So the following communique came down the pipe...
" We’re riding from Homestead to Ohiopyle and back in May... We’ll ride out at 6am to Ohiopyle, grab lunch, and ride home. Dinner and celebratory beers at D’s. Join us and do all of it or some of it. It’ll be 0-135 miles. We plan to keep up a 15mph pace. No entry fee, no insurance, no waiver, no SAG wagon. Just a bike and a trail."
I am, shall we say, intrigued. These guys are planning on doing this ride out and back on the Great Allegheny Passage as a training ride for a longer event they're doing later this year.
I floated the test balloon idea past the DW, and she seemed amenable. Hmmmmm.
I have had the goal of riding a century for a while, but haven't committed the time and resources to complete one. 2012's long ride was a metric century at a pace of 12.38mph over a course that is much more rigorous than the GAP.
The GAP elevation chart indicates that the maximum grade is 1.5%.
For comparison, the elevation profile for the metric century I rode looked like this.
Mileage would be in the neighborhood of 136 miles, plus mileage to and from the trail head in Homestead. Approximate projected ride time averaging 15mph would be 6:40:00, not including pit stops/lunch. 2012 long ride, the metric century, took me 5:27:59 hours. Roughly an extra hour of saddle time, assuming I can generate the power and sustain my speed to keep up and barring unforeseen hurdles. Doable.
I know these guys are fast, so if I were to get dropped or had a major mechanical, it's not like I couldn't finish getting home or call for a bailout.
Like how I ended up running my first 5K, a window has opened, it's up to me to decide how to react. I've already begun boning up on my reading and research.
All right, then, bring it! Let's go! www.youtube.com/watch?v=
Time to get uncomfortable.
Edit: Huh. I guess if I complete this ride, it would be an unofficial brevet. Would that make me a unintentional randonneur? Interesting.
"What is a "randonneur"?
There is no direct English translation of the French term "randonnée", which loosely means to go on a long trip, tour, outing, or ramble, usually on foot or on a bicycle, along a defined route. A person who goes on a "randonnée" is called a "randonneur". (The correct French term for a female participant is "randonneuse", but such distinctions are often lost in America, where we tend to lump everyone together). In cycling, it means a hard-riding enthusiast who is trying to complete a long randonnée inside a certain time allotment. Note that a randonnée is not a race. Overall, about the only thing being first earns is some bragging rights. It is not uncommon for the last finishers to get as much applause as anyone else. Indeed, there is much camaraderie in randonneuring. One does it to test oneself against the clock, the weather, and a challenging route - but not to beat the other riders.
In comparison to other forms of competitive long-distance cycling, such as at the Race Across America (RAAM), where there are following cars with crews supporting the riders every inch of the way, randonneuring stresses self-sufficiency. Help can only be given at the checkpoints along the route, so support crews (if there are any) must leapfrog the rider. Any rider caught receiving assistance from a support crew in-between checkpoints (or, "contrôles" as they are commonly called) will be subject to a time penalty, or even disqualification. Randonneurs are free to buy food, supplies, or bike repairs at any stores they encounter along the route. Once riders have successfully completed a 200-kilometer "brevet", they are entitled to be called a "randonneur" or "randonneuse". "