up towards Boonsboro, MD for lunch at the Subway.  That was back up near 1000’ then down into Boonsboro at 546’ and 46 miles in.  We had everyone except Terry together for lunch and much laughter with a tiny, almost shower while we were in there.  Round two to Roger without contest.  There were a couple of other instances through the day where it spit a bit but never rained, nothing ever to get drops on sunglasses, so overall a great weather day except for the high humidity and upper 80’s heat.

From there, the “new” CWC route now follows Crystal Falls and then up Raven Rock but now turns off and climbs Ritchie instead of continuing up the more gentle highway grade.  While the new road is great, it is shaded and no cars, but it is so much steeper and so long, it is painful.  I poured water on my helmet at least three times to keep my brain from frying.  Roger needed plain water to do the same but I guess didn’t have it.  I got wound up after lunch and David Kelling was with me but being such a nice guy, David dropped back to ride with Roger while I kept the newly fueled hammer down and rode away.

Raven Rock is mostly 4% to 7% but when you turn up Ritchie (which I found out from a local is called MacAfee Hill) you are assaulted with repeated 7-11% sections and it just climbs seemingly forever with short sections of standing but long sections of just grinding climbing.  Thankfully it is in the shade for the most part and protected though there were changeable winds as we neared the top.  It was hot, glad I kept pouring that water on my helmet.  I learned that after frying my brain on a Blue Ridge Summit Century many years ago.  Teacher Bob and Janet in great form dropped me before we even got to Ritchie and pulled away up the steep climb. 

I caught back up to Janet at Summit, and promptly missed the turn and crossed RT-16 heading backwards down the Blue Ridge Summit route.  The descent down Gladhill was as exhilarating as ever hitting 50 mph but having to burn a lot of brakes as there were sand covered sections from wash out…scary.  Then the climb up the backside of Jack’s Mountain (the much easier side, even with that last 16% nasty top on both sides) leading to another 50 mph descent down the insane side to the covered bridge.

From there, we all met at the store for final fluids and I had to buy electrical tape as my bar tape had become unraveled and the sticky stuff was pulling the bars to the side when I changed hand positions.  Roger and David hadn’t made it by the time we left (turns out David had a double flat on the way) and the whole gang pulled out but I got stymied behind a car blocking the exit for several minutes and by the time I turned out of the gas station, the entire clan was virtually out of sight for good.

There is a little of the roller stuff going back to Thurmont but as anyone has done this ride knows, it is the “death march” into the winds coming off the mountains that makes the last 33 miles just awful for this ride.  We know it, we dread it or forget it but every time you just hate the end as you grind slower and slower and loose your accumulated speed in the last third.  It is not a ride you want to do alone.  A group trading pulls is the only way to make it fun, and I had nobody!  If only there was a way to not have the last 30 miles of the CWC and BRSC be so annoying, they would both be more fun!  I ran down a cramping Mike Craig who was grinding to a slower pace even more than me.

I flaked out in the sun to catch some body rays waiting an hour for David and Roger to get back to the car.  We put everything away slowly and kept an eye on Roger who was repeatedly staggering and wondered if a trip to the ER was in his future but he seemed to get a little less glassy eyed as David drove us back to the P&R at RT-32.

Sadly I’m going to miss this year’s CWC event because I’m crewing for the Avon Walk For Breast Cancer in Santa Barbara that weekend so I’m really glad I got to do it with Janet last Saturday.  It turns out I’m going to miss the Grandmother this year (Tour de Montes Saturday) due to a trip to see Niagara Falls for the first time (and Toronto) so good to get in a century.  Again, thank you all!

Including my little detour & backtrack, my stats are as follows off the Edge 305 (with  adjustments): 107.34 miles in 6 hours and 33 minutes (way off my best ever 6:04!) @ 16.2 mph and 50 mph max (twice).  7,700 calories burned (take that all you skinny guys and gals) and only show around 7000 feet of climbing.  I know this route is/was 7,450 feet so I’m still not trusting these aging and somewhat broken 305’s (I had one on the bars and one in my pocket) on climbing/descending stats.  HR was 173 max and 141 average.

Great day.


Thanks to Alan for catching my 3am cue sheet creation error.  I have uploaded a corrected version of HoCo & Patapsco Metric for Sunday.  One little change near the end.  I'll bring cues in the morning.  If you are seeing this, please print your own and bring.  Stuart


I have created a new Metric Century cue sheet and posted it to the files section of Glenelg Gang and 50+ miles of Howard County Cues section of BBC.  It is called HoCo & Patapsco Metric on BBC on page two of the cues.  It is called "Sanner Metric Clockwise" on Glenelg Gang (to make it clear it isn't a Glenelg departure point).

I will be leading this portion of an unofficial joint APL, BAHC ride which will have 25 and 35 mile cues sheets and welcome anyone who wants to do a 64 mile hilly ride with us on Sunday morning at 10am.  The ride start is 0.6 mi north of Johns Hopkins Road which is the first exit South of RT-32 on RT-29 (West to TL and right on Johns Hopkins Road).  It is 1.2 miles South of the Cedar Lane exit from RT-32 on the left.  Cedar Lane becomes Sanner Road after the TL.

May-09-10 01:30 pm
See My Avitar for What you Clavicle can Look Like!
Category: Technical
Forum: Riding Style

I often mention this at the start of rides this time of year but I want to post it for everyone.  It is always difficult to see road imperfections when going from the bright sun into the shady areas but I find that in May it is particularly bad.  By this time of year I've upgraded to my darkest lenses and one must really concentrate and "peer" and "strain" to see deep into the darkness of each shady spot, particularly after this winter.

Often, those very shady spots are under trees and that is where a lot of the potholes are or patches are.  Be careful out there and don't get yourself ejected at speed like I did five years ago taking Greg C and Mark T with me.  It really messed up our collarbones and our spring/summer.


May-09-10 01:18 pm
A Tale of Wind vs Speed
Category: Social
Forum: Ride Reports

Thanks to Roger for leading an informal local ride out of Columbia today.  With the weather, he decided to substitute the shorter 46 mile "Ride to Lisbon" for my evil 57 mile hilly HoCo Climbing which was a great decision.  Ed C, Chris T, Roger and I started out together and we saw Mike H rolling in after we left.  The first stretch, out West was pretty solid upwind and it was gusty and stiff.  Ed got a pretty good lead on us and finally Roger and Chris dropped off my wheel while I chased.

When we turned onto Linthicum it was virtually downwind and I wasted no time getting into a TT position and hammered past Ed flying up the hill on the other side and stayed well off the front down Greenbridge and up Tridelphia Mill/Tri where I met Mike H who came out past Linthicum to meet up with us timing it perfectly.  We all pounded our way out Jenning's Chapel almost being stopped by the wind at times and finally to the regular stop Shell/High's on Woodbine/Old Frederick.

At this point we had ridden about 30 miles and were only averaging 15.8 mph.  This included the fast run up Linthicum and a really fast run from Hardy down to the rest stop where we were "haulin' the mail" but still under 16mph and it took us 1:53 to go that 30 miles.  Mike and I were trading pulls virtually the entire second half of the ride.

The final 18 miles was a wild ride flying back into Columbia in under 51 minutes at an average speed of over 20.8 mph!!  Mike and I pushed each other hard throughout.  Including my ride to/from the start I got a 47.5 mile loop @ 17.4 average in an ideal 2 hours 44 minutes letting me take Jan out for a Mother's Day brunch at Iron Bridge so a perfect morning.


_ \ <_

Apr-19-10 11:05 am
Great Fun and Pain was Had By All
Category: Social
Forum: Ride Reports

Sunday was just slightly too cool and slightly too windy, but was sunny and a great day for a tough ride starting from Columbia.  We had a nice crowd of over 15 folks come out including some old BBC friends doing their first ride in a while.  I had changed the route from a moderate 77 mile that was too close to the route the past two weekend rides had taken to a totally different, shorter and much harder 58 mile ride with a 46 mile bailout option.
I heard that most did the whole route but that some had enough by the decision point after lunch.  We stopped at Pasta Blitz "to go" next to the Glenwood Community Center in the new strip center there.  They have a small eat-in area with 4-5 two tables and 2 four tables and we shared it with four of HoCo's finest.  They made an excellent "veggie pizza" for us which required no substitutions (broccoli, spinach, red onion, tomatoes) which we ordered with light cheese and it was perfect.  While it is a shade more expensive than our normal stops, it is a good choice now as a real food alternative to the usual High’s stop across the street at the end of McKendree.
I had slightly modified an older cue to add in the lunch stop and made one directional mistake, neglecting to change that line, but I think everyone figured it out since there was no “left” and only a right at Hobbs!  If you missed the ride, I’ll be sure to do it again in the future  and it is in the cue library. 
For those who did it, some hill memories: Folly Quarter, Driver, Henryton, Raincliffe, Forsythe (x all 4), Mt. Tridelphia, Roxbury, Tridelphia Mill and Trotter.  Now how do your legs feel!  Great fun but we did get totally scattered after everyone did something different for lunch but a good time was had by all.
16-1/2 mph average, 58 miles, 4250 feet of climbing, temps felt like upper 30’s to start and 40’s all day even though it got into the 50’s.  Start at 10, end at 3 including a very, very long (and fun) sit down lunch stop.


One more update to this ride.  I'm also bringing cue sheets for a 46 mile version which simply shortcuts the end of the ride.  All of the first 39 miles are exactly the same including the lunch stop.  The one warning (again) is that the temps are going to be 10-15 degrees COLDER this weekend than they have been.  We are looking at 46 degrees at 9am so figure it is going to feel like the mid-40's at our 10am start and it isn't going to get a lot better.  Mid 50's by the end but might feel cooler.

So, great weather, pretty & low traffic roads (mostly), a real lunch stop option at Pasta Blitz on Georgia Ave at McKendree or just a quick stop at that Highs should you want to get home faster and two options, 46 miles or 57.5 miles and you can decide after lunch.  How perfect.  See y'all Sunday morning at 10am.

I'm hosting a ride starting on Sunday the 18th at 10am out of West Columbia a mile in from RT-108 & Homewood (HCV).  Many months ago I posted it as a lovely 77 mile route but it turns out my friends Mike & Mike have hosted VERY similar routes the last two weekends, so for variety, I've changed it to another ride.  We will go "counter-clockwise" instead of "clockwise" and on mostly different roads.  I made it a lot shorter (57 instead of 77 miles) partially because it has a lot of climbing and also because everyone seems to be slow to get their legs this spring due to "the worst freakin' winter of my life."

For the benefit of Mark T. and the other Tax Accountants, if they survive their torture ride on Saturday, there is a new lunch stop across from the High's at McKendree/Georgia (Pasta Blitz) or there is an excellent Afghan place at the end so the ride can be extended and include a social hour in the middle and/or end.

The weather report is for sunny and little chance of rain, but a low of 47 so it will be chilly low –to-mid 50’s to start and a high of 62’ish about the time we end so I’ll probably do tights, half tights (knickers) or maybe shorts but will layer up top probably with a short sleeve base layer and long sleeve jersey or arm warmers, light wind breaking shoe covers and glove liners (long) under regular gloves with ear covers and should be comfy after warming up.  There are hills and a “secret” natural spring to sample in the first hour.  All paces are welcome but it is posted as 15+ since there are some double digit grades.  I will be doing about 16 mph so I’ll probably be in the second group on the road after a few climbs, I will not be sweeping any slower riders but can SAG after the ride with a call on my cell (on the cue).

The “new” cue sheet is posted under Howard County, 50+ miles and is called HCV – HoCo Climbing 57.  Make sure you choose the fifty-seven mile version of this multi distance ride.

Apr-10-10 09:54 am
Category: Technical
Forum: Riding Style

I said it was a "giant gravel chunk" which I believe the word GIANT is appropriate.  True, I did blow by it and not look at it for half an hour, but I also don't think it was a block of concrete though you guys certainly had a lot longer than my two seconds to evaluate what it actually was.

I don't see any real gross mis-representation of facts here...SAM.

What I do now see that I have been given some more facts from your "rant" is that there may well be some transference going on here which I suspected but never brought up.  I saw the "cobble" which is a good term for it (it would be a "small cobble" in my mind but I wouldn't want to be accused of trying to minimize it's actual size, but I do think that 6" is a huge exaggeration).  I successfully warned my trailing riders about the obstacle in the road, Carl and Sam failed to adequately warn their trailing rider (Mike) about the danger.  I'm not saying they didn't try, and Isaias put it best about everyone having to watch out for themselves.

I have let Mike know offline that I meant no harm to him and didn't want him to think that I just didn't care about the rock or his fall and I'm sure he knows this.  The problem is that five years ago next month I didn't see a really nasty pothole hiding in the shade which I hit at 25+ mph on front of a large group in an 18+ ride and not only broke my clavicle but caused injuries and property loss to several others.  Almost everyone assured me it was just a normal danger (some indirectly blamed me) of our sport but I always have felt guilty about hurting Ed Condo and Mark T. and damaging their bikes/equipment.

I have worked VERY hard since then to warn people on these spring rides about peering deep into shady spots and being VERY careful when going from light to dark on the road in shady areas, especially if wearing dark sunglasses.  I have also worked VERY hard to point out and even yell and call out dangers much more than in the past since that incident.

Oh well, we now have comments well before this thread about another subject, dating back to last year, voiced again this year (on that other subject), being amplified by another person never involved before, causing people to be called out personally by name, flaming into a firestorm that is now club wide, and some of those individuals seeming to want retribution or payback for being personally indicted in public, which leads to sniping and griping all around. 

Thanks for all the offline support and recommendations.  I'm going back to riding, hope to see y'all at Atholton HS here in an hour for Mike's ride and I'll try to avoid reacting to the attacks on the forums and List-Serves so everyone else can live in peace and harmony.  If I get killed on today’s ride, then this crud would end up being my legacy and I wouldn’t want that.

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