Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Super-Randonneur - Stephen Whiteman

When did you ride your first brevet? My first 200K was the Platteville Poke-Along [Permanent] in April, 2006.

Your brevet/rando experience up to this point? I did another 200K, the Kersey Kick, in 2007, and 4 200Ks in 2008.

How did your previous rando or other experience help you? I began cycling in 2003, but before 2008, never rode more than 2000 miles in a year. I was a nordic ski racer when I was younger, though, which taught me to keep pushing through suffering. Brevets and populaires exposed me to the habits of randonneurs, introduced me to local folks and gave me an opportunity to learn about equipment, strategies, etc.

Did you do any specific training for successive, longer SR events? I didn’t start 2009 with completing an SR, let along the Last Chance, as a goal; I was training to ride the San Juan Skyway loop with a friend. When that ride fell apart, I reconsidered and decided to see how far I could go in the SR and Last Chance. In talking to experienced ultra riders, I learned that there are two basic approaches to training for these distances, speed work and distance work. Having never ridden more than 125 miles in a day, I opted for distance, riding lots of 200Ks, centuries, back-to-back distance, etc. I tried to do as much of that in the context of organized rides as I could, both because I enjoy them and because I thought they’d motivate me to get out and do the training. I did some speedwork, generally once or twice a week, and really stressed listening to my body – if I was tired or really unmotivated, I didn’t ride. Ultimately, I found that while training is really important, the right frame of mind took me a long way, so wearing myself too thin would have worked against me. All in all, I rode 3 centuries, 6 200Ks, 2 300Ks, a 400K and a 600K before the LC – not as much as I would have liked, but as much as I could handle.

What were the challenges moving up to the longer distances? 1. Confidence that I could complete the rides and that nothing would go wrong (or that I could deal with whatever did go wrong). 2. Learning to eat and drink properly (which I still haven’t mastered) – the most important note on this is that since I love to ride, if I start feeling negative or down, that means I’m low on calories. 3. My butt (and bike comfort/fit in general): I went through several saddles over the course of the season and still haven’t found one that’s ideal – I had bad saddle sores on the LC, though I was fine on the 600K.

How many years of working towards the SR award did it take you? Setbacks overcome? I guess 3, this being my fourth year of brevets, but really only the second of significant mileage. I had some frustrating mechanical moments (a diesel car that wouldn’t start on the morning of a 300K, a broken headset the night before a 400K), lots of aches and pains (again, listen to your body!) and lots of low moments, but the moments of pure joy and pride, the senses of camaraderie and accomplishment, all the stuff I’ve seen and will see from the seat of my bicycle – all these things made the work worthwhile for me.

Any particular strategies (nutrition, pace, sleeping)? On rides up to one full day – i.e., 400K – I depended mostly on Hammer products, including some of their supplements. I found on the second day and beyond, however, I had to have solid food. This included bars and gels, as well as sandwiches, burritos and the occasional ice cream, but no more liquid nutrition. The most important thing is to eat and drink. If it looks good, it will probably taste good, but homemade (as opposed to frozen/microwaveable) is, in my opinion, better. Pace-wise, I probably rode more conservatively than I needed to. I finished with respectable times, but rarely pushed my heart rate above the mid-130s. That’s one reason why I may play around with more speedwork this year, to help improve my times and stay with quicker riders. As for sleeping, I am not cut out for RAAM, that’s for sure. On various rides, I had anywhere from 4 ½ to 7 hours (my first 600K – I knew I had plenty of time and would be riding the second day alone, so I just took it easy). The one time I slept less was the last night of the Last Chance, when my roommate took off after I’d been sleeping for only an hour and a half and I couldn’t get back to sleep. That ended up being kind of dangerous, as I really struggled to stay awake riding in the dark and at one point got very cold. Finally, it took me a long time to learn that waiting for people for a few minutes pays off in the end. What’s 5 minutes over 36 hours? The benefit of company and protection from the wind more than makes up for the slight delay, in my opinion.

Any other tips or words of wisdom? Do some long rides, but don’t over do it. If you’re mentally strong, you can make up shortages in training distances. Work on fueling strategies and pay attention to them on the bike. Make sure you have the right equipment, especially clothing – it took me a while to figure this out, but descending Independence pass in the snow made me pay close attention to what I was packing from then on. Finally, work on your mental strength. If you think you want to do something like the SR, chances are you are (or can become) physically strong enough to do it. The rest is mental, sticking with it when the going gets tough, enjoying it when you’re feeling good. It helped me to remember that no matter the circumstances, I was out on my bike seeing the world, which to me is always a good thing.

- Stephen
Photo: Stephen at finish of Last Chance 1200k.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Neighboring Early Season Brevets!

Thinking about riding one or more early-season brevets in milder climes? A few local riders have mentioned they might try some Arizona Brevets.

Susan Plonsky, Arizona RBA, puts on excellent events and will keep you on your toes. Reports are that these brevets make up in wind what they may not offer in climbing. Here is Susan's photo of the Casa Grande Ruins, theme of her 200k on January 2:

Dick Wiss for one is planning on doing the early Arizona series and spending extra days there besides. If you're interested in hooking up with Dick or others, you can reply to this post with your contact info. To chat about it, you can use the Colorado Perm Riders Google group.


P.S. This is not to single out one neighboring region over another. Local riders have quite enjoyed Lone Star Randonneurs events, and they're starting early, too (New Year's Day, to be precise)!

Monday, November 30, 2009

RUSA SR Jerseys Are On Their Way!

The RUSA Super-Randonneur jerseys are being sent out by RUSA over the next couple of weeks, so if you ordered one, watch your mailbox! Here's one satisfied customer who has already worn his outdoors (in the interim before the next cold snap):

If you missed out this time around, or are contemplating your first Super-Randonneur series next year (a good goal, and an especially smart idea if you're aiming for Paris-Brest-Paris 2011), they may well be offered again next year.

If you *are* receiving one, you may send a photo of you wearing it, and I'll compile a montage of everyone's pix.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eric Simmons Rides the Sydney-Melbourne 1200k!

Earlier today (well, yesterday our time), our friend and randonneur par excellence Eric Simmons pushed off on Audax Australia's Sydney-Melbourne Alpine 1200. Perhaps the most visually interesting and certainly the most topologically challenging of the 1200k's Down Under, Eric has been eager to gear up for this one.

You may have encountered Eric two months ago on the Last Chance, ladling out his delicious pasta salad (as you see in this photo) or orange broth at the Byers control; or ridden with him on any number of brevets or permanents; or been fortunate enough to ride the Flèche on his Team Falcon.

For event updates and to follow rider progress, look to the left on the above webpage. We wish Eric all the best (or some suitable aussie expression probably involving "crikey!").


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Super-Randonneurs - Who? Why?

What are Michelle Grainger and Steve Le Goff looking so happy about? Maybe it's because they just finished their 600k and thereby their first Super-Randonneur series!

A Super-Randonneur (SR) series - 200k, 300k, 400k, and 600k brevets ridden in one year - is a big goal for many randonneurs, and the qualifying series for 1200k's such as Paris-Brest-Paris.

A rider recently asked me what it was like to ramp up for the first time to those distances, terra incognita for many riders. Among the 23 local Super-Randonneurs this year (a record for a non-PBP-year), seven are first-timers. Here are stories and advice from some of them:

Might an SR series be on your radar for 2010? It's good training, a fine accomplishment, and, if you're thinking of riding Paris-Brest-Paris in 2011, an especially good idea in the year prior to the event. And as you can see from the SR list, there are plenty of veterans to help you out.


New Super-Randonneur: Irene Takahashi

Someone asked John Lee what it's like to ramp up to a Super Randonneur series for a first time, so this is my story (photo from PCH 600k courtesy of Catherine Shenk):

I'd been riding sporadically as a recreational rider for 30 years. Riding in the spring and summer so I could do the occasional century with the goal of "just finishing". I had ridden the Triple ByPass 2-3 times and done a couple of weeklong bicycle tours before my first brevet.

In April of 2008, I decided to try a 200K brevet and, so, joined the RMCC on the Kersey Kick. Later in the summer I decided to try a 300K brevet...then I was hooked. It felt like such an accomplishment to ride 186 miles in one shot.

This year, I was recovering from a January hip resurfacing (new hip) surgery and really wanted to get back on the bike ASAP. I had no intention of trying to get Super Rando status until trying and completing a 400K in July. I realized that the SR was doable, so I rode the 300K in August and was lucky enough to be invited to ride a California 600K in October. Four weeks before the 600K I started working with a personal coach to try and get stronger and a bit faster so I wouldn't be a huge anchor for my 600K partner, and to be able to finish within the 40 hr time limit.

Having a good bike fit and comfortable saddle are a MUST, along with adequate lighting for nite riding and reflective gear, so as not to become road kill. Doing a test night ride (I joined a friend for the 2nd half of a 400K) was very helpful to gain confidence and see how the equipment performed...i.e. how long will the batteries last, how easy to change out the batteries.

Nutrition on the 600K was interesting. At the advice of Catherine, my partner on this ride, I learned to eat convenience store food quickly (at least relative to what I'd been doing) and head out. We ate sandwiches, burritos, occasional ice cream bars, energy drinks (double shot espressos, redbulls, odwalla smoothies, gatorade), lots o water, some cookies and candy bars.....real food with protein and carbs. It was important to EAT at EVERY control to keep fuelled up for the next section.

When you eat quickly at the controls and head out, you're trying to bank time for the overnite stop. So, on the 600K, we were able to sleep for about 4 hours before heading out for the final day. Had I been a faster rider, we could have had more sleep time.

Great sense of achievement with the completion of the 600K and getting my SR status. Thanks to everyone who contributed to my forward motion, especially Catherine Shenk and John Lee Ellis.

- Irene

New Super-Randonneur: Todd LeBlanc

When did you ride your first brevet? I did my first brevet in Sept 2008. It was the Stove Prairie 200K.

Your brevet/rando experience up to this point? I had done four day bike tours with a group called the Quadbusters for the past 10 years.

How did your previous rando or other experience help you? Because I had climbed many mountain passes I learned perseverance and the ability to overcome a challenge. I also was a competitive athlete in various sports so knew how to train and push my body.

Did you do any specific training for successive, longer SR events? I got a coach and followed the Training Peaks ( regimen. I started in January of 2009 and trained 7-10 hrs a week leading up to the events. Did lots of speed work, climbing and practiced long rides on the weekends. Another big key was lifting weights and doing core work 1-2x a week.

What were the challenges moving up to the longer distances? Without a doubt sitting on the seat (I got a Selle Titanico to get me through) for 10 plus hours. Also not knowing the courses and if I could do the distances I had a big mental challenge to overcome. Having two small kids finding time to train was also a hurdle.

How many years of working towards the SR award did it take you? Setbacks overcome? Just started this year with long brevet riding. The first couple rides we had brutal weather and I wanted to quit but everyone in the group pushed me on. John Lee Ellis and other veteran riders answered every question I ever had helping me through the rides. I did try to qualify for RAAM on the 1200K ride and didn’t hit my goal but was on pace for about 600 miles. Man I hate those Kansas headwinds but got great experience on achieving that goal sometime in the future.

Any particular strategies (nutrition, pace, sleeping)? I went through each ride in my head and sometimes drove the courses. I used Infinit Drink Solution and supplemented with chocolate milk and sandwiches at stops. I rode with a HR monitor and always kept my HR Aerobic even on the long climbs. Ride your own ride and pace.

Any other tips or words of wisdom? During your training rides make sure you work up to 10 hr rides and practice your equipment and nutrition strategy. Look at the equipment of other veteran riders and ask questions of them as they are a wealth of knowledge. Make sure to taper and take it easy before a long ride. I am living proof you can go from riding 100 miles to 750 miles in one year if you are committed to training about 7-10 hrs a week. You don’t need to ride everyday and with a plan you can achieve your goals.


Ed. Note: Todd followed up his SR series by finishing the Last Chance 1200k, not quite a year after his first brevet.

New Super-Randonneur: Andrea Koenig

When did you ride your first brevet? My first brevet was the 200 km Stove Prairie Saunter in September, 2007.

Your brevet/rando experience up to this point? I didn’t have any brevet experience. I had some “randonneuring” experiences of my own: I biked the RMCC’s Copper Triangle. This ride is not a race and had similarities to the brevets and permanents due to the stops at gas stations and/or convenient stores. I also biked from Breckenridge to Denver during that same summer.

How did your previous rando or other experience help you? I didn’t have a lot, but I was athletic growing up, through high school and college. I think that helped to give me some advantages (I learned how to mentally adjust more quickly to new experiences) and/or disadvantages (aches, pains, injuries).

Did you do any specific training for successive, longer SR events? Some night riding, additional brevets/permanents as well as RMCC club rides.

What were the challenges moving up to the longer distances? Mostly mental ones—I just had to tell myself that I had my cell phone, $, other riders that would help me out in the case that something happened (and I’ve used them all). I would also remind myself that despite my mental and physical preparations, that these were just rides and I didn’t have to finish. Despite that last statement, I still took the rides seriously in my prep work.

How many years of working towards the SR award did it take you? Setbacks overcome? In terms of biking, two years. I did have a set back my first year of cycling and attempting the SR series (I completely only the 200 and 300 km brevets). I was disappointed at first, but also realized I could learn from the experience of not finishing the 400 km. I was happy to have ridden my second longest ride as well!

Any particular strategies (nutrition, pace, sleeping)? I ate/drank all sorts of things—bagels, peanut butter, coffee, hot chocolate, Powerbars and Hammer products. I did nothing really for pacing, other than just knowing the time constraints for RUSA’s (and ACP’s) rules for completing the rides. I slept between the two loops of the 2009 600 km ride, as I liked the idea of knowing that a reward of sleep/relaxation was waiting for me.

Other tips or words of wisdom? Bring enough gear and food/water for the weather conditions, lengths of riding between checkpoints and try to know the terrain in terms of where the route goes as well as hills, flats and mountains.

- Andrea

Ed. Note: After Andrea's first brevet, she rode a 200k or longer in each of the next eleven months, to qualify for the RUSA R-12 award, and continued on with another twelve months after that, her second R-12. After her first SR series in June of 2009, she successfully completed the Last Chance 1200k in September. Photo above is of Andrea off to a good start on the treeless environs of eastern Colorado on Last Chance 2009. -jle

Thursday, November 19, 2009

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Enjoying that Extra Darkness Quotient!

It's that time of year when many of us catch ourselves saying, "dusk already??" or "not light yet??" at times on the clock that a month ago bode sunny miles for our early, late, or longish rides. All lit up and 300 km to go on the Peak-to-Peak 300k:

Our riders are pretty good about their lighting systems; still, a reminder can't hurt. Have a look at this recent post from Mary Gersema on The Daily Randonneur blog written in her inimitable style: "You’ll Never Get Anywhere With That Little Light".

Warming up for last weekend's DC Randonneurs Flatbread 200k (Bill Beck, DC RBA, photo):

Fortunately for us, there is a panoply of bright, lightweight, not-too-expensive lighting systems out there, both battery and dynamo. Among the most seasoned and successful local randonneurs, some use battery systems (I do, for instance), others use dynamos, so it's really your choice.

Team Deer with Headlights on the Flèche. - Catherine Shenk photo

If you are new to riding 200k's on these shorter days or are just thinking about an upgrade, look at what others are using, ask around, and be open to trying out new lighting. One recent Permanent rider (JK) was actually counting on coming in after dark so he could give his new, deluxe unit a good workout.

Oh, and remember the reflective gear, too!


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Relishing the Roggen Roundabout 206k Perm

We're now into the "challenging months" hereabouts for the R-12 rider. October 28, the view from our deck, "the biggest October snowstorm in twelve years" ...

So it was especially gratifying that, a mere three days after a two-foot dump of late October snow, roads had cleared beautifully just in time for seven riders to seize the day - the first day of the month, to be specific - for a November ride.

Leslie Sutton, John Klever, Jane Yant, Tammie Nakamura, Ken Heck, Ronaele Foss and I can attest to the fine conditions. Brilliant snow decks the Indian Peaks, seen from 95th St.

Riders pulling into Roggen were eagerly apprised of those who'd come before by the proprietor of the control store. Tammie Nakamura enjoys a snack in Roggen, in front of some snow remnant:

Heading into the sun with a tailwind was nice as far as that went ... but what would that bode for the trip home?? But in fact at just about the time we turned west at Roggen, the winds turned conveniently to push us all home!

Kersey Road reminds us that folks out east have a much more expansive view of the Front Range than we do. The Front Range viewed from a ranch entrance on Kersey Road:

What was tough driving through snowdrifts a couple days before is now a matter of water crossings:

And scenic drifts were still to be had as we headed back into Boulder County:

All in all, a beautiful day for a 200k, and hopefully (though not likely!) a harbinger for some of our winter riding.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Interesting Rando Blogs - Have a look!

It's a big randonneuring world. I have added a list ("Interesting Rando Blogs") to the right. ->

It's a sampling of entertaining / thought-provoking randonneuring-oriented blogs. Dive into the diversity in opinions, perspectives and rides! For starters:

  • The Daily Randonneur - Ed Felker (DC Randonneurs), with contributions from his tandem partner (and now wife) Mary Gersema.

  • Research Trailer Park - Mike Dayton (NC Bicycle Club, and RUSA VP) - "Life and Randonneuring in the Tarheel State" (This is a play on Research Triangle Park, a high-tech enclave in the Raleigh-Durham area.)

  • Alaska Randonneurs - Kevin Turinsky (Anchorage, AK RBA)

  • Mark's Rando Notes - Mark Thomas (Seattle International Randonneurs president, former RUSA president)
Have a favorite to suggest? Let me know!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

California 600K Ride Report

Irene Takahashi and I were lucky enough to be able to go to California and pre-ride the PCH Randonneurs 600K.

Part of our pre-ride responsibilities included reporting on the accuracy of the cue sheet and a supplying post-ride GPS file. Our pre-ride was two days before the official ride, so after we finished, we called the organizer with our updates and observations including information about road closures and needed cue sheet changes – both of which caused us to add an extra 12 miles in our route research, but all in the call of duty.

This ride started in Salinas, the self proclaimed lettuce capital of the world, traveled mostly along the famous California Highway 1 and ended 375 (plus those 12 extra) miles later in Oxnard, after more than 100 miles of lovely and hilly coastal riding. We had perfect weather too.

Here we are at the start.

The people running the hotel were a little annoyed that we wanted to check out at 3:30 am. No one wanted to get up that early, so Irene had to leave her luggage in our room. Jim Verheul, the PCH ride organizer, told me later that he was a little surprised to find Irene's suitcase in his room the night before he started his version of the ride.

The roads heading through the ocean

crossed miles of lettuce fields. Big dirt clods, that had dropped off the heavy farming equipment driving from the fields onto the highway, littered the road shoulder so we had to weave through them. In general, all was mostly quiet that morning except for the occasional truck that dusted our eyes with dirt as they passed.

We could hear the ocean before we finally saw it in the early morning light.


The consensus from all the GPS readings is that this route has about 18,000 feet of climbing. The vertical from the rolling hills along the coast sure added up fast!

There was a lot to look at, including some good surfing waves.

Sometime there were trees and we were riding on pine needs scattered across the roadway. Most of the time we were above the fog, other times next to it, and occasionally in it.

One of the controls was someone’s house. We showed up, unannounced, and our cards were graciously signed.

The route turned inland and we had amazing stars along the way. I rode for quite a ways in the starlight. We got to Buellton around 11:00 that night and we left at 4:45 a.m. the next morning.

We had great weather on the second day too. More great views and another perfect day.

Irene remembered a beach where there would be sea lions. I had my camera ready!

We had our last cool breeze as we rolled though Santa Barbara before heading inland up to Lake Casitas.

We had heard there was a nasty double climb to the lake on this the last day – away from the cool breezes on the coast and up into the heat. We bought drinks form a little hot dog stand before heading up the climb and the woman working there told us it would be 100 degrees. Once she put that idea in our heads, we were certain it was 110!

After that heat-induced mini suffer-fest, we rolled back down to the coats and the cooler air. The cue sheet had a STRAIGHT that should have been a LEFT – but after a while we figured that out and backtracked, making it to the hotel control point by 6:15 pm still before the sun set.

Congratulations to Irene on completing her first 600K and her first 200-300-400-600K series!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2010 Brevets!

RUSA has approved the slate of US ACP events (and others submitted up to this point) for 2010. You can search for events for all US regions on the RUSA website and see our local schedule here. (Populaire offerings are tentative - they have not yet been submitted or approved.)
Here's some of what's in store:
  • Possible to earn two Super-Randonneur Awards in one season using our series! (This by adding one event to last year's line up.)
  • Two additional 200k's - one in July, one in October - making for six 200k's in all (not counting the Last Chance 200k). This is not foreseen as a regular feature, but something special for 2010. The new 200k's are to use different routes drawn from the Permanents, provisionally the Glen Haven Gallivant and James Canyon Jaunt.

Have some planning fun as you enjoy autumnal riding!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Last Chance "Big Book" of Results Published!

Tim Feldman has compiled finisher results of all seven editions of the Last Chance 1200k, from 2001 through this year, into a single page: one table for 1200k and a second for 1000k finishers. This evokes the figurative "Grand Livre" (Big Book) into which Paris-Brest-Paris finishers are inscribed. Thanks, Tim!

Bill Olsen, Alain Abbate, and Viktoriya Shundrovskaya finish Last Chance 2009:
The next edition of the Colorado Last Chance 1200k is slated for 9/15/2010.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Squaw Pass Scramble - A Climber's Delight!

September 27 seemed like a fine early autumn day to try out Catherine Shenk's new "Squaw Pass Scramble" 200k Permanent.

Billed as a "climber's delight," it was fortunate there was dramatic scenery and bright fall colors to gaze upon during all that climbing! Here both aspen gold and snowcapped Front Range viewed from Omigod Road:

Irene Takahashi and Catherine were off on an even longer climbing-rich permanent - Catherine's Coffee Cup Classic 340k ... so I joined them at o-dark-quite-early for their start.
We climbed windswept Lookout Mountain in the dark, the lights of Golden twinkling below. Our routes parted at El Rancho, and the randonneurs headed out on their separate forays. First dawn light hits the golden aspen on the Squaw Pass Road:

Here's Squaw Pass Summit, still six miles from the high point of Hwy. 103, which tops out at 11,000 ft., above Echo Lake:

Plenty of panoramic views of fall foliage and distant peaks to enjoy:

... and a collage of aspen and first snow on the roadside:
The new Echo Mountain ski area offers a scenic prospect across Clear Creek Canyon:

... and as the road tops out, you can see Mt. Evans sliced by the now snow-encrusted Mt. Evans Road:
Descending to Echo Lake, I managed to brake for a serene view of Upper Bear Creek Valley (west of Evergreen):
The Echo Lake Store is just opening for the day - good thing, as it's a checkpoint. Just beyond, Echo Lake at 10,000 ft. has a great snowy backdrop. The nearby pines offer some shelter from the hefty winds that have "prolonged" my climb up the Squaw Pass Road.
Some of the best foliage of the route was on the descent to Idaho Springs. Very quiet at this time of morning, although there are already cyclists heading up from the valley.
A quick transit of Idaho Springs brings us to the second (or is it the third?) challenge of the Permanent: Omigod Road, offering seven miles of dirt, mainly climbing:
It is actually a well-engineered and well-maintained road, eminently rideable in dry conditions. The switchbacks and terrain-hugging curvature are poetic, as you look back to assess your efforts thus far:
It's definitely mining country: an old site graced by aspens at peak color:
At the summit, a reminder that, yes, "Rd 279" (Omigod) actually goes somewhere (in particular, where we are aiming for!):
Mining sites abound on the descent:
... forming a quiet backdoor gateway into Central City - no gambler traffic to be seen:After the plunge through Central City and Blackhawk, and the six mile climb back up, the sweeping Peak-to-Peak Highway has more good vistas to offer:
The stop at the Rollinsville Store checkpoint was affable - the store proprietor a mountain biker who appreciated that the route climbed Omigod Road ... and could understand why I was no longer exactly "fresh." At this point in the afternoon, the climb *up* to Coal Creek Canyon and the descent through along the wooded canyon is fairly quiet and rustic.

Then ... what a contrast, exiting the mouth of the canyon and those hours of wooded mountain travel, to find yourself suddenly on the vast and treeless windswept plains across Rocky Flats:
And yet, not without that final climb up Indiana Rd.

Mile for mile, one of the highest "quality" routes I've ridden. Climbs and great scenery succeed one another with very little interlude. And you can count on quiet, backroads conditions for much of the distance.

Do this one if you can before snows close in! Or plan to ramp up for a treat next spring.