Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's the Great Pumpkin Ride, Charlie Brown

Scott and I participated in the Great Pumpkin Ride in Warrenton, VA, today. We rode the quarter century route and I wore the Creepy Pumpkin jersey from Scudo Sports Wear.

Highlights of the ride
- The beautifully and deliciously stocked rest stop at mile 14. I did not try the pumpkin soup, but everything I did try was super yummy.
- The gorgeous fall foliage. We rode on a few back roads with little to no traffic and it felt like we were deep in the woods.
- Well-marked route with arrows painted on the roadways as we approached intersections with turns.
- All the comments about my jersey from other riders and photographers. It was a hit and many riders told me how happy it made them to see the jack-o-lanterns.
- Cheering on another woman rider as she and I struggled up some of the hills. Our husbands pedaled up those hills and patiently waited (and caught their breaths) as we crawled up together.

Lowlights of the ride
- Lack of information or a decent website. There's a reason there's no link to the ride above; it doesn't have a website. No route info beyond route lengths and no rest stop info.
- SUPER hilly course. We were told that this year's quarter century route differed from last year's and was MUCH hillier.
- Nothing happening at the end of the ride. The ride was a big loop and we started/ended at the Trail Head parking lot. When we finished, only the registration pop-ups (unmanned, I should add) were present.
- Not being able to find the Bike Me DC meet up group so we could ride with them.
- The temperature. It was in the low 40s when we started and in the low 50s when we finished just after noon. I finally warmed up this evening.

Apparently, we were VERY spoiled by the Backroads Century and the celebratory atmosphere that event provided before and after the ride AND its full-of-information website. I suppose any ride is a good ride, but both Scott and I were disappointed with this event. I think we'll give it a pass next year.

Ride stats
Miles ridden: 24.87
Breaks taken: 1 at the wonderfully stocked rest stop and a couple more after hills
Hills walked: 3
Dead squirrels and raccoons spotted: 3
Travel time: 2h 10m

Something else, not entirely related to this particular ride, is that I have got to train myself out of being psyched out by hills. I can conquer a hill if I can see the end of it. But if it's a long incline or extremely steep, I give up and walk before I push myself too hard. A tiny bit is physical, yes, but mostly it's psychological. More training required.


  1. I hate hills, especially since I live at high elevation where the air is thinnner. I'm conquering hill by just pacing myself and refusing to feel internal pressure to go fast or work up a sweat. Also, my husband helped me with with some tips on shifting gears. I shift into low gear earlier now than I used to and just do an easy pedal up the hills and stand when I need to. This is pretty much the approach I took during our spring trip to hilly San Francisco and it worked out well for me and I only walked one ungodly steep hill.

  2. I LOVE that jersey! So fun and adorable. :o)

  3. Thanks, G.E. :) I was thrilled to find it and was SO happy that the company makes super cute jerseys for big chicks.