Pioneer 111 + 20 Ride Report

The Pioneer 111 route done solo, was an RSC ride I missed. This was revisiting the course alone, and I had a blast! Read more about this quest for water…

I don’t remember the circumstances, but I missed the RSC Pioneer Ride, though I wanted to go. After a rest week following the B2VT, and a pretty docile week following that ( I have SBux Muffin problem ), I found myself with a free saturday.

Flying the full Ripper Kit, I got a late start at about 11am ( very un-Ripperish!) and finished in total darkness ( at least it was dark). A great ride, though perhaps not enough climbing. Most elevation you see here came from pounding whups at 35mph. I’d like to find some more deliberate climbing to throw in there. Now that I”ve done the B2VT, only 6k of hardly noticeable climbing on a 130mi ride doesn’t cut it.

Provisioning wise, finding water out past the 495 is always a pain, especially on these Blayley routes. They always go to huge and great lengths to avoid civilization. You may be 100 yards from a service station and not know it as you break off on a hard left into some carriage trail from the 1700s or CX dismount over a retired military base road block. Doing laps of the soccer fields and elementarys looking for water fountains pays off sometimes. I recommend putting a regular sized bottle in your middle jersey pocket, and two larges on your bike. If you choose to wear a camelback, your water problems would be over, though.

I’d like to map out where these public fountains are. This one was new to me. I know there is the one at Harvard. I easily spend 10 bucks on water on a weekend unsupported century ride. I know it is nearly as much as a phone bill at the end of the month. This last time I bought water couple times. Other times I filled up my bottles in the mens room sink. Flavored sodium tablets help cut the taste. :-(

I’d like to take a moment to thank BILL O’DONNEL OF PARKER VILLAGE (above) for leading such an exemplary life that he was immortalized by this free water fountain in 2002. My bottles were empty, bro, and you filled them up. If anyone asks, I’d like the same, maybe in the center median loop in Concord, MA.

There are always Port-o-lets at sports fields and construction sites. Not going to say anymore about that…

Finding food on saturdays is easy, on sundays it can be more challenging. Some places are closed. Also, I know and repeatedly forget that some places are CASH ONLY. I encountered that on my first attempt at a sandwich w/o cash. I stopped 50 miles in at a pizza place and got a hoagie the size of a large infant. It made me slow for a bit, but man can’t live on cliff bars and GU alone! I try to stay on top of replacing my calories on the rides so I’m not 5000 kcal in the hole at the end of the ride… and so I don’t bonk. To that end, I set the timer on my garmin to FrEak OuT every 45 minutes. That helped me stay on top of it as my mind faded.

I took quite a few photos ( http://instagram.com/swinney ) as it helps me stay engaged on long rides. Scanning the horizon for photo ops is a nice break from just singing country songs to myself. Also talking to other people. I had a nice chat with a rider from Goffstown, NH, (http://www.strava.com/athletes/526295) commuting 40 miles from his parents house while his dad took his kids home for him. I could tell he was envious of the Ripper Kit. He showed it by making me talk while holding 20mph up some rolling hills.

I thought it would be nice to do a group ride with a club up in NH that knows the lay of the land very well. It would be a cool change of pace from the Harvard loop. I’d like to see more of that area to the north, but I dont want to bike 3 hours to get to the starting line.

The distance was fine, 130mi, but physically things started to fall apart in the last 10 miles. Back and arm fatigue, mainly. I chalk it up to being nervous about the darkness as my head light went out. I was waving my cell phone in flash light mode on the Minuteman Trail to ward off the smoking teenagers. They were laying in the path like turtles, smoking cigarettes, others milling around like fireflys. My wife picked me up at the end of the Minuteman due to the no headlight issue.

In conclusion, it was in interesting ride.  There was allot to see, with a proper early start, you’d be able to stop and see it all.  I might make a few light modifications, and do it again.  I’m sure I could add a swimming hole in there somewhere…