Friday, September 13, 2013

Big Rides We've Gotta Do -- Volume I

Some of these are ultra races, some are rando events, some are just rides.  No order.  To be updated as comments reveal even better options and I have energy.

Trans-Iowa Race.   300+ miles of dirt.  Late April 2014.

Does the a peloton work the same on dirt?
Like randonneuring with none of the rules. This is nominally a "mountain bike race," but it appears anybody with talent is riding fat-tire road bikes or cross bikes.  (I wonder how big of tires I can fit on the Specialized?)

Looks a little soft.  Maybe this is harder than the average triple century!
Some other cool pictures here.  Just a thought, but we could seriously consider this for April 2014.

Allegheny Passage to C&O Canal.  335 miles of flat dirt from Pittsburgh to DC.

Makes me want to ride just looking at it.

Made for bikes.
Steepest grade?  1%.  (When was the last time you rode anything that long that was that flat?)

I'm envious of this nicely-loaded rig, somewhere on the C&O Canal Trail.
Maybe nice riding for a fat-tire fixie?

A not atypical scene on the C&O Canal Trail.
The route runs mostly through forests and along rivers -- i.e., shady, protected from wind, and plenty of opportunity to soak feet.  Could ride this either in one shot or stopping to sleep in Cumberland, Maryland, would work.  More detailed map of the first half here.  More detailed map of the second half here.  Elevation chart here.

The C&O Canal Trail (DC to Cumberland, MD)
Cool tunnels, apparently -- here's an excerpt from one trip report:

"The trail goes "thru the mountains, not over them as the GAP Trail goes thru three tunnels, the longest of which is the Big Savage Tunnel at 3,300 feet long (that's almost 2/3 of a mile long, but it is lighted)."

Yes, that does look pretty sweet.
And a bridge or two:

Mile 60 Bridge, C&O Canal
Can catch a train from DC to Pittsburgh for $49 to get to the start.  Bike carriage is, as always on Amtrak, less certain.  I would seriously consider a late fall go at this ride this year if anybody else was interested.  First or second weekend of November?

Maybe a little hillier per mile than the BWR . . .
Alaska Randonneurs Dirt-Road Randonnee.  (And here.)  300K into and back out of Denali Park on the park road, which is closed to cars except for limited permits and buses.  Damon blogged eloquently about the extraordinary beauty he encountered between Healy and Hurricane Gulch.  Well said.  Now imagine hanging a right just after one of the Nenana River crossings and riding 95 miles into that range before returning.
The road surface, while dirt, is pretty good.  28s could do it, 32s would be no problem.  I'd probably choose a road bike.
No, this is not a fanciful image (but of course it was taken on an extraordinary weather day).
Kevin holds this one in July.  It's only 300K, but I would bet it's as exciting as many longer rides. Among other things, I would not be riding this solo or sans bear-spray.  

Any Super Randonnee.  What is a super randonnee?  600K with a 50-hour time limit.  To justify the additional 10 hours, it is required to be abominably hard.  None of this mamby-pamby 20K feet of climbing stuff.  A super must have 10K meters -- 33K feet -- of elevation gain over 600K.  Basically 100 feet per mile the entire way.

Here's a Jan Heine blog post from this summer about checking out his Volcano High Pass Super Randonnee route.  I recognize some of that pavement through Mt. Ranier National Park from RAMROD, which Sam and I rode in 2010.  Here's the map of the Volcano High Pass route.  Big upside:  could catch a few hours of shut-eye at Sam's property at one of the turn-arounds.

There are two Super Randonnees approved in the US.  No surprise they are both in hard-man country. In addition to Heine's, Michael Wolfe from Oregon has the Six Passes SR.  Sam has a good trip report from that check-out ride, if by good one means "that sounds like Mountains of Misery x 3."

Keep an eye out for Volume II (and help me out in the comments, please!).


sam said...

Definitely on the AK 300K.

One on my list is blueridge parkway, which you've done multiple times I believe.

Here's another I'd like to do, thought it's a bit ambitious:

Any of the routes here are likely to be challenging and very scenic. Notably the Colorado rides:

Unknown said...

D2R2 is a must at some point, and fits in with the general theme (less pavement, more climbing). Max, if you're not careful, you'll reveal commonalities with mountain bikers.

Max said...

Some great picks for Volumes II and III.

Next: an e-mail to you both about the book we're going to write/edit.

Damon, an aggressive and competitive run by you at a 12-hour MTB race produced, what, 80 miles? Two weeks later, an aggressive and similarly competitive run by you at a 12-hour road race produced, what, _256_ miles? Need I marshall more evidence for the futility of mountain "biking" as a sport?

Max said...

BTW, we'd need to plan at least 9 months out -- so either of you interested in Pony Express next May? Not inconsistent with a serious long race in July-September sometime. The scenery looks simply awesome.

sam said...

Klaasen's report was vague on the details, so I looked up the route on rusa. 2979KM. On the plus side, at that distance the required daily mileage drops substantially. 300K/day maybe?

Another... Bonner's Ultimate Island Explorer is a permanent now:

At 2000KM it's a fair sight shorter than the Pony Express, and there are far fewer sections of desolate desert without services. More bears though.

Max said...

What's the target month? June? (I would guess May is a tad early?)