Grovel Training

Tim, Asher, and I had planned to do a 50-mile gravel ride today as training for Gravel Grovel.  I am registered for the Gravel Grovel again this year.  I have a better bike for it this year, but I’m out of shape and my weight it up.

Asher is also planning on racing.  Tim isn’t, due to other obligations that day, but he’s willing to train with us.

Due to unplanned circumstances, Tim wasn’t able to drive his car to haul three bikes out to the planned ride location.  I hurriedly made up a route the night before (after having too much beer) that stayed in the Louisville area and didn’t require a car.

The new route had very little gravel, but it had some hills, and allowed me to stretch my legs on the new bike for 50 miles or so.

Asher arrived at my house at an ungodly hour.  I only managed three hours of sleep – mostly due to my light-night drinking and carousing.  Once we were ready, we both headed to Tim’s house.

It wasn’t 6:00am yet.  It was dark and cold.  Heading out Taylorsville Rd, which can be stressful during the day, just wasn’t an issue.  Once we left the urban “heat island” the temperatures plummeted, and I got quite cold.

My new bike at the Fisherville Post Office

Eventually the sun came up enough to slightly warm us.  As we got outside the city there was fog in the low-lying areas.  It was actually a beautiful ride.

I was suffering early.  I had no energy.  I’m out of shape.  The lack of sleep and too much alcohol the night before didn’t help, but the biggest problem was that I hadn’t eaten breakfast.  I’d been munching on some peanut butter crackers, but that wasn’t enough.

We stopped at a gas station for some more immediate calories and to warm our hands and toes.

Tim and Asher

The gas station stop helped me immensely for a temporary basis.  I would continue to “run out of steam” several times throughout the ride.

The overall route had us heading out of town to the southeast, turning north in a more rural area, then going back into town from the northeast.  We traveled some major roads, but traffic wasn’t a problem on a Sunday morning.  I had been drunk when planning the route, but it worked.

Once we arrived back in town, we deviated from the route.  We were I was tired and wanted to cut a few miles and a few hills off the ride.

At one point, I stopped at a four-way stop sign quickly (wasn’t paying attention and almost ran in front of a car).  I had shifted the bike, but the pedals hadn’t rotated enough to actually perform the shift.  Once I started to go again, the gears shifted with a loud “pop”.  The bike did not shift well after that.  Closer inspection revealed that I bent a couple of links in the chain.  Ah well, I’ll need to buy a new chain.

We made pretty good time down Westport Rd and wound through Cherokee/Seneca parks and to Twig and Leaf, a local restaurant that serves great breakfast and lousy but serviceable coffee.

Tim had family matters to attend to, and headed home.  Asher headed back my direction, it’s on his way home anyway, and stopped by to share some IPA with me, and get his clothes covered in dog hair.  🙂

I ended the ride with 52.5 miles.  That’s the longest ride I’ve done in a while.  It’s the longest ride I’ve done on the new bike.  I’ll write up impression about the Fargo at  a later date.

I fully intended to take a nap.  I was quite tired after the day’s adventure (and four days of being out late drinking), but I’ve been doing housework, playing on the computer, and reading a book.

I did not go out to a bar again tonight, nor will I.  I’m actually considering a shorter urban ride on my single-speed.

My poor performance on this ride reminds me I need to lose weight and get stronger for the Gravel Grovel.  My goal this year is to finish in less than six hours.

Download file: 2012-09-23.gpx

6 thoughts on “Grovel Training”

  1. Nice ride report! I always think it’s interesting to read different riders’ reports of the same ride … especially of a ride I was on 🙂 I hope you were able to get out for your second ride today.

  2. Asher,
    It was a good ride. Thanks for riding with us. Also thanks for dropping my mail off on the way out.

    I do feel like the “dark cloud” of little riding is lifting. I need to work to keep the momentum going.


  3. Eastwood-Fisherville Road from 148 to 60 is one of my favorite hill workout roads in the county.

    In 2002, I found out late that I wasn’t going to be doing the Bike Virginia summer tour (I got preempted on the vacation slot). I was doing a series of 25-mile club rides out of Scheller’s in Middletown at the time (every other Saturday evening, shortly after the store closed–this eventually became the Bluegrass Bicycle shop ride…), and decided that I would put together the hilliest twenty-five mile ride I could make based on the store, and Eastwood-Fisherville was on that route (listed at ride #2503 on

  4. Tom,
    That was a nice road, and I just picked it at random from a map. I’d never been there.

    That said, I wasn’t feeling strong, and the hills were killing me, but that how training is done.

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