Friday, February 17, 2012

The Newest Detours Cycling Ambassador

A few weeks ago, I happened upon a notice on the Detours Facebook page soliciting applications for their new "Cycling Ambassadors" program.  It turns out that Detours was looking for some real world cyclists to use and blog about their bags.  This seemed to me like a perfect job. I'm a big fan of Detours bags, having used their High Tails EXP UL as my main brevet bag for a number of years on rides from 200K to 1400K with satisfaction, so I'm optimistic that I'll like their other bags as well.

I've also had very positive interactions with the Detours staff. When I needed to replace my previous bag after it was taco-ed during my accident, the folks at Detours were most agreeable about offering me a replacement at cost. I love a company that not only makes good products, but also stands behind their work and bends over backwards to replace damaged goods.

The other day I was notified that I was accepted as one of 13 Detours Cycling Ambassadors from all over the US (and Asia!) Here's the deal - Detours sends me some bags. I use them and write about my experiences on a special blog set up for this purpose in the Detours site. Not a bad arrangement, I must say.

While their new range is not designed specifically with the randonneur or endurance cyclist in mind, there are quite a few bags that look like they will be easy to put to good use. These will probably be most useful for commuting to and from work and riding around town on errands of one type or another. I eagerly await the package from Seattle and will be sure to let you know how it goes.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

February's R12 Ride: Cooking While Riding.

I created the "Keep the River on Your Right" 200K permanent as an insurance policy against terrible winter weather as I seek out the R12 Award. I figured that a flat route on primary roads with wide shoulders is a good thing to have up your sleeve during the long, snowy Upstate NY winters. Little did I know, winter would skip us this year, yet it's great to have this ride in the rotation anyway, just in case. It's hard to believe, but with eight months and December, January and February under my belt, the hardest part of the R12 may be behind me.

This route starts near my house on the Western shore of the Hudson River and heads north along several Western byways keeping the river in sight much of the way, crosses the Rip Van Winkle Bridge at Catskill-Hudson, heads south along SR 9 through the farms and towns of Red Hook, Rhinebeck and Poughkeepsie en route to Beacon where we cross the river again alongside semis on the US 84 bridge. After that, we keep the river in view along scenic and historic River Rd. and then scoot up 9W to the Highland Rail Trail and home.

Perhaps the best thing about the ride today was the fact that after a little pre-dawn slicing and dicing, I was able to leave ingredients for chili in the Crock Pot for a full 10 hours to cook all the while I was turning the cranks. Now that's my kind of cooking!

Andrey crossing the RipVan Winkle Bridge.

The Beacon-Newburgh Bridge has a bit different feel to it.

The obligatory panda shot. My first 200K with the new Rapha Classic Softshell. What a jacket! Love the technical features - vents under the arms came in handy as the day warmed up.

Nothing hits the spot after a cold 200K than a plate of hot chile!

Just four more months to go until sweet R12 success!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Finally! Goals for 2012

It's about time you must be saying. It's February already for Pete's sake! What are your goals already? So there are no great surprises here. In 2012, I plan to do the following things:
  1. Achieve the elusive R12 Award. I began in July and will need only four more months after this weekend.
  2. Complete a full SR series. Speed is less important to me now than it's been in recent years, but I would like to finish these brevets STRONG.
  3. Compete in the Saratoga 12hr race in July. I'd love to finish in the top 1/3 of the field.
  4. Perhaps complete the Endless Mountains 1000K.
  5. Get my speed and endurance back and finish in the top 1/3 of the field in each event I enter.
Well, that's it for now. This is the Big Five. I'll have to leave tactics and strategy to future posts. Right now it's time to announce the "whats." Soon I'll share information on the "hows."