2015 Jefferson Cup

Race #3 on the calendar this year is the longest running race on the MABRA Calendar – The 2015 Jefferson Cup.

The Jefferson Cup is a road race held on a 9.8 mile loop just south of Charlottesville Virginia — the home of Monticello and Thomas Jefferson.  And a Jefferson Cup is a pewter cup style that Thomas Jefferson designed and had created in 1810.  Generally in this part of Virginia, they’re given to commemorate events (graduations, births, awards, etc).



The drawback is that I was going to have to drive to Charlottesville — almost 3 hours away, but at least my race was at 12:30pm, so I didn’t have to wake up at 4am like I did for Richmond.  My aunt was in town having just flown in from Grand Cayman, but this time, I had a list to check off of what I wanted to bring, and in which bag I had placed it.  To make things worse, we were going to have a nice wonderful beginning of Spring cold snap on the day of the race.  It was going to be below freezing here in Northern Virginia, and figuring Charlottesville was at the foothills of the mountains, it could be cold on race day.

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Black Hill Circuit Race p/bTeam Bike Doctor

In the week after my first race, there was a scramble of race registrations to make, but I had already registered for Black Hills, and because we raced in Richmond, I missed out on the route recon.  It was probably best that I didn’t; the primary feature of the race is indeed a long nasty climb with the finish line up the top quarter of the hill — 7% climb with a couple of 10%  bits.


So I signed up for two races; the Cat5 only field, and the combined Cat4/5 race, figuring the quickest way to get out of Cat5 was to double up as often as possible — pretty much the goal of the team as well.

Lets just say I thought I could do decent on the hill, I just hadn’t factored in race speed.

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RIR Criterium p/b Richmond Velo Sport

Because of the amazing winter we’ve had, the Tidewater Classic was postponed to a date that I could not attend.   So instead, my first race would be the Richmond International Raceway Criterium put on by Richmond Velo Sport.  The Flyer for the event has the Cat 5 mens race at 8:30am for some respect.



The Saturday before the race we did an indoor trainer team-spin.  I rode hard for the first half-hour, and just put in a Z2 effort after the middle sprints.  I’m unsure how much pre-day effort I need to put in, so this was a bit of a benchmark.  I talked some with Sean and Clay and Thom about what to expect, goals, etc… Basically my goals:

  1. Don’t Crash.
  2. Don’t Crash.
  3. Really, Don’t Crash.
  4. Finish in the pack.

Though Thom did say “Lots of people are going to give you advice, even me, and you should ignore all of it.”

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Bike Racing

I guess in the natural progression of the MAMIL is that you eventually think you’re good enough to start racing.  Well I’ve watched the pros, and I’ve even spent time on shop rides with sometimes racers, and I realize I’m not all that great, but I want to see what this body I’ve earned can do.

But first I needed to figure out what it was that I wanted out of bike racing.  I think this is the philosophical question one whom is not so keyed by competition as I am.  For some, their competitive nature would have led them to racing and competing a long time ago.  For me, I had a bit of that competitive juice squeezed out of me in High School.  I learned that I could get over obsessed by winning, and when I finally stepped back and looked at myself, I didn’t like what I saw.  I was always someone who was there to support the team, be quick to be a good sportsman, and took more joy out of playing the game than the outcome.  But somewhere in high school, that flipped, and I stopped being a good sportsman, and got furious at not winning, or not making the team, or would look to cheat to win, so I stopped playing.  I kept being a good team supporter, and took joy in that.  I eventually settled on games/sports where you competed against yourself and competition against others was tangential; Bowling, Golf, Computer Games (not First Person Shooters, or anything that involved Player-Versus-Player).

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Coffeeneuring 2014

With all the traveling that I’ve had to do in the last couple months, I was pleased to be able to complete the 2014 Coffeeneuring Challenge.  Now, Mary’s rules require that each coffeeneur ride be

You have to go to different locales, although you may ride to multiple locations of a chain, if necessary.

For an extra challenge, and forcing me to learn new places of caffeine purveyance, I added my own addendum to this rule:

You have to go to 7 different locales That you have never coffeeneured to before, although you may ride to multiple locations of a chain, that chain must not be traded on a stock market.

As much as I visit Starbucks (i.e. Best Buns in Shirlington, or inside the Target in Merrifield), I was forcing myself to make it a bigger challenge.

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Skyline Double – Northbound – Part 2

_DSC731850 miles to go.  Now, I have ridden down to Mount Vernon and back in 3 hours, but that was fairly un-hilly and un-trafficked.   Sunset was around 6:30, so I would really have to rush to get to Front Royal and Spelunkers before Sunset.  I knew that I was near the top of Skyline Drive, and that the majority of the route was downhill from here, but as I looked up from Spitler Knoll Overlook, it was uphill.

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Skyline Double – Northbound – Part 1

I’d love to start this off with “And after a good night’s sleep, getting back on the bike was easy,” but that wouldn’t be true to what happened.


So I settled off to bed around 10ish…

.. And then the curse of being The Most Hydrated Man in America hit.

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Skyline Double – Southbound – Part 3

20141016_132101Once I left out of Big Meadows, there’s a really nice long gradual downhill, with some really nice straight pieces of highway.  I remember thinking, “If someone wanted to pass me, this would be the best place for them to do so.”  Heck, there were even some dashed road lines.

But once I got further down towards mile marker 61, the sky started to open up.  On the uphill, the drops hit harder, but since I was climbing, it was manageable.  But once I started the descent down towards Rt. 33, the rain became needles as I increased speed.  You could tell it had been raining for a while prior to arriving there since the entire width of the road was wet.

Because of the wind and my ability to slow down by just sitting up, I didn’t have to brake very much on the curvy downhill.  Of course, once I hit Rt 33 at the bottom of the hill, the rain subsided.

Because of the long downhill, this was the longest bit between stops.  The climb out of the gap wasn’t too steep or long, just a bit tiring, as now I was getting past mile 70.  At the Loft Mountain Overlook, I finally caught up with my wife again.  I took a little more time here, as my daughter was done, and I still had 30 more miles to go.


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Skyline Double – Southbound – Part 2



Getting out of Rt 211 was the second roughest stretch of road of the day.  Basically 4 miles at 6%, with peaks at around 9%.  Not all that hard when you think about it, but after going out a little harder than I normally do on a century, this climb hit me a little harder than I was expecting.

20141016_105236 20141016_105607


But one of the coolest parts of the climb is the Mary’s Rock Tunnel.  Even with a headlight, and three blinkies, it was still pitch black around me.  Because of this all I could see was the light at the end of the tunnel, and it felt very disorienting, but exhilarating.   There were quite a few tourists parked after the tunnel taking pictures of cars (and me) coming out of the tunnel.

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Skyline Double – Southbound – Part 1

I was not expecting things to go smoothly, so at least I set my expectations high.

I did however, expect to complete both legs of the trip, so I had that going for me.

Watching the Weather was forefront on my mind during the week before.  I had three tabs open in my browser; Front Royal, Waynesboro, and Home.  I kept fretting as it was showing a 35% chance of rain at 8am for  Front Royal, with a 50% chance in Waynesboro.  Plus the temperature forecast had dropped 10 degrees.

My normal method of pre-big-ride schedule is to spend the night before obsessing over what to wear; which kit I should wear (I brought 6 jerseys… oh boy), what I need to bring nutrition wise, should I bring a bag to store things if it gets too hot or cold, basically all the things you need if you don’t have panniers.  But tonight I had two differences: My wife and daughter in the sag wagon (good), but my daughter needed to get to sleep early, so I didn’t get enough time in my mind to obsess over what to do/wear/bring.

After my daughter dropped into unconsciousness, I spend 2 hours prepping.  Filling my water bottles, getting Skratch mixed in, setting out my clothing, food, nutrition, etc.

I had two kit bags, so I sorted one as bike parts / gels, the other with clothing.  I put my helmet, shoes, bike pump in the first bag, arm warmers, leg warmers, socks, etc, in the second.  This way it would be quicker to get kitted out at L’Dees before the ride.

Finally I was able to relax my mind and go to sleep. …And the alarm went off at 5:30am.

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