Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Frederick v. Miami

Guest Blogger: Jeff Schalk

I’m really happy with the riding in our new city. The Watershed/Gambrill is really fun, but also impressive is the insane amount of climbing that can be found on the road. The mountain ridge of Catoctin isn’t any taller than 2000’, yet a ton of steep roads climb up to it. So, since moving here, I’ve been working on putting together a really harsh loop that would officially be the steepest road ride I’ve ever done (most climbing per distance). I’m a numbers geek, so this kind of thing appeals to me. I also like a good soul-crushing training session… if you crawl home in tears, then you had a great day at the office. After several attempts, I finally nailed a good loop: 10,200’ of climbing in 85 miles. Also, the loop never uses any road more than once, never crosses over itself and never has an out and back kind of situation – no one likes that, NO ONE.
This fall has been particularly cold, so I was very much looking forward to the warmth of Miami. I thought: “I don’t care how flat it is, it’s going to be much better to be warm for a change.” Wow, I was really really really ridiculously wrong. Riding in Florida is a lot like riding a trainer outdoors, a simulation of a simulation of the real thing. I probably could’ve put a trainer in the back of my pickup truck and had Anna drive around while I pedaled and I wouldn’t have noticed the difference. For instance, we rode out and back in the Everglades and I logged in 115 miles and 20’ of climbing (okay, that’s an exaggeration… maybe I should count the 2’ that I had to lift the bike up to get it into the back of the pickup). Also, the road did gradually bend leftish, adding a bit of technical challenge. Oh, and I saw an Alligator. But, I think I would’ve had to have seen a continuous herd of gators snapping at my heels to keep that road exciting. Yes, the Everglades are beautiful, but all the makeup in the world can’t hide an ugly face.

To sum up:
Frederick riding: _/\_/\_/\_/\__ ‘getting some!’_/\_/\_/\_/\_
Miami riding: ____________‘are you fricking kidding me?’______________

I should also mention that it was exciting to coordinate the on-bike food with the two different climates. For Frederick, I’ve been using PowerGel Bursts… holy crap! So good, they taste like candy. I want to go ride my bike just so that I get to eat candy all day. And I’m not just saying that – I’m not the type to pretend that Carob is the same as Chocolate, nor do I proclaim Vegan baked goods to be ‘just as good’ (shame on you people, SHAME on you). Then to contrast, for Miami, I used the PowerBar Smoothie flavors. Also amazing! Take a delicious tropical smoothie, harden it, smoosh it into a rectangle, and poke an umbrella into the side of the wrapper.


Rob said...

Wow, a guest writer! How special. Spice things up. I got really excited and had to comment when you mentioned the powerbar smoothie flavors because the first time I tried one, it was so delicious and so incredibly smoothie-like that it changed my whole world. I love the idea of poking an umbrella through it.

Anna said...

Jeff is happy to know that you are equally as stoked on the powerbar smoothie flavors.

Darren said...

Anna, Jeff,
Can you post the bike route that has that is the 85 miles with 10,000 feet of climbing?

Anna said...

Sorry it to me so long to get back to you! Jeff just send me a link to his monster loop:



camps said...

Check out Zittlestown Road, Harp Hill Rd, Mt. Tabor Rd and Coxey Brown. Some good stuff near you

Anna said...

Not to worry, we've got it covered.

Anna said...

Hope to see you at this year's SS Punk Bike Enduro again!