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Natchez Trace Parkway Done! 160 miles Today

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Natchez Trace Parkway Done! 160 miles Today

Old 10-08-20, 09:10 PM
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Natchez Trace Parkway Done! 160 miles Today

Day 4 Natchez Trace Parkway & 440 Miles Done!! 160 miles from Kosciusko to Natchez today!

It took a monster day of riding but we finished the Natchez Trace Parkway this afternoon which was a day earlier than planned. When I started out riding today I didnít plan to ride to the end, but thatís what happened. Essentially I combined the last two days of riding into 1 day. With Hurricane Delta coming right at us I didnít want to leave many miles for tomorrow. My kids would shoot me if Iíd let my precious wife get caught up in a hurricane over a bike ride!!

I was able to ride the first 100 miles in a little over 5 hours so that left enough time to ride the last 60 miles at a manageable pace. But the last 40 miles surprisingly had a bunch of 2-5% hills which really hurt....My wife was right there the entire way and I couldnít have done it without her support.

It might sound eerie to some but I truly believe my incredible recently departed friend Earl Gillon was right there with me today. That wasnít me out there doing that ride today.....I had already ridden 300 miles in 3 days and doing 160 more miles in one day just doesnít make sense for this old fella. But it was just like he was right there with me encouraging me on just like he always did for those of us who knew

Another rider I caught up to when starting out today

Tremendous damage from a previous hurricane, went on for miles north of Jackson

Early ride selfie

Huge reservoir north of Jackson

Just 100 miles to go!

This fella had a big old time in a fire ant hill next to the road

Done!! Driving rain the last 6 miles thanks to Delta
him. I could hear him talking to me all day. Crazy I know, but itís just the type of ride he would have loved doing.

While I was looking forward to doing this ride, Iím really surprised at how much I enjoyed the Trace. It was the safest Iíve ever felt out riding on the road. Except for early morning rush hour riding around Tupelo, traffic was pretty light. 99.9% of the vehicles moved completely into the oncoming lane when passing all four days. I even rode down the center of my lane for a lot of the ride as it was a smoother surface.

While the Trace doesnít have the majestic views of the Blue Ridge Parkway, it was prettier than I was expecting. Most of the Parkway was tree lined on both sides which was very nice. Plus it was like taking an outdoor history class with all the historical markers along the road. Iíd highly recommend the Trace to folks whoíd enjoy riding all or part of it.
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Old 10-09-20, 12:00 AM
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Nice job! I love the photo at the sign. This is the kind of thing that keeps us all young, even when the numbers suggest otherwise. Keep it up!!!
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Old 10-09-20, 03:29 AM
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jppe I want to be like you when I grow up
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Old 10-09-20, 04:23 AM
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Good going and thanks for the reports! I’ve driven the length of the parkway and wondered about riding it from a safety standpoint.
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Old 10-09-20, 06:04 AM
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Old 10-09-20, 06:32 AM
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More details

I ďrode myself into formĒ on this ride. I had an unhealthy couple weeks leading up to the ride. Bad nutrition and lots of alcohol. But I was hoping my base miles would kick in at some point. I could tell that my riding numbers were off on day 1 (like a higher HR) but hoped all of it would improve over time.

Iíve experienced it before but I found my bike posture to be bad the last day. My arms get tired and I wind up leaning to the left. If you were to look straight down Iíd be looking down a little left of the top tube. This put more pressure on my left sit bone which was starting to hurt. So I concentrated on getting squared up on the saddle. I also concentrated on my pedaling form (using the full pedal stoke) to get the maximum efficiency out of the effort. Those two things really helped.

Iíve ridden by cadence and heart rate for the last 18. I have a good handle on what my effort should be in different gears just from experience. Well, my cadence sensor had gotten water logged from a ride in Hurricane Sally a few weeks ago and it wasnít working. So, I just rode by feel for the 4 days. Since the terrain wasnít too hilly I found I rode faster using a little harder gear and spun a little slower. My cadence is normally around 90 but this felt like low 80s. I mixed it up for a change of pace.

Iím more of a sit and spin type of rider. However it helped to stand and pedal about every mile marker the last few days. Helped mentally as well.

The night before the 160 miler I had a big Mexican food supper including a large picture of margaritas. I slept really, really soundly and while my mind was a little foggy the next morning, boy was I rested!!! Iím not sure Iíd recommend that as ride prep though.

Iíve ridden long rides before including several 200 milers, but none of them solo. I had an idea on how to keep fueling along the way. I had really good energy but my energy level dropped rapidly with 15 miles to go. I could tell I was starting to bonk and was really glad I told my wife to wait for me at the 150 mile mark. I drank 3/4 of a can of coke and a chocolate cupcake. Within seconds I had great energy again. I avoid caffeine when not riding so with the 3-4 cokes that day I had a hard time falling asleep!!
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Old 10-09-20, 06:47 AM
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Fantastic! My hero! Best regards and stay safe.
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Old 10-09-20, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
More details

I ďrode myself into formĒ on this ride. I had an unhealthy couple weeks leading up to the ride. Bad nutrition and lots of alcohol. But I was hoping my base miles would kick in at some point. I could tell that my riding numbers were off on day 1 (like a higher HR) but hoped all of it would improve over time.

Iíve experienced it before but I found my bike posture to be bad the last day. My arms get tired and I wind up leaning to the left. If you were to look straight down Iíd be looking down a little left of the top tube. This put more pressure on my left sit bone which was starting to hurt. So I concentrated on getting squared up on the saddle. I also concentrated on my pedaling form (using the full pedal stoke) to get the maximum efficiency out of the effort. Those two things really helped.

Iíve ridden by cadence and heart rate for the last 18. I have a good handle on what my effort should be in different gears just from experience. Well, my cadence sensor had gotten water logged from a ride in Hurricane Sally a few weeks ago and it wasnít working. So, I just rode by feel for the 4 days. Since the terrain wasnít too hilly I found I rode faster using a little harder gear and spun a little slower. My cadence is normally around 90 but this felt like low 80s. I mixed it up for a change of pace.

Iím more of a sit and spin type of rider. However it helped to stand and pedal about every mile marker the last few days. Helped mentally as well.

The night before the 160 miler I had a big Mexican food supper including a large picture of margaritas. I slept really, really soundly and while my mind was a little foggy the next morning, boy was I rested!!! Iím not sure Iíd recommend that as ride prep though.

Iíve ridden long rides before including several 200 milers, but none of them solo. I had an idea on how to keep fueling along the way. I had really good energy but my energy level dropped rapidly with 15 miles to go. I could tell I was starting to bonk and was really glad I told my wife to wait for me at the 150 mile mark. I drank 3/4 of a can of coke and a chocolate cupcake. Within seconds I had great energy again. I avoid caffeine when not riding so with the 3-4 cokes that day I had a hard time falling asleep!!
Impressive accomplishment especially with that big mex dinner including the large pitcher of margaritas
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Old 10-09-20, 07:02 AM
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Congrats! Quite an achievement! Glad you made it before the remnants of the storm make it to that area.
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Old 10-09-20, 01:12 PM
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Great ride report !, and congrats on a supreme effort to combine 2 days of riding. I had wondered what your plan was. I enjoyed this blog as well as your cross country a few years ago. Thanks for posting this.
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Old 10-09-20, 02:17 PM
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Congrats.

What's next?

Maybe Mt. Evans in Colorado? Not long, but a fairly constant 4.5% grade for 27 to 30 some odd miles depending on where exactly you start. And the views must be fantastic from 14,100 feet.

https://www.mybicycleroutes.com/xmtevansinfopage.html

https://pjammcycling.com/climb/50.Mt-Evans
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Old 10-09-20, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Congrats.

What's next?

Maybe Mt. Evans in Colorado? Not long, but a fairly constant 4.5% grade for 27 to 30 some odd miles depending on where exactly you start. And the views must be fantastic from 14,100 feet.

https://www.mybicycleroutes.com/xmtevansinfopage.html

https://pjammcycling.com/climb/50.Mt-Evans
Great question. I still need to do the GAP/C&O Canal on my gravel bike. I thought I might do it this past May but Covid intervened. Katy Trail is still on the list but there have been logistic issues pulling it off. I have a Tour scheduled for Maine in 2021. Iíve ridden most of the climbs in Colorado but not Mt Evans so that needs to be done. Iím also hoping to do 7 days in Montana next summer that includes Beartooth Pass. Iíve descended Haleakala on Maui but not climbed it. Iíd like to ride down to Key West if I can find a safe route. Still so much to do......

And then thereís my daily rounds of golf.......
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Old 10-09-20, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jppe View Post
Great question. I still need to do the GAP/C&O Canal on my gravel bike. I thought I might do it this past May but Covid intervened. Katy Trail is still on the list but there have been logistic issues pulling it off. I have a Tour scheduled for Maine in 2021. Iíve ridden most of the climbs in Colorado but not Mt Evans so that needs to be done. Iím also hoping to do 7 days in Montana next summer that includes Beartooth Pass. Iíve descended Haleakala on Maui but not climbed it. Iíd like to ride down to Key West if I can find a safe route. Still so much to do......

And then thereís my daily rounds of golf.......
Bravo.

I found riding down the keys tolerable in January, traffic wise. It's been maybe five years; some of the route had bike paths paralleling the highway, and I'd guess there are a few more miles now. With a strong tailwind, down the length of the keys was a one day ride, but two would be more relaxing.
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Old 10-10-20, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
Bravo.

I found riding down the keys tolerable in January, traffic wise. It's been maybe five years; some of the route had bike paths paralleling the highway, and I'd guess there are a few more miles now. With a strong tailwind, down the length of the keys was a one day ride, but two would be more relaxing.

Super. I just need to figure out how to ride there from my house in NC!
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Old 10-13-20, 03:19 PM
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@jppe, good job getting it done and getting off the road!

Most of the time I figure a hurricane's rain bands go 100-150 miles out from the eye. This one, though, had rain bands going to the northeast (right up the NTP) that were 400-500 miles long Friday and Saturday. It would have been wet riding those days. (I stayed indoors!)
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