Princeton 300K ride report

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Anonymous's picture

**The title should read 200K Ride Report, not 300K**

On Saturday, April 8, when all of the NYCC rides were cancelled, the Princeton 200K brevet went on. Several fearless (or insane) cyclists pedaled 126 miles thru rain, sleet, snow and hail. Fellow NYCC member Lisa Force and I both completed the ride. She pulled away from me on some rollers around mile 100 and ended up finishing about 10 minutes ahead of me.

Below is the ride report written by the event organizer, Laurent Chambard. Laurent did an excellent job at organizing this event.

As my friends of Audax UK would say, it was a lovely day...

Riders enjoyed about half an hour of dry-ish weather after the start. Rain appeared then, stubborn, relentless and fierce, and would stay with us for four continuous hours - maybe more. It would then change to sleet, just at the moment when many riders were negociating the steep and twisty ups and downs between Frenchtown and Asbury. Sleet would then give way to actual snow, bad enough to cover the road at the top of Rt 519S and see the salting truck in action over 519. As if it were not enough, hail appeared when snow stopped. And riders eventually enjoyed a timid sunshine just as they finished the ride, completing a typical April review of all seasons on the same day.

The event provided an interesting opportunity to watch the various techniques developped by the inventive Randonneurs to survive the conditions. One stopped at the Hardware Store in Milford to get himself a neat pair of blue rubber gloves that didn't get him unnoticed. An other remarked that straws should be preferable to spoons when soup gets served, on grounds that it is bloody difficult to actually eat soup with a spoon when you are shivering uncontrollably. A third one stopped on the return to Milford, not to visit the bakery as his friends immediately assumed, but to get his clothing into the automatic dryer - it is rumoured that the rider himself might have been seen jumping into the machine too for a couple of spins.

We tried our best to provide riders some help, too. Complimentary feed-back has been received about Leroy and team's lentil soup in Frenchtown. The Cycle Corner of Frenchtown did a roaring trade, selling out the leftovers of their winter clothing stock not to mention a good few braking jobs and the sale of a few lights. The family running the Asbury Deli provided awesome support at the most needed moment, handing over warm towels, on top of their own socks, gloves and coats of all sorts to riders as even seasoned RAAM veterans and PBP or BMB laureates appeared to be on the verge of hypothermia. Volunteers and RBA were busy carrying a few DNFs picked between Asbury and Frenchtown to provide an otherwise complicated return to Princeton. In case you were wondering why we run some selected NJ events with a large effort on support, unlike running them unsupported as many regions do, now you know why.

In that context, you riders did extremely well. Here are the details, apart for finishing times which will be made public upon validation confirmation by RUSA (as a provisional RBA, I have no validation authority). Suffice to say that finishing times rank between 9h26 and 13h23, with all riders but one being over 11h20, for 125.4 miles. I think I said before that this event lasts much longer than your average club century...

We had a total of 45 registered riders, 36 pre-registered and 9 entries on the line. Riders listed by order of registration.


Robert McChesney, Perry Karsen, Joleen Pavelka, Ed Pavelka, Patricia Cole, Ellen Jaffe, Jay Ambroson, Ronald Harlos, Pat Fleming

Only 9 DNS given the frankly dissuasive weather forecast is proof that you guys are a determined and tough lot - real Randonneurs. One rider suffered heath issues and stayed at home. Three elected to stay in bed when seeing the forecast. Interestingly, the three tandem

Anonymous's picture
Tony Rentschler (not verified)
Most impressive

Kay - congratulations!

Saturday was a tough day for riding, and a tough day for riding long distances to boot.

I hope you opted to get a brevet medal - if you did, you'll always treasure it. Or else it will remind you of the day you took complete leave of your senses!

Anonymous's picture
Kay Gunn (not verified)
what is really impressive..

Is Mordecai Silver's performance in the Saratoga 200km brevet on 4/2. He did it on his fixed gear bike, with the 2nd best time of all the riders!

Anonymous's picture
Sal Cenatiempo (not verified)
what is really impressive..

Mordecai, what planet are you from?

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
It's a matter of perspective

"I had done rides longer than 200 km on a fixed-gear six or seven times before, so it's not a big deal. You want impressive rides? Try these:

Those who finished the Princeton 200 km on Saturday are true randonneurs. And those who didn't finish aren't in bad company either. It was warm on Friday night, and it was hard to believe that the temperature would fall on Saturday morning as much as it did. 200 km in a soaking, freezing rain is an epic ride."

Anonymous's picture
Tony Rentschler (not verified)

Mordecai, a couple of my cycling buddies and I would like to know what gear you run on your fixie? What chainring and cog?

Do you ever change the cog or ring if, say, you know you'll be going on an especially hilly ride, or perhaps an especially flat one? Flip-flop hub? Fixed-fixed, perchance?

Many thanks!

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)

"Campagnolo Pista high-flange hubs (one-sided), 49t crank, 18t cog. This comes out to about 72"". For me, this is the ""magic gear,"" and I use it whether the ride is hilly or flat, whether I'm doing the Princeton 200 km brevet or the Montauk Century.

I got the phrase ""magic gear"" from John Pergolizzi. (I believe he got it from Sam Zeitlin.) He wrote in a post to the CR list: ""The 'MAGIC' gear may be geographically dependent upon the terrain. In Brooklyn N.Y. it is mostly flat with a few rollers. That's why the Dutch liked it; it reminded them of home. 48x17 is the gear to use for superior training there. With it, a rider who is fit will NOT be dropped on a local up hill nor a downhill (except w/ the new 53x11 MONSTERS). A good 35 to 50 mile training ride is the daily de rigueur...with long pulls, sprints (downhill and on the flats and a uphill once in a while), and lots of tempo work.""

That reminds me: I have to get out to Prospect Park more often!"

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)

Mordecai doesn't need one, but I can vouch for the double-fixed rear hub.

On Marci & Cyna's Whipporwill ride this weekend, I rode with 71 gear inches to Scarsdale, then right before the hills began flipped the wheel over to 64 inches. For a non-superwoman, it was a comfortable ratio for a long hilly day. My quads weren't even sore the next day.

Think of it as a granny gear for fixies. It's nice to know it's there when you need it.

I have Phil Wood hubs -- they are easy to remove and smooth as silk to ride on.

Anonymous's picture
Gunga Din (not verified)
Even more impressive

You're better women and men than I! I can squeak up Walnut on my way back from Piermont pushing a 65 gear, but anything taller and I'd be walking. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anonymous's picture
Neile (not verified)
congratulations. excellent. (nm)
Anonymous's picture
chris o (not verified)
Great job

Thanks - I appreciate reading the report. You guys are hardcore, intense, unstoppable: a real tribute to the human capacity to do just about anything (or at least to suffer a lot).

Anonymous's picture
Ellen (not verified)
impressive act of will admiration...... that you put yourself through cycling hell because you won't consider not finishing what you started.

Anonymous's picture
Fendergal (not verified)

"Sure, we can all say they're studs for suffering for so long and in such miserable conditions. But hypothermia can be potentially lethal. It can impair your judgment, so you can't always trust yourself even if you say, ""I feel fine, I'll keep going..."""

Anonymous's picture
Christy Guzzetta (not verified)

You are a star!

Anonymous's picture
Katie (not verified)
not to mention FUNNY AS HELL!!! She rocks! :) (nm)
Anonymous's picture
Kay Gunn (not verified)
the Force

Yes, Lisa is an awesome rider. I keep up with her only in my dreams.

Anonymous's picture
lisa (not verified)

cool. you guys made my otherwise miserable day! thank you. but for real, i finished this out of pure fear. fear of stopping and freezing to death on the side of the rode. and there was no eff-ing way i was gonna turn around. if i knew i did not have to wait for kay (who was not going to quit) because i was her ride, there was a huge chance i wouldve said SCREW THIS...

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