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Topic: 2018 in Cycling

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Author: Seth Dillingham


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# 6429

2018 in Cycling

I can't go the whole year without a single post, so how about at least a quick recap on the cycling?

Stats (with a few days left in the year):

Miles 9,033
Elevation 315,533 feet (96,173m)
Rides 293

That's way more miles than any other year. I think the closest was about 5500, quite a few years ago. Lots of those miles were on the trainer which obviously aren't real miles as I don't actually go anywhere, but the devices all take a pretty good measure of the effort being produced, and they know my weight so they approximate the distance. It isn't perfect but so what? What isn't in question is that I rode way more than ever before.

Training through the Winter (which actually started in the late Fall of 2017) also allowed me to pick up in the Spring where I left off in the Fall. I put on a few pounds in the dark days, maybe as much as ten during the worst of it, but those pounds came off again quickly when I went back outside. More importantly, I didn't start the season slow like I did every other year. In most previous years, I'd gain 10-15% of my body weight and lose most of my fitness, which resulted in less training effort and slower weight loss. Training all Winter was the key, and I've felt really healthy all along, too.

I should write about the system (both hardware and software) I'm using for training in the Winter, but this post is already going to be super long so I'll save it.

Besides the winter training, I started joining the Brumble Bikes shop rides, most weeks. His shop is just three miles away, and I now consider Amos a friend. He puts up with me standing around in his shop chatting almost endlessly, which is a pretty good definition of a friend in my book.

There were a lot of century rides this year. I lost track! Five stick out in my memory, so I'll just cover them.

1. Greylock

The first one was Mount Greylock Century with the Huckleberries, or just “Greylock.” The distance was fine, it's just a little over 100 miles, but this was definitely the hardest century I've ever ridden because of the climbing. Almost 10,000 feet of climbing (over 10K according to some of the bike computers), and the bulk of it starts at mile 63 when you're already tired. At times the grade kicks up to 16+ percent. I cramped on that mountain, almost constantly. It was pure torture. It was also my own fault: I'd ridden a little too hard earlier in the ride, and hadn't kept on top of my salt intake. The results were really scary, and at one point I was more worried about whether or not anyone would find me on the side of the road (as if I was on Everest…) than I was about finishing.

A friendly couple at one of the many pull-offs (for taking photos) gave me a bottle of water, and I went through a full pack of salt tablets. Eventually I dragged myself to the peak where most everyone was waiting. I didn't get the long rest they all got, but it was enough and I recovered nicely on the descent, finishing with Steve and Paul Davis, and Mark Stockwell.

This was both my first season and first big ride with a power meter. I was so new to it that I thought of it as just another number on the screen. Next year will be better!

Central PA Trifecta

2018 was the year of Pennsylvania centuries. I rode all three centuries in the Central PA Bicycling Trifecta, though one of them ended up not being a century due to the rain.

Hershey Chocolate Tour, August 4, 2018

Official link: Penn State Hershey Chocolate Tour

With: Dave Moore (and about a thousand others)

This was the wettest sunny day ride ever. This was a beautifully sunny day, but the whole area had been inundated with rain for weeks before and a heavy storm the night before the ride was more than the drainage, creeks and rivers could handle. See the pictures on Strava.

I was introduced to Dave by Gavin Robertson, who I knew through the Lancaster County Bike Club. Gavin talked me into this ride, but since he's one of the primary organizers he couldn't ride it. He literally grabbed me and Dave and said, "You guys are riding together." Dave and I got along quite well so props to Gavin for a good pairing.

Lancaster Covered Bridges, August 19, 2018

Official link: Lancaster Covered Bridge Classic

With: Dave Moore and Gavin Robertson (and thousands of others)

It absolutely poured for this entire ride, and I was afraid to pull out my phone to take pictures. They canceled the 100 mile loop so we only got a metric century.

Here's the description I wrote for the Strava ride report:

Wet. I must be traumatized. Starting to conflate water and central PA into a single concept. Hopefully Three Creeks in September will be drier (despite the name).

It was great to finally ride with Gavin, and to see Dave again. See you guys again in a month!

They canceled the 100 mile loop because of the rain. Gavin says the descents are quite dangerous enough when dry.

Three Creeks, September 16, 2018

Official link: Harrisburg Bicycle Club - Three Creek Century

With: Dave Moore. Gavin missed it for an anniversary cruise with his wife. Poor guy.

This was the best of the three, if only because of the weather. There was no rain, and in fact the floods that had been drowning central PA for months had finally receded. At one point we passed some water running through the road (from someone washing their car or something), and Dave pointed it out as proof we were still in PA. Great day on the bike.


One downer about this ride: I had a major wipe out the day before, on a Brumble Bikes shop ride. I was sprinting to catch the group after an aborted water stop when my crank came off the bike!! Theere was no time to catch myself, I just went down hard and slid on my left side.

The "only" injuries were road rash, but I had a lot of it. I won't include pictures here in case you, dear reader, have a weak stomach, but you can see them on the Strava ride report.

And yes, I still drove to PA that night and completed the Tree Creeks century the next morning. Bandages flapping in the wind!

2018 Birthday Century

With: Steve and Paul Davis

I turned 46 this year. As I've done every year for a while now, I rode 100+ miles. Steve usually joins me, but this year he actually planned the route for me and brought along his son Paul (who I've known since he was tiny).

On top of all that, Steve gave me a cross bike that actually fits me, which he picked up from someone in the Boston area. it looks almost new. I haven't ridden it much yet, but it's nice to have a spare in the stable and I do plan to get out with it more this Spring when I'm sick of the trainer in the basement.

2018 was a great year on the bike. Special thanks to Steve, Paul, Gavin and Dave for being a big part of it. and especially big thanks to Corinne for putting up with it all. (Lest anyone think she's ignored as a result of all this riding, please remember that I work from home so we see each other all the time.)

Here's to a great 2019!


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