When work is as busy as it is my time is squeezed down to the nano-second. Basic gist, Day Off, Commute, Hammer Ride, Day Off, Commute, Longest Day, Recovery Ride.

Thursday night after work I spent a bunch of time doing the final prep on my Longest Day set-up.

Swapped the 60s for a pair of 404s. The Zipp rep gave me a couple wheelsets to use and I couldn’t decide which was faster on the flats so I just went with the lighter ones.

Flipped my stem up to make the bike more comfortable. Put a Co2 holder in between the bottle cages in the rear so I could have 4 and 2 spare tubes. Put my multi-tool and random stuff in the Jerry Can. Cut up a grip to make a spacer for the Gas Tank and keep it mounted solid.

Bike is probably around 30 pounds loaded but I was banking that not stopping would be faster than riding with less and stopping. Rode into work friday with a bookbag filled with poop. Kevin picked me up from the shop after work and we drove up to Port Jervis. Despite there being no official Longest Day ride this year, there were a few groups of guys up there doing it!!

I didn’t hear Kevin leave in the morning, he’s like a ninja. I put 2 bottles in Kevin’s truck and planned on going fast enough to catch him and Monica somewhere between 6-Mile Run and Allentown. If the plan worked I figured I wouldn’t have to stop until after Chatsworth.

First 50 miles went very well humming along over 20mph average. I went by a group of fast looking guys through the rollers on 206, my goal from there on out was to not let them see me again. 🙂

Second 50 were still humming along. Caught Kevin while he was stopped at 6-Mile, perfect timing as I drank exactly 2 bottles up to that point!! Sick, now I’d be able to blow through my planned stop at mile 120, south of Allentown.

Third 50 started well but I got a flat just up the road from my planned stop at mile 120, which I hit in under 6-hours. Poop.

So now I was back to my original plan but with one extra stop. Blah. Onward. Average speed was still over 20mph so I had a little time in the bank and was on pace for a low 10-hour time.

I took an extra couple minutes in Chatsworth to pay respect to Andrew.

The 4th 50 miles is where I started to crack a bit. It’s hard to stay motivated through the Pine Barrens, it feels like you’re on a hamster wheel with a rolling screen of pine trees in front of you. Especially considering how pretty the top of NJ is. That last 50 is pretty much a straight line along a highway with no change in scenery, it’s a terrible mental battle. And then I got a second flat somewhere in there. I changed it and sat on the side of the road for a minute just to regain myself. My average dropped under 20 somewhere in there also and I was starting to use up the extra time I banked.

Once I hit Cape May my body started to shut down, riding at 20 mph for 10-hours took it’s toll. I knew I was pushing and would pay for it at some point but was hopelessly optimistic I could push through it. Nope. My body started shaking and I had to get off the bike. Laid on the side of the road for a bit, maybe 15-20 minutes. I was out of drinks as my last stop was 90ish miles ago. I gambled that I could hold out but it didn’t work out that way.

Now that I was off pace for the course record I just strolled through Cape May to the lighthouse. I was on pace for a sub 10.5 hour time too. I was disappointed but happy to get off the damn bike!!

My wife forgot to bring clothes for me because she thought I was carrying them. We went into town and got some and had dinner, then went back to the lighthouse to wait for Kevin. That group of 6 guys I passed on 206 showed up over an hour behind me so that was a small victory. Last to start, first to finish, and I carried all my own shit.

I was so shot when I got to the lighthouse the first time I forgot to do the whole “picture at the end thing” so we did it when Kevin arrived!!


Following day we hit Cape May for breakfast and a cruise with the boys on a Surrey.

Came up short on my goal but we had a successful weekend anyways. This is something that’s on my list of things so I’ll make another run at it in a few weeks possibly.

Jim Vreeland | The Adventurous Commuter | Wednesday, June 24th, 2015