Monthly Archives: August 2011

Hello, My Name Is…

Name decals for your bike are not just for pros–they have many other uses as well:

  • Identification on organized tours: While there is rarely ever a problem with a bike being handed to the wrong person off the truck, having a name tag on your bike makes it crystal clear who owns what
  • Cycling, like soccer, is an international sport. You can celebrate that diversity and community by including your national flag on your nametag. (This is also a great icebreaker)
  • If *you* have a nametag it’s also great for me as I’m terrible with names and it is more likely that I’ll be able to commit it to memory on our first ride. :-)
  • It’s kind of like the analog version of using your real name when posting in online forums–when people see that you’re not afraid to identify yourself they will view you differently and know that you will act responsibly, professionally and courteously

Name and flag decals add a professional touch to your bike

There are options to match the color, border and background with your existing decals

Usually you can get a set of 6-10 stickers for about $20.

Pictured decals: “Name Stickers on Clear with Flag” from Victory Circle Graphics

Epic Rides from New York: Gimbel’s

The Ride

Three Distances: 35, 40, 55 miles
Terrain: Hilly
Pace: Race training (fast, speeds often hitting 30mph on flats)
Start Location: Cross Country Shopping mall, Yonkers, NY
Start Time: 9:20am sharp weekends and holidays

This is the premiere ride in the northeast, if not the country, attracting upwards of 100 riders and racers from all over the tri-state area. The ride starts at the south facing steps of Macy’s (formerly Gimbel’s) Department store in the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers NY and loops up through Westchester ending in New Rochelle.

The first 11 miles are ridden at a gradually increasing warm-up pace through southern Westchester, picking up riders along Central Park Avenue (Rt. 100). Once the ride reaches Kensico Lake, the pace picks up and the pack splits into short, regular, and long groups.

The short and regular rides have similar routes, while the long ride tackles some difficult climbing (at a difficult pace) in northern Westchester. From my experience, there are two kinds of “being prepared” for the long ride that are worth noting:

(1) You have the fitness to finish with the leaders which include grizzled veteran racers and the occasional pro
(2) You have full Garmin maps (or have studied the routes) you can follow after being shaken off the back like a cowboy off a rodeo bull.

Elevation Profiles

Once the regular ride reaches tempo pace attacks are made, flyers are taken, and sprints are led out. Gimbels is your essential race-pace training ride. After an intermediary sprint at Manhattanville College, the pack navigates through Rye before lining up a final sprint at the Mamaroneck town line.

As torquer writes on roadbikereview.com: “…we almost never stop for anyone’s flats/mechanicals, and only grudgingly for crashes.” As such, it is a good idea to bring your own repair kit, as well as a map of the course to find your way back. If you have a mechanical, or are dropped and take a wrong turn it may be some time before you see another rider.

Hostilities and legs finally cool down as the group rolls to Bagel Zone in New Rochelle. (243 Main Street, New Rochelle, NY)

The pace is always hot at Gimbel’s

From an objective standpoint, Gimbels cannot be considered a safe group ride. Despite riding at a time of day when traffic is low, the group has earned (both deservedly and not) a reputation for taking unwarranted risks on the road. Crashes are rare, but they do happen. The same can be said for any race-paced training ride in the country, but that doesn’t mean that the group couldn’t make better decisions on the road. The flip side? The ride offers great training, camaraderie, and a chance to mix with cyclists of all shapes and sizes. It’s a one-of-a-kind cycling experience.

 

Garmin Downloads

Right-click and choose “save link as”…

When your Garmin is plugged into your computer it will appear as a hard drive. Drag-and-drop the GPX file into the Garmin/GPX folder on your 705 or the Garmin/NewFiles folder on your Garmin 800 (NOT your SD card if you have one).

 

Getting to the start

Address: 99 Mall Walk, Yonkers, NY. You can park at the mall.
GPS coordinates: 40.928267, -73.854690
If your Garmin can’t find the address above, try: 744-766 Central Park Ave,Yonkers, NY


By Train:

  1. Ride to Grand Central, take Metro North (8:23am train recommended) to Hartsdale Station
  2. Take Hartsdale Ave. (right turn out of depot) to Central Ave.
  3. Turn left (south), and ride slow until you see the group coming the other way.

Resources

Gimbels forums: introduce yourself, read the history, rehash battles on the road.

Bicycling Magazine writeup

Image licensed from New York’s cylcing friend victor chan of One Image Photography.

Text excerpted from Trimble outdoors. Check out ride profile for map and points of interest along the ride.

Videos from carbonride100′s handlebar cam can be viewed on YouTube.

Train instructions provided by Kissena member on nyvelocity.

Mt. Washington Auto Road Climb

Location: New Hampshire
Distance: 7.6 Miles
Elevation Gain: 6288ft

There are a number of Mount Washington’s on the East Coast. but only one lays claim to the highest peak in the NorthEast, and that is “The Rock Pile” in N.H.

Described as “the toughest hillclimbs in the world” the Auto Road Hill Climb had been a goal of mine for some time so after a good season of racing I woke up at 8am on a cold Sunday in February to join the registration rush for the following August’s event (online registration usually fills up within the first half hour of being posted!).

Mt. Washington on a clear day

After reading the forums and adding some special training to my schedule I made a few adjustments to my bike to prepare for Mt. Washington. I, like many others, may not have properly respected the “hors categorie” rating of the beast and thought I could get away with a modest 30-25 chainring combo. After all, it was “only” a 7.6 mile course up a hill…

As soon as we hit the first slope it became clear to me that I had made a mistake. :-) In the Garmin charts below you can see what a drag it is being overgeared.

CADENCE: The red line represents my minimum cadence to output proper power. Whoops! I really could have used a few more teeth on that cassette!!!

ELEVATION: Note the positively monotonous elevation gain from beginning to end--there is nowhere to rest!

Unlike most mountain roads that undulate and give you opportunities to recover between efforts, Mt. Washington is maniacally consistent from bottom to top. This means you have to find creative ways to prevent redlining or popping. I, rather surprisingly, found myself slowing down slightly and recovering while pedaling out of the saddle on the 18% sections.

The course itself is amazing, and the fans made it feel like a stage race at the ‘Tour. There are groups of them on the switchbacks cheering and many who drove up before the race wrote messages on the road in chalk.

You are greeted at the top with a blanket, a medal and a bottle of water. Once you catch your breath you can wander around the top and enjoy the view and the clouds blowing by between your feet (literally).

Just to make it interesting the finishing stretch is on a 22% grade.

This race isn’t *long* but it is difficult on an epic scale and like a marathon or triathlon it is a race you enter to finish, not to win. Though I missed the cutoff time for the “top notch” category by 3 minutes, largely due to the gearing misjudgment, I have no regrets and will return.

 

For more information on the Mt. Washington Auto Road Hill Climb visit the official site: mtwashingtonbicyclehillclimb.org

 

northeastcycling.com has great analysis of all of the great climbs in the area including a comparison of Mt. Washington vs. the other great climbs around the world.