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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So a month or so ago I signed up for the Montgomery County Epic (MocoEpic as it is called) out here where I live in MD. There were several distances you could sign up for (kids 10 miler, 25, 35, 45, and a 62 miler). I went with the 35. I chose this distance for a couple of reasons but namely because I can't seem to get any training rides in beyond 20 miles but also because I have ridden just about all the locations that were covered in the other distances and I sort of wanted to hit some areas that I had never ridden before.

In any case, I have been doing battles with cramps in my quads the past couple of months whenever the distances exceed 15 miles. Not sure what is going on. I have tried just about everything I can think of so far. I can say that I have not been dehydrated (trust me I know what that feels like having been given an IV before as treatment for it). None the less with all my past years/experience as a road racer (cat 3), being in the Army as a Ranger, I have not been able to completely resolve this issue. But I won't go into details about all that here since that is not what the post is about.

We set out at about 9:30 in the morning and had great weather and great trail conditions (minus a few mud holes from the 3-4 days of rain we got last week). We had aid stations about every 8-10 miles (hit 3 of them on our route) and all were kick a$$ and provided great support.

At about mile 14 the cramps started hitting my quads so I got to suffer through the last 23 miles of the ride (yep, we rode 37 miles due to missing two different turns and having to back track). It sucked! But I did it. It was odd because aside from the cramps, I truely felt great! I was not tired in the least and felt like I could have simply kept riding.

So we ended up doing 37 miles in about 4:10 of riding time (5 hours total due to the aid station stops and my stopping frequently to stretch my quads). Total elevation was about 2900 ft (nothing special) that had two different climbs that peaked at 13.6% grade (not cool on a SS). One was on a road and another was in the woods. I must say, the one in the woods was easier than the street. That one started out at 7% and from top to bottom was about 1/2 mile long and just kept going and increasing in grade.

Honestly, it was a blast (despite the cramping) and I am planning to do the 45 miler next year! Can't wait (just gotta figure out what the hell my body is doing right now-going to the doctors tomorrow).

So without further ordo, here are a couple of quick pics of me out there suffering. Also included a pic of what I was riding. Not much has changed other than going back to a straight post, tires, and new brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can see what you are saying there. I am a little too far forward however, it was not that steep at that particular section of that climb. The photos were shot right as you come through what I call the Pine Forest. You and I rode there and stopped for a break at the top before heading back on the trail towards the end of the race loop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well after a week off the bike trying to get my quads to recover from all the dang cramping I finally made it out for a quick ride on Saturday morning. Well it was supposed to be in the morning but after surviving my daughters sleep over with 11 young teenage girls up giggling all damn night it was more like noon.

None the less, I took off for a spin dressed like a euro raodie (yep, nicker leg warmers and all). I think the temp was in the mid 50's when I set out but it felt great. I raised my seat about 1/2 cm and strapped a tube/CO2 to the post and headed out without a hydration pack (slapped a water bottle cage on the bike again).

I can say that my lower back never got sore at all! And what was supposed to be a quick 1 hour/10 miler turned into almost 2 hours and 17.6 miles. Every time I hit a point where I had the choice to turn and head back home I simpy kept going. I felt great. No cramps, no lower back pump feeling, and the bike was working great. It was all on my local trails so there really wasn't anything special mind you. Just some great weather and beautiful fall scenery (that means frickn leafs all over the place!). Best of all, NO CRAMPING!

I had very little to eat prior to the ride but took a Gatorade Prime and then a PowerGel at the 8 mile mark and drank water. I tried to keep things as simple as possible in an effort to help figure out what might be causing the cramps. I even tried to ride at about the same pace as usual. I did start feeling a little tired toward the end but certainly feel I could have gone further had I had more time and brought more water with me. In the end however, I was on my street about a block away from the house when the wife called asking where I was and if everything was ok since I was gone much longer than I had previously stated. (basically griping about how long I was gone)

So unfortunately, I did not get any picks of me in my euro kit but here's one of the bike with its nifty tube strapped to it! (post ride, note the mud) I'm not entirely sure why I did that. I highly doubt that I would even swap the tube into a sealant soaked tire out on the trial (what a frickn mess that would be). Most likely, I would simply call the wife to come get me. Not that a tube would have helped much the other day had I torn a sidewall since my Park tire boot was still in my hydration pack (something I thought about while out on the ride).

And here is a link to my garmin data from the ride. As mentioned nothing special. Just me tooling around.

Untitled by got1spd at Garmin Connect - Details
 

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fwiw, I gave up on trying to use a hydration pack while riding single speed. For me, all the upper body movement required to climb made the pack move around too much. Tightening all the straps down to minimize the movement just hurt and the added weight on my lower back from the pack didn't help. I'm 100% back to bottles for SS.

On my geared bike where I can just sit and spin, packs have never bothered me..
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am sure that I have experienced the lower back pumps while riding without a pack (though I just can't pin point specific rides off the top of my head) however, I can honestly state that I did not get that feeling 3-5 miles into a ride as I have with a pack recently.

My pack stays in place pretty good at this point but the difference between the new pack and the old one is a waist strap. I took the one off my old pack at some point and never found it again. The new one has one built in (non removeable) and I have been using it (there is a way you can secure it on the back if you don't want to use it). Makes me wonder if that is part of the reason I get the back issues. Hmm, not going to worry about that right now. Bottles it is. If I go out in some 20 degree weather to ride then perhaps I will use a pack but for now, I am back to bottles as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
just to elaborate

I forgot to add the other highlight of the ride. There is a section of the trail where you have to make a turn that is about 70 degrees or so to the left and then it immediately goes up hill for about 30 yards. Nothing too drastic mind you though you end up standing about half way simply due to the terrain (washout area). I hit the turn pretty quick and was pretty much booking up the climb. At about the half way point when I stood up I saw a guy with his son at the top. I assumed they were taking a break but did the courteous thing and asked if they were ok. All I heard was the son (maybe 14) say, "holy crap! He's only got one gear and he doesn't look tired". The dad replied just as I passed them, "Nope, we're good. Then to his son said, we didn't stop because we were tired, my gears weren't shifting" Too funny!

Keep in mind that I passed them at about 3 miles into my ride. I then road out another 3.5 miles to my first turn around point and headed back. At about the 12 mile point I came out to the other end of the trail (well not the end but a point where it crosses a streeet-sort of a trail head if you will where folks park and head off in either direction on the trail) and the same two guys were loading up their bikes on the back of their truck. The son started yelling again about how I was still riding. I ended up stopping right behind their truck to wait for traffic and then ended up answering all of the normal SS questions:

Why SS?
How do you do it?
Is it hard only having one gear?
Is that Carbon Fiber?
What cranks are those?
How much does it cost to go SS?
Is it lighter?
Do you have a geared bike?
What, no shock?
Why not?....

Pretty funny stuff. In the end, maybe I helped light the SS fire in the young lad. Especially after he picked up my bike and saw how much lighter it was than his FS bike. (low end fs mind you)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Got out for a quick ride this evening. Managed to squeak in about 9.5 miles. I haven't been trying to ride fast for a while now as I was more focused on seat time/distance. But I wanted to get a hard ride in. By hard I mean push myself a bit. I managed to hold a 10.5 mph average speed for the ride so I am happy even though the elevation gain was only about 600'. I know, nothing to brag about but for not racing around the trails lately, it was fun and I was definitely getting a workout. I passed a guy on the way out maybe 2 min from my turn around point. So of course I gave chase on the way back and finally caught up with him at a street crossing. he was up on the hill standing next to his bike. I yelled out to him "why did you stop?" as a car went by and he said, I knew you were coming and I couldn't hold the pace any longer. I was like, thank God because I was actually starting to suffer a bit and all the leafs covering the roots weren't helping me any. None the less, I had a blast!

So here is the Garmin link for the little loop.

Untitled by got1spd at Garmin Connect - Details
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well my schedule has had me off the bike for at least the past 5 days but I made it out last night for what was to be a quick 10 miles due to darkness setting in. Then I remembered I had a lighting system!!!

So I set out on my normal trail and when I hit the first trail head after about 2 miles I ran into a friend of mine that I have not ridden with in years (he was always super fast and was racing mtb's back when I raced road bikes). We were heading the same direction so we took off. I let him lead since he was on a FS and the next section of hill was pretty much all a gradual downhill. As the climbs came I was riding right on his wheel. He offered to let me pass but I told him he would just fly right back by me on next downhill. This lasted for the next two climbs until we finally hit a little clearing where he told me to go ahead of him. I ended up gapping him and eventually slowed up as we headed to the trail head where some of his friends were to meet him for the ride back.

We chatted for about 10 minutes and then his buddies rolled up. 3 more guys, 2 on FS and one HT, all had gears (dumbasses!). I knew one of the guys and had ridden with him a couple of months ago. The guy was pretty fast and I was definitely getting a workout on that ride. So when we headed back, I went ahead and told them to go ahead of me and I would pull up the rear. As the climbs came I started passing them one by one. Well, I can't say passing them, I mean they pulled over and let me go by for the most part. Eventually I made it up to the my buddies wheel. He looked back and said, "OMG, it's you!". He then shifted gears and dropped the hammer as we headed into a climb. About mid way up he was shifting again. He was staying seated during the climb but now spinning at like 9000 rpm. I buzzed his tire and then pulled up next to him where the trail widened and said, "lets go!" He looked over, dropped his head, shifted up a gear and stood up. As his bike did a little pogo action I pulled on ahead of him and kept my rythm. At the top, I had about 50 yrds on him and I just kept my pace. As we headed back out to the street we eventually all regrouped as we headed back towards the first trail head where I met my first buddy. I could hear them chatting about wanting to get on a SS over the winter to help them get stronger but how they were surprised that I was in the saddle riding up some of the climbs they were spinning up and barely moving on. As we hit the trail head, the fast guy (Matt) said, "I hope you did not blow yourself up on that last climb as the riding has just begun". My response was priceless judging by his reaction. "Nope, I'm only about 2 miles out from my house". He started yelling at my other buddy for letting him chase me down and push the pace. He started complaining about how the rest of the ride was going to suck because he was going to be suffering. Man, I tell ya, it was great! But it gets better!

Later last night I connected the Garmin because it needed to be charged. So I went ahead and downloaded it as well. I was looking over some of the data from past rides and then saw that my ellapsed ride time for last night was about 1h:10min or so. I figured that was proably do to my stopping and chatting during the link up points. Then I saw the ride time (time in motion) and it was 47:56! Holy crap, that is the fastest I have ever ridden this loop. My previous time was 52 something for this 9.75 mile loop. I tell ya, nothing compares to having some fast riding buddies with you! Just awesome. Better yet, no cramping. Though I thought my monitor was broke because every time I looked at that thing it was reading 176 bpm! I was definitely pushing my pace but over all it was great.

Ok, just had to share!
 
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