Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Day 32: Putting my feat into the Atlantic

Completed and signed map:

Today our two wheeled journey came to an end on the shores of New Hampshire with all 20 of the through riders completing successfully. The ride finished with a regrouping about five miles out so everyone could ride in together:

We trotted out our PACTour outfits to present a group image - don't be fooled by Paul's Blue Ridge kit - he's carrying a stealth PACTour vest in his back pocket.

A little grandstanding was in order:

The route today was only 52 miles, or 54 for Paul and I who were so engrossed in a conversation about the nature of self discipline that we missed a turn and had to double back.  Although exiting Concord involved some commuter traffic as we crossed the Merrimack River, we were soon on small backroads and enjoyed every minute of it.

Lots of great rock walls throughout the granite state:

 Old field walls

And old Ford trucks

Walls are not the only rock option. I'm impressed because I know somebody has to mow this yard.

Ponds and bogs aplenty

Another great NH sign. I didn't get a picture of the "Blind Drive" sign but wish I had.

First sign of tidal waters at the estuary of the Lamprey River:

The day wrapped up with dinner where lobster was an option, and I took it.

And the bike goes back into the case for shipment to North Carolina:

Art shot of the day

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Day 31: Decompression in New Hampshire

I've found that when I decide to take on a "stretch goal" there is a process of self-tempering. It may not work this way for everyone, but this hardening process, being an embodiment of the decision, makes the execution easier because my commitment to the decision runs deeper. That in turn reduces doubts, internal debates and other conflicts.

So there is a inverse process that must occur when the goal is achieved, and I'm using "decompression" to describe it. As we near the Atlantic Ocean (just one 53 mile ride to go), the process of shutting down those various adaptations has begun. Although it may just be my imagination, I believe that the other riders and the crew are also changing in subtle ways.

In the most straightforward sense, I hardened my physical stamina and strength with my training and (importantly for the last couple of days) increased my ability to work in higher humidity and temperatures. However its also psychological: I hardened myself to not consider the possibility that I wouldn't finish, that I would have the fortitude to persist through the difficult stretches.

For me one of the most interesting dimensions of this tempering is the posture I take in my relations to the other folks on the tour. There is pretty broad spectrum here: the most significant relationship is certainly my roommate Paul, then there are the riders and crew I've spent a good amount of time with, then those with whom I have had more casual contact. For an effort of this magnitude there is camaraderie which will arise naturally if you don't get in its way. This can be enhanced with efforts to be considerate, to help others, and to recognize those aspects of one's personality that can get tiresome for others and tolerate those tiresome aspects in others.

However at the point of decompression some of these social graces are relaxed which can expose interpersonal frictions. Then the question arises: do we want this group experience to end amicably or like a bitter divorce? My sense is that everybody is pretty much on the amicable side. It will be interesting to watch the last day and see how it works out.

Today started early in Bennington, crossed the Connecticut River which separates Vermont from New Hampshire, then rode northeast to Concord NH. The south end of Vermont is surprisingly thin so the border came sooner that I expected.

Beginning of the Green Mountains

View from the top of the first summit - Bromley Ski Area

Lots of American Flags and Congregational Churches:

The Connecticut River

Motto also known as "who needs stinkin state tax?"

This one gets a +1 from me! Evidently NH feels that drivers can read and think:

This is a mill pond. We passed several large red brick mills from back in the day.

The granite state:

Moose habitat - but I didn't spot any Moose.

Bogs abounded

Most of us got soaked by a thunderstorm. This was the first significant rain of the tour. The three front riders passed ahead of the microburst, and the final rider came in behind it.

Love these old rock walls

I also love the ones that are kept up

They got a Sundance Solar here too, a decidedly lower key operation than the folks in Weaverville.

Plaque in Concord memorializing Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science church.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Day 30: Trending now (wonkish)

Today's entry will review data from my bike computer for the all the riding days so far. 
TMI? Travelog pics from today's ride follow below.

This graph looks at how much time we spent riding each day and compares it to how long & hard the stage was. The time spent is tracked both for "elapsed" time - from leaving one hotel to arriving at the next - and the "moving time" which doesn't count the SAG breaks, lunch and any other stops. The "elev 100s" amount (green) is the climbing feet divided by 100 so that its scale works with the distance (blue). The lighter straight lines are the trend lines.

What it is: The trend lines for elapsed time and moving time are parallel meaning we have not changed the amount of time we spend lallygagging around during the day as the tour has progressed. The trends also show that we've ridden longer hours as the tour has progressed, which corresponds to the increasing distances, duh. The time tracks the difficulty pretty well except day 17 into Mitchell SD which was easier than the day before in terms of climbing but was the second real high mileage day in a row. Recalling my perceptions, I thought the following day (18) was the hardest, but that was only the first chunk of the ride and the ending miles brought the overall day toward the norm as I described in the blog post.

Comparing the average speed for the day (orange) against the difficulty. This one shows the trend lines for the distance and elevation also.

What it is: Looking at the distance trend line (thin blue), you can see that the rides have gotten longer as the tour has progressed. The elevation trend (thin green) goes the other way - the first part of the ride had more climbing in general. The average speed trend tracks inversely with the elevation trend, which is what I'd expect. Longer distances don't seem to slow us down, so apparently we trained enough and haven't been exhausted.

This one looks at the average heartrate and average power information --- when my power was being measured. Power as you would expect is how hard you are pedaling. The thin lines show the trends:
What it is: The extra effort I made today is obvious (day 29 because the graph isn't showing the rest day when we didn't ride). The average heartrate numbers are amazingly low in those middle days when we were riding the flats. Heartrate can be down because I was tired, or it can be down because I was getting more fit. I think I'll choose the latter explanation! Which is justified from the trend lines where more power is generally being put out at lower heartrates.

Here is all the data that seemed interesting. The last column (max heartrate) shows how frisky I was feeling that day.
ending day distance elev elapsed avg watts work avg speed moving time avg cadence avg hr max hr
cedro woolley 1 96 6114 08:04 168 3283 15.4 06:13 76 122 161
winthrop 2 128 8189 10:02 155 4640 14.7 08:42 74 118 147
couley 3 101 6428 07:49 162 3379 15.2 06:38 70 120 163
spokane 4 93 4301 06:50 152 2778 16.4 05:38 75 119 165
sand point 5 83 3148 06:28 153 2457 16.7 04:58 73 119 168
thompson falls 6 87 3303 06:16 154 2690 16.4 05:16 75 122 158
missoula 7 105 3476 07:28 156 2963 18.1 05:47 75 123 157
butte 8 134 6176 10:00 154 4329 15.9 08:27 71 118 143
bozeman 9 100 4369 08:00 158 3071 16.7 06:01 73 118 152
columbus 10 104 2286 06:27 133 2212 19.5 05:19 75 107 164
powell 11 110 5517 07:36 153 3142 17.3 06:21 73 119 160
sheridan 12 121 7571 09:02 157 3920 15.5 07:50 66 117 162
gillette 13 108 4581 07:58 155 3465 15.9 06:47 72 121 160
custer 14 115 4706 09:13 158 4276 14.6 07:51 70 121 160
rapid city 15 76 6588 07:09 166 2592 13.2 05:44 60 112 156
murdo 16 146 4087 09:30 154 3945 18.1 08:05 73 113 164
mitchell 17 144 3522 09:44 146 4150 16.8 08:35 77 110 140
worthington 18 135 3488 09:01

17.4 07:44 73 108 141
albert lea 19 118 2454 07:34

19.3 06:08 74 110 142
la crosse 20 140 3739 08:52

18.1 07:45 76 105 153
portage 21 126 5017 08:34

16.8 07:31 74 112 172
manitowoc 22 127 5183 09:12

16.5 07:42 71 105 152
midland 23 134 3594 08:59

17.5 07:37 75 118 165
imlay city 24 103 1984 07:13

18.7 05:30 76 108 144
london 25 139 1080 08:58 161 3971 18.9 07:20 77 121 161
niagara falls 26 136 3183 08:39 161 4163 17.8 07:38 76 118 157
seneca falls 27 136 4405 09:07 151 3821 17.6 07:43 76 110 150
little falls 28 123 9520 09:50 171 4314 15.2 08:06 66 120 157
bennington 29 110 6390 07:17 184 3872 17.1 06:26 74 125 167

OK, now for the pictures. Summary: beautiful country in eastern upstate NY - rolling hills, fun to ride, generally good roads and pavement, a bit too much traffic.

Morning mist in the distance:

 Serious tree whacking by the power company:

The part of the day with less good roads:

Crossing the Hudson where an island is (island on left here looking downstream)

Island on right here:

One of the tributary rivers heading to the Hudson. This is just downstream from a series of bogs, so I'm guessing that explains its color

Ahhhh - a good back road brings relief:

Very boggy, peaty land between the hills:

Wind trimmed

These guys not too sure about me:

 A roomy Best Western motel room today with wood floors - a first!

 Since I was the first rider in today, I got to help unload the bags. I think this proves that "Santa" is not so much my role as Elf.

Art shot of the day from Paul: