CTN TransAm 09
40 days on the road
3750 miles by bicycle
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Chris Nadovich's 2009 Transamerica Bike Tour.

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    Wed, 27 May 2009

    Four Day Shakedown Trip to Binghamton

    After a comfortable overnight to Lancaster, I wanted to finish off my training with a long, multi-day trip. Although there were 400K and 600K brevets running these weeks, I dismissed them. somewhat for scheduling reasons, but more because longish brevets aren't representative of the kind of riding I want to do on the TransAm. They wouldn't teach my what I want to learn about my capabilities with a heavily loaded bike on a multi day tour. I needed something around 100 miles a day.

    A suitable opportunity for a proper shakedown was handed to me when my friend Jeff invited me to a party up in Binghamton. Depending on the route, Binghamton is roughly 200 miles one way. That made for a perfect 4 day shakedown trip.

    I'll leave the details of the trip to a future post. All I'll say at this time is that the trip was challenging, but not overwhelming. I learned a lot about the pace I seem to like on the loaded bike, and how often I like to eat, drink, etc... I'm very comfortable on the Atlantis now, and the Brooks is now definitely broken in (over 1500 miles on it).

    I also learned a lot about what I can climb, and what I can't. I successfully climbed Little Gap, Cherry Hill Road, the Indian Hill Road, and endless other mountains. I climbed the Wyoming valley. Maybe it makes no sense to talk about climbing a valley, but you just try riding southeast on Moosic street and tell me if that isn't a climb.

    For the most part I rode up these climbs -- at about 4.5 mph in my granny gear. Only once or twice did I walk the bike. Unloaded, my racer pride would have me explode before walking, but on the loaded touring steed things are different.

    My criteria for walking seemed to have little to do with how tired I was (in a 4 day tour "tired" loses meaning). It tended to be a safety thing. If the climb was over about 10% in grade, more than a couple hundred anaerobic feet, and arranged such that I couldn't see a safe way to bail out, then I'd suck up my pride and hoof it. Some of these climbs were on busy roads and I get wobbly when spinning the pedals on an 80 lb bike at 4.5 mph. More important is the fact that I'm not sure I could actually unclip and get safely off the bike on a steep slope with that little speed.

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    © 2009 C.T. Nadovich