Sunday, April 29, 2012

Finishing times.

Start Time 5:15am Friday

2:32pm Saturday
Eric G
Gaven B

7:45pm Saturday
Matt H
Joe B

1:02am Sunday
Dan G
Max S

4:51am Sunday
Hans R
Rick S

9:10am Sunday
Adam N

5:45pm  Sunday
Paul Kilroy

7:49pm Sunday
Greg A
Stef B

10:02 pm Sunday
Dean Lovewell

12:20 am Monday

Big list, will figure out later

I'll do the math for ride time once I get some confirmation on the start time.

Awesome year, some serious gumption was needed to stay out there in the wind and cold.

Send me an email if you want me to use your last name or if there are issues with finish times.


max said...

pt. 1

another year another beautiful fun hard painful (at times) ride across PA.

my legs felt good this year. once the neutral start was over as per usual the texler brothers moved quickly off the front. interestingly they were followed by an older gentlemen. i soon found myself in a group of 5 or six older rando dudes (probably all in there 40's 50's?) and the other eric from philly. it was going quick but not too quick. pretty soon i noticed the eric i was trying to ride was no where to be seen so i faded back.

eric was feeling OK but was kind of struggling i think form being run down from work and travel. together with him and two recumbent guys we ticked off the miles. usually i would find myself off the front just pushing into the wind and then soft pedalling or stopping for eric to catch up. probably would have been smarter to just try to get him to take my wheel but i wasn't sure how he was feeling and sometimes you just wanna ride your own pace ya know? so i let him kind of hang off the back to try to find his legs at times and got to the business of riding through lancaster and york. the wind sucked (well actually it blew) but as i said my legs felt good and even pushing into the wind i didn't feel like i was over doing it at all.

after york the next real spot to stop is somerset. that is the last town before you cross the appalachians at cowans gap and then ride the relentlessly lumpy hills to breezewood. i believe it is like 45 miles but the hills make it a very long 45. stopped at sheetz eric let me know he was done. we were there with dan and tom (the recumbent crew) and another dan all of whom wanted to keep going but were not feeling particularly strong either. so we packed in the calories and soon there were four of us headed to breezewood. again i was off the front most of the time, especially climbing, but it was alright i'd ride a bit and then pull over to mess with clothing or have a snack or whatever. it wasn't like i was MUCH faster but just a little but so i had some extra little breaks. i think it helped keep my legs and mind fresh and i still felt good as we made it through the tunnels and into breezewood.

max said...

pt. 2

by breezewood it was getting cold. that combined with the collective fatigue of my riding companions led to a motel decision. honestly i would have pushed on but not alone. i could tell there was no convincing any of these folks to head out into the relentless hills in the cold darkness so i just ate a ton of food and crawled into a nice warm bed. god it felt good!

it is never easy to get out of a warm bed to go ride on day two but the knowledge it was maybe 25-30 degrees outside made it even harder. we regrouped for a larger breakfast and made it out on the road like 8:30-9 giving the sun a little time to heat things up before we got out there.

once i got cranking the legs felt good again and day 2 seemed to mimic the end of day 1; climb something, stop mess with clothes, let the group regroup, and head off again. we were doing well and it looked like everyone was riding OK. it turned out however that by the time we got to bedford the two recumbent riders (dan and tom) had had enough and were going to call for an extraction. luckily dan and I were of similar mind to finish this thing so that is what we set off to do!

out of bedford (after new baltimore to be precise) is the hardest climbing of the route. i was feeling good and with my wonderful geared roadbike (how did i ever do this sh!t singlespeed?) i just puttered on up those climbs waiting briefly for dan occasionally. we made pretty good time over to somerset and i remember commenting to dan how amazing my legs still felt. from somerset it is ten rolling miles until the endless rail trail at the end.

i believe it was 4 or 5 by the time we got on the gravel. the gravel broke me as it has done before... 70 or so miles of straight flat gravel following a river down stream should sound like a little bit of heaven compared to the last 300 of hills and climbing right? bullsh!t bring the hills; flat gravel is much harder. dan's legs were coming around and we were going good down the gravel. we ate dinner in ohiopyle and continued on. i think we were both so focused on finishing neither of us paid much attention to where what towns were where and how far was between them, we just put our heads down and let the gravel slowly destroy our asses and psyches. the most defeating thing about it is the closer to the end you get the more times the trail crosses things and your forced to continuously stop and start. you think you can average 15mph and knock it out but soon you realize with all the stop/starts your probably only averaging 10 if your lucky. it was endless; but then it was over soon we were riding up/over/down/around all these crazy pittsburgh area bike paths and bridges. it was amazing to see how much infrastructure they have built for bikes there. it isn't completed yet but man is it impressive! impressive but confusing, luckily i had a native yinzer to decipher it all so all i had to do was follow his wheel. seemed like we crossed a dozen rivers between the end of the rail trail and the end at the point in downtown pittsburgh but i am sure it was less. soon enough (but never too soon) we were there. survivors of CtC 2012.

east to west is no doubt harder and the wind certainly didn't help. it was a beautiful ride though and i am really sad i didn't have a camera this year as i would have even had time to use it for once.

yesterday i met up with eric from philly and we rode back on amtrak. nice ride in good company (seriously amtrak is SO MUCH more comfortable than the bus. what also helped was a store we found a store in harrisburg with the worlds cheapest selection of cold beer. i mean honestly the nicest thing they had was corona. i got 3 extra golds for 1 dollar a piece. cheap recovery beer tasted so good!

today i am nursing kind of sore knees and a sore achilles. i am also eating everything that isn't nailed down. yep 6 in the bag. and i am already thinking about #7.

TomH said...

My fuzzy brained recollections of the ride this year….

I was pleasantly surprised how many riders showed up at the start this year. It sounds like the largest number that had started a west-bound CTC in years past was closer to a dozen or so. It was great to see some familiar faces at the start along with a bunch of new ones.

Nothing notable occurred on the neutral start for most riders, but I heard someone had bike trouble close to the Bell. That’s a tough way to start. I did notice how windy it was though, and started to have some concerns that the day might be a bit slower and tougher than I had hoped.

The first 50 miles went ok, and we (Dan Blumenfeld and I) rode with Eric and Max a bit here and there on the way; I liked having them to chase, as they slowly pulled away from us as we approached Morgantown. But I was not enjoying the wind and the cold much at all. When we got to the Morgantown Sheetz I took the opportunity to add a second pair of arm warmers and I even put on my winter shoe covers ‘cause my toes were absolutely freezing, even with wool socks on. The air temperature was 50 deg F, but the wind made it feel a whole lot worse. It sure didn’t feel like a few days before May.

After we left Morgantown we ended up riding with Max and Eric as we made our way towards Lancaster. Max was clearly feeling the most energetic amongst the four of us and would ride ahead and drop back to keep the group together in a sort of informal way.

The winds were out of the North, and the cloud cover was pretty heavy, keeping everything cool. Wind gusts were quite annoying. At least once or twice I got knocked sideways towards traffic. It was a little stressful with those winds, in addition to being a little slow. I’d guess the wind was taking 3 or 4 mph out of us most of the time.

Dan and I lost Eric and Max for a period around Lancaster and York. If I recall correctly, we all regrouped not long after getting on Rt. 234. We made a quick pit stop at the Rutters near East Berlin to be ready for the climb up to Michaux. That climb was actually pretty nice and I was actually having fun for the first time all day. Not coincidentally the sun had come out and the temperatures had warmed up at least 5 degrees or so. The winds even seemed to had lightened up a small amount. I even enjoyed the long downhill run on Rt. 30 into Chambersburg.

At the Chambersburg Sheetz we ran into Paul from Ohio and Dan G. Paul’s back was suffering from a too-heavy backpack and was contemplating his exit from the ride. Eric had been feeling lousy all day and decided enough was enough here too. We all fueled up heavily and the new group of four (Dan B, Max, Dan G, and myself) headed out into fading daylight. We hit the climb up to Cowan’s Gap just after sundown. I was surprised that enjoyed that climb, but it would have been more fun in the daytime. At the top we got some assistance from the park ranger who directed us to some open bathrooms were we could get water.

TomH said...

Part 2:

We set off down the mountain and it was really apparent that the air temperature was dropping pretty quickly. I was surprised how hilly the section between Burnt Cabins and the abandoned turnpike was. It’s a very hard section of road and I was really starting to lose my strength. Dead legs was an understatement. By the time we hit the old turnpike, I was running on sheer willpower. The other three guys probably didn’t realize how close they were to dropping me on the abandoned road. I was somehow able to keep up, though. Or maybe they had sympathy and didn’t let on that they knew I was almost ready to pass out.

I barely had the strength to eat before we got hotel rooms and went to bed, but I am glad I was able to get something substantial down. Morning came way too quickly, but I was surprised how decent I felt. Initially I was worried that the very hilly terrain on the road from Breezewood to Bedford would get the better of me, but I did alright.

Although on that segment, I did a little soul searching. After so much non-fun the day before, and faced with rain, perhaps snow, and certainly cold temps once we got beyond Somerset, along with the prospect of riding 90 soul-crushing miles on the GAP, Dan and I decided to bag it in Bedford, as it was the closest point on the route to my wife and her car, which represented our easiest method of exit.

I was pleased with what I accomplished on Friday, but it consumed all of my surplus ambition. Physically, on Saturday, I was riding ok (not great, but good enough), but I had very little desire to keep going. If Friday had been a little more fun, I might have kept going on Saturday.

The rando ethos be damnned - at some point I can't help but remind myself that this is supposed to be fun. What a concept!

But randonesia will bring me back next year I am sure.

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

PaulK - 60hrs 45 mins - or whatever 5:45 pm is...

Took it easy after a rough first day. Finished on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Hope your back is feeling better

mathbach said...

@ max, I will write up proper report some time tonight and fill you in on my rather interesting morning spent with the Tressler brothers - The "older gentlemen"

max said...

@mathback - i was psyched to see you go off chasing them! finally someone was gonna try to at least hang with them for a bit.

my approach is more of a start easy then ease into it style but it is a race after all and seeing people racing in the beginning was awesome.

are you third finisher? if so awesome race. if that was your first, you oowe it to yourself to come back next year. it is a bit easier that direction and since we had kind of shitty weather this year we are due nothing but sunshine and tailwinds next time ;)

and btw i hope no one is offended by my calling anyone old. it was just intersting after probably being one of the oldest guys myelf the past 5 times i did it. you old guys were f-ing strong this year!!!! :)

Adam said...

Oh let's see:


9ish am. Stopped at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. Was met by Rick and Hans. Let them ride out a bit ahead of me.

Sometime during the day I caught them and watched as Hans missed a turn and Rick stopped and we watched him roll 1/4 mile down the road before he realized it. I kept moving.

At some point they passed me while I must have been stopped.

Caught up to them at the top of the climb up to Rt. 30 just before Caldonia State Park. We stopped at ate in Chambersburg just before dark.

Rode up over Cowan's gap in the dark. My headlight kept unplugging itself, which was annoying on the way up, terrifying on the way down.

Showed them how to find the turnpike 1 a.m. maybe? We got to Breezewood at 2:30. They let me crash on the floor of their hotel room.

They left at 8 a.m., I left at 8:30ish and ate breakfast at Sheetz. The climb to Somerset was infinitely better than two years ago. The 36x36 low gear didn't hurt either. Rolled into Sheetz (again) just as Rick and Hans did. Maybe around 4 p.m.

Ate the best sandwich ever at Ohiopyle around 7 p.m., then things got kinda crappy as it was drizzling rain and Hans got two flats. At some point those two difted back, then caught me, then I drifted back.

I had really, really hoped to make it in Saturday night, but by 1:30 I couldn't keep my eyes open. Found a pavilion at a cemetery along the trail and crawled into my sleeping bag.

Up at 6:30, left at 7, knocked out the left 25 miles by 9 a.m. Felt really bad Hans and Rick must have gotten totally lost in McKeesport into town. That is by far the most confusing of the whole route. No idea how they did it in the dark. Hats off to them, I wouldn't have made it without them towing me up over Cowan's gap.

mathbach said...

@ max - can't speak for all the other dinosaurs, but no offense taken here.

stephanie burch said...

Wow. First timer here. I will make a blog post with more details later, but I will say that I am glad to have finished, even if it was a bit over 60 hours. I wanted sub48, but I think I needed 2 nights of sleep. We had a group of 9 at one point, and I think the stops took about 5 times longer than I could have done solo, but I enjoyed the company and was kind of freaked out by the idea of doing a long, unfamiliar ride alone. Weather was shit the first two days, and the climbs were long, but I just dealt with it. I didn't have to layer up much. I was toasty warm. I usually underdress in the winter on my morning commute, as to avoid arriving sweaty at work. I think this helped me on this ride. Also riding almost exclusively on a single speed everywhere made having gears on those hills seem luxurious. Great job, all!

Reddan said...

My ride report. Also a free insomnia cure.

mathbach said...

here's how it went down for me

@ Stephanie - first woman finisher ever maybe? nicely done.

stephanie burch said...

Thanks. Disadvantage of being a woman: needing a rest stop to take a piss. Everyone else was just pulling over and whipping it out. While there were woods along the route, they weren't as filled in as I would have liked.