Things I Think I Think

Sports columnist Peter King has a popular segment he publishes after every NFL weekend which he calls Things I Think I Think, in which he gives his impressions on the week that was.  It is that spirit I offer my thoughts on last weekend’s brevet.

1.  I think I’m over my initial disappointment at my finishing time.  Advantages in less weight and knowing the course from last year were outweighed by colder temperatures and less training mileage brought on by a colder winter.  I agree with the larger point made by many commenters that it is very difficult to compare one year’s ride with another despite being on the same course.

2. I think I need to improve my nutrition strategy.  That means eating more calories more regularly and probably sitting down for a meal mid ride.  I burned over 4,300 calories on this ride and a quick inventory of what I took in adds up to about 2,300.  Not enough.  Cold weather makes “gummy candies” like Clif Blocks difficult to chew.  Adjust as appropriate.

3.  I think I need to get better at climbing hills.  I’m faster than some and much slower than others, but among people I find myself riding with (about my own ability) I find I tend to be slower on the climbs.

4.  I think the DC Randonneurs run great events.  For $5, I get better directions, more fun, better food pre/post race, and feel more welcome than I do in organized rides where I’ve paid far more.

5.  I think I like my new saddle bag.

6.  I think the 300K brevet next month will be hard.  Really hard.  I haven’t seen the course but understand it will run closer to the Blue Ridge Mountains, meaning it will be hillier.  See #3 above.  And it will be 300 freakin’ kilometers long.

7.  I think my increased running in the winter helped offset the reduced amount of riding.  Helped only, mind you.  It didn’t completely replace the training I lost in the saddle.  This will only get more interesting as the weather warms and I add swimming to my regimen.

8.  I think randonneuring has many aspects apart from a finishing time, including general exercise, cameraderie, orienteering, scenery, etc…   But time is an aspect and is therefore worth pondering and setting goals around, just like the other aspects are.

Historical Marker Segment!

I am pleased to present my first Historical Marker Segment of the year.  I found these markers during this weekend’s brevet.  I passed by them last year but did not stop to photograph them for reasons I have long since forgotten; probably because I was traveling with others and didn’t want to inconvenience them.

Our first selection is next to a bridge over the Rapidan River on Route 3 (around Mile 42 of the brevet) and is a reminder that the colonization of America came in waves.  In this particular case, the wave was German.  I am embarrassed to say I have never heard of the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe, but you can read more about it here.


I came across this marker on Brock Road, between The Wilderness and Spotsylvania battlefields (about Mile 60 of the brevet).  Amidst all the Civil War history, it was interesting to come across some Revolutionary War trivia.  Nowadays, Marquis de Lafayette is an afterthought in American history but there was a time (early 19th Century) when he was a superstar.  His legacy remains in the numerous towns and counties that were named after him in that period.  FUN FACT:  the evil (and fictitious) Colonel Tavington in Mel Gibson’s movie, The Patriot, is based in part on Colonel Tarleton.


19 thoughts on “Things I Think I Think

    1. Interesting, Tony, and thanks! I like all flavors of shot blocks, but perhaps in cold weather I need to move to something else. I also was disappointed to see that an entire packet is only 200 calories – not enough for even one hour. Gotta find some more fuel!

      1. I use cliff bars, which I like but others hate. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I swear are the perfect food and keep in hot or cold. Even taste good squashed. But I agree, enough food for long trips is not easy

  1. Hi Steve I enjoyed the ride report, I always chuckle to myself at the names of places in the USA, (Spotsyvania). I feel the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe should have been an off shoot of the Greatful Dead, like the New Riders of the Purple Sage, but if not its a great name anyway!

  2. Totally with you on points 2, 3, 4, and 8. My current problem with Shot Bloks is that I can’t open the bag with my teeth. I think I need to open them ahead of time, or at a control or something.

    1. I have the same problem, Lisa, and opening them ahead of time is exactly what I do. Seems to work well but be sure to eat them once you open them. I once let one uneaten (but opened) package sit on the shelf for a couple of weeks with unpleasant results.

    1. I’ve noticed the connection as well and the (relative) ease I climb after losing some weight. Sadly, I have a little too much still on my frame. This also causes problems on descents as I tend to be faster than my riding companions. So whether it’s uphill or downhill its difficult for me to stay with the group.

  3. I think I’m very glad you like your (cool) new bag. I think I wish I will ride long enough brevets to need one.

    I thank Mountainstroh for the link above, anything that makes me think I might get stronger on hills I will pay attention to.

    And I offer up this link, a VeloNews story about riding and cold, and why it really does change things.. ..

  4. In my opinion, the best way to improve with hills is to ride more hills. The upcoming brevet should help.

    Eating enough is the biggest challenge for me on a long ride. If I eat as much as I need, sometimes I’ll feel full and bloated while on the bike. If not, … well you know the story. I always try to eat something substantial around the middle of a big ride. Makes a difference.

      1. A fellow mountain goat swears by a ziploc bag of Chef Boy Ardee. He guzzles it at the rest stop. It seems gross to me, but it works wonders for him.

  5. I think the saddle bag helps keep things in perspective; you’re on a journey. Which brings me to the next thought, one that I have increasingly realized recently. We are about a year later on in the journey than we were last year. Not all that profound, but something to take into account. Keep riding!

    1. My camera also forces me to contemplate things other than my GPS readout. As for the time factor, I acknowledge this will increasingly be an issue but not until I am 90. At least that’s what I tell myself. 😉

    1. Thanks, Nene. I’m thinking about signing up for the sprint triathlon at Quantico in August then doing an Olympic distance event in DC this Sep. Should be a hoot!

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