Bright and early Satuday morning at 6:45 am I arrive at the starting location for my third RUSA ride. The 200k Rock Dale and Ice route. That’s 129 miles. My longest ride to day was a 105 mile ride a couple of years ago.
We start at Oh-dark-thirty (ie 7am). Since I’ve ridden a couple of rides at night before I have most of the night riding challenges solved. Clear riding glasses, night riding lights, headlamp in case of flat tire or mechanical, etc..
The DFXL came with a tiny little battery which I have since upgrade to four times the size. This one should last the whole ride (which it did at 10 hours for the whole ride).
I’m riding with a new group so hang out at the rear of the pack riding the brakes most of the time.
Soon the sun is peaking over the horizon. It is going to be a beautiful day!
Pretty quickly we get to the first control stop in Granger. Everybody gets their RUSA cards stamped and refills all their water bottles because the next control is 30 some miles on down the road.
Jeff says “Hey, it is pretty downhill towards Rockdale, go on ahead if you want to.” I stay with the group for a little while until we hit a big downhill run. Then I stop ridding the brakes and quickly coast out of site in front of the group.
Sky’s were clear and the morning beautiful. What scenery.
After leaving Rockday (50 mile down) Jeff takes some great pictures of the group riding. Me bringing up the rear as usual.
A good picture of me in the DF.
Leaving Jarrell heading towards Florence there is a section of road that is tore up and just really rough gravel / caliche. What a mess. I is a little down hill so I’m just coasting along about 20 mph for the whole mile long section trying not to get my teeth shaken out. Once I get back out of the construction section and back on the road for awhile I’m just getting up to cruising speed when my peddles lock up.
Can’t peddle forward or backward. I’m on a bad section of road with no shoulder at all. If I pull off the road I know I’ll roll the velo so I stop as close to the edge of the road as I dare and get out of the velo.
Everyone else in the group slows down and asks if I need any help. I tell them to keep going it is probably just a thrown chain, I’ll put it back on and catch with them shortly.
Well it turned out to be much more than just a thrown chain.
The rough road had bounce the two things (head lamps) I did not put into the neoprene lunch bags into the rear of the velo and got one of them wrapped up into the derailleur. Crammed in there wrapped tighter than you could ever imagine. I pulled, I yanked, I cussed, I tried everything I could think of. Finally I’m looking at my phone contemplating calling my son to come rescue me. 100 miles already done and only 29 more miles to go and I’m going to have to DNF (Did-Not-Finish).
Well, I decided that if I’m going to DNF and get a ride anyway it would not hurt to really pull so hard that I might break the derailleur. I grab the head lamp strap and just gradually pull harder and harder until BOOM it comes loose. A little more gentler pulling the the strap is un-wound from the derailleur and the chain and cassette is running freely again.
I leave the rear cover off the velo and start easy peddling. Everything seems to be working fine. It is 15 miles to the next control, wonder if I can catch the group again?
While when I arrive at the next control in Andice the group is still there and resting. I have enough time to get my card stamped, use the rest room and refill by water bottle.
Then we are off again for the last 15 miles of the 200k.
Everybody finishes up pretty much at the same time.
Here is a great picture of us all at the finish.
Thanks Peter for organizing and putting this ride on!