The point of this webpage is to serve as a macro scale log of my cycling, and how I felt about it at various points in time, as well as serve as a library of fun (and safe) routes, for the future me, as well as anyone else who finds this page.

Macro cycling log

August-November, 2023

These months were spent back in Ann Arbor, doing a lot of the weekday rides with the Ann Arbor Velo Club, and some longer rides on the weekends, either solo, or with people I'd met through the club. I also tried out racing cyclocross, and while I enjoyed it, and plan to make it a regular thing every winter, I was not a huge fan to cleaning out the kilograms of mud from my bike post races. Thankfully, Western Pennsylvania seems to have excellent road/gravel cycling, as well as a decent cross scene, and it's not too far from New York either, which has even more cross.

This was the biggest cross race of the Michigan cross series, and also the one closest to home. This was also extremely muddy, and hilly, and consequently, very slow. Still happy I managed to finish in the top third rather than in the bottom half like the previous race.

This was my first cross race, and a good one to start with. Not a lot of mud, and a reasonably long single track section, where I could pick up some speed.

Accidentally ended up on a mountain bike trail while looking for a shortcut on this ride. Eventually the trail got a bit too challenging for my gravel bike, so I decided to carry my bike through the woods, across a small stream, before managing to find a gravel road again.

My first proper gravel event, with breakaways, pacelines, and groups forming after the initial mass start. I was lucky enough to find a group early on, where I could keep up with the rest of the riders, and we got a good rotation going. I lost them somewhere in the middle, while I was slowly navigating a sandy technical section, but caught up with them soon afterwards, and managed to stick with them for the rest of the ride.

June and July, 2023

I spent these two months riding in Eastern Pennsylvania, in the Delaware river valley. This region had excellent paved roads for cycling (although not enough gravel), and had some real elevation gain, unlike Michigan, where one only gains 500 to 800 metres of elevation for every 100k ridden, and the gradients rarely exceed 8%. Whereas here, the elevation gain per 100k was somewhere between 900 meters to 1200 meters, and the gradients were routinely between 10% and 15%, with occasional sections of 20%.

Initially, I found it really hard to pace myself on some of the longer unknown climbs: when you can't see the top of the climb, it's hard to determine whether pushing hard out of the saddle is better than sitting in and spinning on an easy gear. Later in the summer, I ended up splurging a power meter that helped a little bit: I stuck to sub-threshold power for most of the climb, and then push hard when I could see the crest of the hill.

It was here that I also discovered the joys of stopping at small town cafes for mid-ride meals, rather than subsisting on cereal bars and energy gels I'd pack for the ride. I ended up trying out several excellent savoury pastries that I wouldn't have otherwise.

Here's a list of some of favourite rides from this time:

This was my second attempt at a 200k, and my first successful one.

All in all, I managed to get about 1600 kilometres of riding done in 7 weeks, which isn't too bad considering I only had time for long rides over the weekends.

May 2023

I spent this month riding as much as I possibly could, given that the weather was about as nice as it would get, and I had a lot of free time thanks to summer break. I tried my first 200k this month, but failed to finish at kilometre 194. I also went on my first bikepacking overnight trip. This was a short trip, mainly to learn about the logistics of carrying all my gear on a bike, as well as (re)learning how to camp. I did not expect the night outside to get as cold as it did, given that this was in the summer, so that was a lesson that I won't forget any time soon.

Here's the Strava activities for a couple of the long rides, as well as the return ride from camping:

This was a fairly produtive month, where I got about 950 kilometres of riding done.