Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Central Florida 400k - On any Friday!

The Bike Friday in rural Central Florida

The Lure

In keeping with the goal of a double SR this season I found the lure of the Florida brevets irresistible.  A 400k in March is unthinkable in this region, but in Central Florida it is the norm.  The ride organizer, Tim Bol, had promised a hilly route and warm weather.  Like a steel ball to a magnet I was drawn to it.    

The Logistics

Travel events can be on the complicated side.  Even if one tries for simplicity it doesn't always work out that way.  I, on the other hand, wasn't striving for simplicity at all.  I was intent on finding the most complicated means of transporting myself, a bicycle, and all the required gear to and from the ride.  After exhaustive research my final plan to cover the 1,023 mile distance from home to the ride start was to involve some amount of cycling, on a borrowed Bike Friday Pocket Rocket.  Two trains and three busses.  In addition, I would ship a package filled with gear.  I would travel with only a small back pack and the Bike Friday.  Along with the bike's canvas travel bag.  The bag when not being used to hold the bike would fit in the back pack along with the few other items I wanted with me.  After the ride I would reverse the trip using all the same components.  It was to be an exercise in logistics management (useful prep for PBP) and a personal commitment to the reduction of global warming. 

The Trip South

The morning of departure was cold and rainy.  I modified my plan to allow my wife to drop me at the NJ Transit station on her way to work.  It was a bit of a cheat, but starting the trip wet and cold made little sense.  I boarded the 8:45am train from Raritan with the Bike Friday securely in the travel bag.  Upon arrival at Newark Penn Station I sought out the track number for the Amtrak Silver Star to Florida.  According to the website I was to be able to take a folding bike on the train with me.  The Amtrak folks told me, No! I had to check it.  Fortunately, I had thought to pack the soft case with foam cushioning.  Although, I would have to find a place to store the foam at the train station in Orlando for use on the return trip as the bag would not pack down small enough with the foam in.  A little over an hour later I was relaxing in my coach seat while hurtling along southbound.  A mere 22 hours later we pulled into the Orlando Amtrak Terminal.  After claiming the bike I found a quiet spot on the side of the station to remove it from the bag and set it up for riding.  I also found a chain link fence surrounding some kind of electric generator where I could wedge in the foam padding.  I thought there would be a good chance it would still be there on Monday when I returned.  I then rode the bike the three miles to the Lynx Central Bus Station in downtown Orlando for the next leg of the trip.  Upon arrival at the bus terminal I boarded Lynx bus #17 to Apopka with the bike secured in the front mounted bike rack.  Forty-five minutes later I boarded Lynx bus # 44 to Zellwood once again racking the bike on the front.  The bus arrived at Zellwood, one hour later.  My next connection was to be the Lake County Bus # 4.  At this point the schedule wasn't working out so well. I would need to wait one and a half hours for the bus. It was only going to take me 9 of the 12 miles to the hotel.  This didn't seem worth it.  I decided to just ride the 12 miles.  It was a nice day with temperatures in the sixties. A strong wind was blowing from the south.  Of course that would be  my direction of travel for the 12 mile ride. Not knowing the back roads I rode the shoulder of US 441 the entire way.  It wasn't the most pleasant experience, but soon enough I arrived at the hotel.  The trip had taken 30 hours door to door.  I was pleased that things worked out as well as they did.
The Lynx Bus from Orlando

The Panic

Upon checking into the hotel I asked the desk clerk for my package which should have arrived by UPS earlier in the day.  He was quite certain that no package had arrived.  I immediately called to track it and was informed that the package would not make it there in time for the ride.  They would ship it back to the point of origin and refund my shipping cost.  Everything I needed for the ride was in that box.  Cycling clothes, gloves, jacket, reflective gear, lighting, Perpetuem, Gels, and water bottles.  My initial panic changed to utter despair as I didn't see how I would be able to do the ride without at least some of the stuff.  On the elevator headed up to the room it dawned on me that if I could find a bike shop, close by, maybe I could buy enough gear to start the ride.  I called my daughter at home asking her do an internet search for bike shops.  There was one listed 2.5 miles away from the hotel.  I called them explaining my predicament and was told to come right over.  They would try to get me what I needed.  I quicky ride over to Sun Cycles.  Mark, and the other folks there, helped me find most of what I needed.  Battery operated lights (front, rear and helmet), reflective gear, water bottle cages, water bottles, gloves, gels, chamois butter, etc.  I left there over $200 lighter, but feeling much more optimistic.  At least I could start the ride.  Although, finishing might be another matter.  I considered some of my gear to be sub standard for a 400k.  The only shorts I had with me were good for rides up to about 50 miles.  The gloves were not adequate much below 48 degrees, and, my only jacket was a very light rain jacket purchased on EBay for $25.  Fortunately, I had a pair of leg warmers and two Icebreaker wool shirts with me.  Also, a lightweight jersey. Which would be useful if the temperature went up during the day.

Back in the room I installed the lighting and water bottles on the bike.  Also, laying out all the clothes I would wear for the anticipated 41degree start.  I was nervous about it, but so tired from all the travel that all I wanted to do was sleep.  I was in bed by 9pm for a 5am start.

The Ride      

I'm out under the hotel canopy with twenty other riders just before 5am.  The air temperature feels comfortable at 45 degrees, warmer than predicted.  I recognize a number of the participants from the two Florida brevets I did last month.  At the start I fall into step with a good size group of a dozen riders.  As we leave the Eustis area the temperature drops considerably into the upper 30's.  We are passing by numerous lakes covered with fog.  I have to remove my glasses as they are covered with mist.  I'm feeling quite chilled, especially my fingers.  We've yet to hit any hills, although they would be welcome now.  After enduring the cold for over an hour the sun begins to rise and the warm up starts.  At about the same time we hit Thrill Hill which begins as a steep freezing cold descent, quickly followed by a steep climb.  After about three hours the cold is no longer an issue.  I'm riding with a group of about eight riders for the last 10 miles to the control at mile 56 which is a Circle K convenience store.   I recognize the volunteer, Dan, from the 300k last month. The group is making fast work of the control and they are quickly ready to depart.  I need to purchase sunscreen from the store.  My supply was in the box that never arrived.  I let the group go without me for the sake of avoiding skin cancer. 
A Florida hill looms ahead

There are a few riders milling about when I'm ready to leave, including Paul, a fixed gear rider, who I did all of a 300k with in Gainesville last month.  No one seemed ready to leave.  I was antsy to go so I left the control on my own thinking that I can follow a cue sheet as well as anybody.  I should know that over-confidence is a dangerous thing.  Ten miles out of the control I am hopelessly lost.  I'm in a very rural area with minimal road markings.  I have no idea where I've gone wrong.  I never came across the turn I was looking for.  I assume I need to back track, but am not sure.  There appears to be cell service so I call home.  My wife agrees to help me using Google Maps.  It takes considerable time before she figures out where I am.  I've managed to pass the turn by four miles.  I back track and finally find it.  I've lost over an hour between the bonus miles and the time spent on the phone.  There is plenty of time to make the control as it is open until after 5pm.  I encounter a few good sized climbs on the way.  Buckhill Road and Sugarloaf Mountain Road are the most notable.  Sugarloaf holds the distinction of being the highest peak in Florida.  Climbing it involves 350 feet of gain in .75 miles.  With the minimal gearing on the Friday it was a bit of a knee breaker, but I made the top without walking.  At the summit I pass a couple, who are on the brevet.  The control at the Ferndale Preserve is just a few relatively easy miles away.   I arrive at the park where volunteers have a food table set up.  There are two other riders there.  Everyone else is down the road.  While I'm eating a sandwich one rider heads out, followed shortly by the second rider.  The couple I passed arrives.  I'm anxious to get on the road.  I am ahead of the cut-off by several hours.  I want to minimize my night riding, as it likely will get cold again.   I depart the control hoping to catch up to more riders.  Hopefully, one with a GPS.  The navigation error has shaken my confidence a bit.

The West Orange Trail.  A cycling resource in Florida

Jim on the West Orange Trail near Winter Park
The next stop is at mile 164 in Tangerine.  The route takes us back over some of the same hills we have just done on the opposite side.  After a few miles I spot a rider up ahead.  I catch up to him on an upgrade and see it was the guy who left the control before me.  I notice the GPS on his bike and ask if he is familiar with the route.  It turns out he is from the local area and has done the route many times.  His name is Jim.  I ask if he would mind some company.  He readily agrees to ride together.  After the hills are behind us we are directed onto the West Orange Trail which is a 22 mile paved bike path.  The trail takes a few twists and turns.  It is not always clearly marked, but is pleasant to ride and nicely maintained.  Jim is very familiar with it and navigates us through with no trouble.  Upon leaving the bike path we work our way through 11 miles of rolling terrain to the control, a Citgo Station with a convenience market.  I recognize it as one I passed by the day before while riding to the hotel.  We have about 90 miles to go, so I assume we will be doing some serious looping around.  Darkness falls while we are in the stop.  There are two riders there, one departs soon after our arrival.  The other lingers a bit and chats with us.  His name is Doug, he is from Seattle.  He decides to join us when we leave.

Upon leaving the control in full darkness we head away from the direction of the finish.  While I've not seen the route on a map it is clear we are backtracking.  In 17 miles we re-climb Sugarloaf Mountain from the opposite side, which is a bit longer and somewhat less steep than the other way.  There is a secret control on the top of the climb.  The volunteer, Dan, I've seen at two earlier controls today.  Apparantly, he signed on for the full tour of duty.   After leaving the control we get throughly chilled descending the steep side of the hill.  It's becoming inceasingly more difficult to stay warm.  We have 16 miles to the control at Mascotte.  Jim informs us that Mascotte is typically the coldest spot on the route.  His prediction is dead on accurate as we become more uncomfortable with every mile.  In the last few miles to the control Doug and I pick up the pace as a matter of pure survival.  I'm surely under dressed for the conditions.  However, Doug surpasses me on that score as he is not even wearing leg warmers.  His bare legs are a painful sight.  Jim, who is adequetely dressed, encourages us to go ahead.  He will meet us at the control.   Once inside the convenience store I'm soaking up the heat like a sponge.  There are two other riders inside the store as well.  Jim arrives a short time later.  We take our time sitting on stacked up cases of soda while drinking hot beverages.  The thought of going back outside is just too unpleasant to fathom at the moment. 

After a long break we make our way back outside.  We have 30 miles to the finish.  Jim assures us that it will warm up as we get closer to Eustis.  I hang onto that thought as we get underway.  After a few miles we enter an industrial area.  Jim is right once again as it is most decidedly warmer here.  We pass one of the riders who left the control ahead of us.  He chooses to let us go rather than join us.  The terrain is moderate to rolling at this point.  The three of us stay together all helping with navigation.  I'm pleased there have been no further problems on that front.  A few miles later we pass another rider on a long gentle upgrade.   I invite him to join us.  He tells me he is too tired to pick up the pace and will just limp in to the finish.  I start recognizing some of the road names as we get close to the hotel.  We work our way through a rapid series of turns at which point the hotel looms into view.  We pull up to the entrance at just over 22hrs.  The Bike Friday and the skimpy gear made it through the ride.  The long trip was not in vain.

The Trip North

After spending Sunday lounging around the hotel recovering from the ride.  I left, on the bike, at 8:30am Monday morning. The bus connections worked well this time. I caught all three busses with a maximum wait of only 20 minutes.  The foam padding I had hidden at the Amtrak station was waiting for me when I arrived.  I packed up the bike, boarding the train about an hour later.  At 11:00am the next morning I was re-united with the bike at Newark Penn.  Throwing the foam padding away I unpacked  it.  Then caught the NJ Transit train to Raritan.  Upon arrival I rode the 10 miles from the station to home.  I was as pleased with having completed the return trip using 100% public transportation, as I was finishing the 400k.

At the Orlando Terminal

Riding the NJ Transit


While switching the pedals and saddle of the Bike Friday back to the ones preferred by the owner I could only marvel at this piece of machinery.  If I had been seeing this bike for the first time I would have sworn there was no way anyone could ride it a considerable distance.  Now that I am familiar with its capabilities I would not hesitate to ride it any distance.  I was told, by my friend Paul, that it is so nice to ride that one can simply forget they are on a folding bike. It's hard to imagine, but it is so true.  The folks in Eugene, Oregon, who build this fine machine, take great pride in the versatility of their product.  The motto of "Performance that Packs" is right on the money.  I hope to own one of these one day.  Also, I hope to be able to reduce my carbon footprint by utilizing more pubilc transit.  As fuel prices continue to escalate I think I will be in good company.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Two Valley Loop 107k Permanent - March P-12 Ride (Tandem)

Al stands by Big Red after setting the fastest time for the route.
Weather can be a big motivator.  A good forecast at a time of year when we could potentially be knee deep in snow is not to be taken lightly.  After reviewing the on-line version of the Weather Channel I proposed to Al that we attempt the Two Valley Loop on the Burley tandem.  The hilly 107 kilometer route would provide us with a much needed perspective on our progress. We would have steep kickers and long climbs to test our vertical capabilities.  On the lighter side it was suggested we attempt to set the tandem course record.  Which shouldn't be too difficult since we would be the first tandem team to ride it.  All we would need to do is finish.

We set up to do the ride on the Saturday at 9:00am.  In the back of my mind was the idea that we try to set the fastest time overall for the route.  Of the ten rides recorded to date the fastest time was 5 hrs and 42 minutes set by three local riders the prior weekend.  I took the time to mark our cue sheet with the time we would need to arrive at each control to stay ahead.  With the hilly profile of the route I considered it a lofty goal, but it was worth trying.  I presented the idea to Al as a non do-or-die concept.  If we fall short, so be it.  No brooding about it.  We would just give it a fair shot and be happy we tried.  

As predicted March 5th was indeed a nice day.  We had light tail winds all the way to the Califon control (33mi).  Although, the hilly terrain from Stanton Mountain (18mi) onward took away much of the benefit.  We arrived at the first control a few minutes ahead of the pace, but we took some time to make clothing adjustments.  The day was warming fast and hills were looming ahead.  Neither of us wanted to overheat. 

We worked our way through the rolling terrain, and the big climb up to the Round Valley Resorvoir. Then descended to the boro of Lebanon.  After which came the several mile climb up Cokesbury Road.  Arguably, the most difficult of the route.  We fared well keeping a steady rhythm all the way up.  After the back side of Cokesbury was descended we then took on the steep kickers of Cokesbury-Califon Road.  We alternated between standing and seated to break things up a bit.  For our first time on steep terrain it went quite well. We were in control of the bike the entire time.   After a final steep kicker up to Route 513 we arrived at the Califon control two minutes beyond the time needed to stay on pace.

We made quick work of the control stop and headed out to 513 East for the five mile leg to the info control at Long Valley.  We kept a good steady pace despite some cross wind.  The terrain was mostly flat and pleasant.  Our arrival at the Cycle Craft bike store was ahead of pace by a few minutes.  I then became cautiously optimistic of our chances at the record time.  We quickly got back out on the route making the turn south on Route 517.  This section is fairly tandem friendly, despite one long climb.  The only problem is the wind had picked up considerably and we were into it for the next 13 miles to Whitehouse Station.  We kept a steady, although somewhat slower, pace through the headwind to the big climb.  The stair steps of the climb seemed to last forever, but knowing it is the last upgrade of any consequence helped us to keep pushing.  Shortly after came the big downhill.  The strong wind gusts had minimal effect on the stability of the tandem.  We had fun pushing our biggest gear down the two mile descent.  Our arrival at Whitehouse Station had us five minutes ahead of the pace.  We gave back that margin, and then some, by using rest rooms and refreshing water for the final 16 mile leg.

The last section consisted of rolling terrain and small hills.  With one eye on my watch and the other on the odometer we concentrated our efforts.  I would put all I had into the pedals on the upgrades to keep from too much speed erosion.  At the top of each rise I would feel Al kick in like a turbo-charger allowing me some recovery.  This worked well, although it still wasn't clear we would make it.  None the less we kept it up.  We worked as a team keeping the goal in sight and not giving up.  Once we made the turn onto East Mountain Road with four miles to go it became clear we had a good chance.  Both of us put everything we had into those last miles.  Our arrival at the finish was in 5 hrs 38 minutes, which was the new fastest time by four minutes.   


Setting the course record for a Permanent Populairre doesn't really turn the cycling world upside down.  In fact, there is no place such data is even posted.  The information exists only in my filing drawer, where all the paperwork for my permanent routes are stored.  It is only of importance to the players involved.  And, at that, of only minor significance as our sport is non-competitive.  The three riders who's time we bested may not have even been trying for a fast time.  They could have set up lounge chairs at every control and kicked back while enjoying a leisurely cup of tea before setting out for the next stop.  It is in this light that we set the challenge and accept the result as no more than pure fun.  A motivator to help us do the best that we can.  Not a comparison to the abilities of others.  It's my hope that when someone comes along to ride the route faster than we did they derive as much pleasure out of it as us.



Saturday, March 5, 2011

Nockamixon 200k Permanent - R-12 Ride (Fixie)

The Jamis Sputnik by frozen Lake Nockamixon
As the ground hog predicted March opened with some milder days.  The timing seemed appropriate to knock off the monthly 200k.  My friend and frequent R-12 riding companion, Al, would join me for a 7am start from Princeton Junction.   I had decided to attempt the ride on my fixed gear, after making it through a hilly 100k a few days prior.  Still, I was having a few doubts about this ride.  The Nockamixon route offers some robust climbing.  Having completed the course a number of times, all with gears, I figured on there being a strong chance I would need to walk up a few steep pitches.

We depart Princeton Junction at 7am with the air temperature in the low thirties and a 12 mph wind.  The wind, which is ever present this time of year, would fight us for the first 57 miles to Richlaytown Pa.  Although, mostly on my mind is the first major climb in Pennington, Poor Farm Road.  Prior to arriving there we would skirt through the trafficky boro of Princeton by the university.  Given we were undertaking the ride on a weekday the place was bustling with vehicles of all types.  After just a few miles we find ourselves in much more rural surroundings.  The sun is doing its thing, warming the air, but the wind chill is still keeping us cold.  We make the turn onto the lower section of the Poor Farm climb.  The road features two hills.  The first is sort of a nice warm up which I manage quite nicely.  After a short fast descent we hit phase two of the climb.  This section pitches up wildly as it intersects with Harbourtown-Woodsville Road.  I need to use both upper and lower body strength just to keep the pedals turning at a cadence slow enough to be computed with an hour glass.  To my surprise I stay upright to the top.  Al passes by me on the fast descent as I max out my spin at 32 mph.  I manage with somewhat less effort the two other more gradual climbs, Valley Road and Goat Hill Road. The two consecutive inclines link together for three miles of steady ascent before dropping down to  the control at Lambertville.    

After a short coffee break at the Lambertville Trading Company we are on the bikes for a couple of hundred yards before walking them over the footpath section of the bridge into New Hope, PA.  The terrain for the next five miles is rolling with some flat sections.  But, after that there is a hill on Street Road which is forever burned into my memory.  I fell over on it two years ago trying to get up on the original Mellow Yellow (recumbent).  One doesn't easily forget things like that, despite the fact that I later achieved the top without incident on that same machine.  I'm hoping I won't need two attempts this time.

Once we arrive at the bottom I warn Al that it's best not to be too close to me as my track record on this climb isn't so good.  The switchbacks loom up ahead where the pitch steepens.  Again, it requires my full effort to make it.  I rue the fact that I haven't been doing much to strengthen my upper body this year.  Stronger arms would be useful at this point.  Once I'm on level ground I start going through the route in my head mentally preparing for the next tough climb.  I clearly recall Elephant Road which is just prior to the rides namesake, Lake Nockamixon.  There are a few hearty rollers in between, but those don't concern me.   Elephant road requires somewhat less effort after which we drop to the frozen lake.  Seeing the icy surface makes me feel cold despite the ever increasing temperature.   We stop for a photo and head out to quickly encounter the longish climb up Dublin Pike. Which, fortunately, is not quite as steep as the others.  After a few more small kickers we are on the flat section to the control.  Our only adversary is the relentless wind which is at about 14mph.  We slowly make our way to the stop at the 7-11 store in Richlaytown.  As soon as I dismount my bike I feel pain in my left hamstring.  At only 57 miles it's a bit concerning.  My low back hurts also, but less so. 
Feeling cold by the iced up lake
After a fairly lengthly control break we get on the road headed once again to the Delaware River, where we will cross back into New Jersey at the more northerly location of Frenchtown.  There are twelve miles of scenic flat to rolling roads before we come to the climb I've been dreading.  Center Hill Road.  Which is a two mile grade to the top of the ridge.  There is a steep pitch just a little before the peak.  While standing for the climb I discover that adjusting my technique to minimize pulling up on the left side reduces the strain on my hamstring.  It makes the pedaling rhythm a little awkward, but the muscle remains dormant during the push down phase.  Climbing in this fashion is a little slower.  At which point Al goes past me in his granny gear spinning smoothly.  As the grade lessens he attempts a shift up that doesn't take.  He slows quickly and I grind my way back to the front.  When we regroup he says he wanted to beat me to top.  If not for the errant shift he surely would have. 

At this point we are following a revision in the route that has not yet been tested.  I'd agreed to test it out for the route owner, who is a friend.  Unfortunately, the road we were to descend to the river on is barricaded.  We have to back track to find another way down.  Jugtown Hill Road which we passed about a mile back is our next best option.  We fly down it to River Road and continue to the bridge.  As we are walking across the footpath Al mentions we have over an hour in hand.  I reason that the lack of headwind allowed us to gain back some time as we were not ahead when we left the Richlaytown control.  Upon arriving at the Citgo, in Frenchtown, I'm getting the card signed when it appears that Al was mistaken.  The time on the brevet card shows us late to the control.  Since I've never had this happen before I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do.  I have the lady sign the card with the current, albeit late, time filled in.  I can think of nothing else to do but continue the route.  Al seems to take it in stride as I tell him we better leave right away.  We head off towards the next control in Ringoes, less than twenty miles away.

I'm a little glum as we start the climb up Horseshoe Bend Road.  I've never had a DNF, or DNQ on a 200k before.  My goal is to push us to the next control so we arrive on time.   Then later ask the route owner for a time allowance to compensate for the road closure prior to the last control.  I feel kind of remiss for not paying closer attention to the control times, but, I normally never have to.  With the exception of catastrophic circumstances I usually have time to spare.  The three plus miles of Horseshoe Bend Road is an up and down affair, as I'm grinding up one of the hills it dawns on me.  The control closing time on the brevet card did not match that of the cue sheet.  The end time on the card was 15:07, the cue sheet 15:32.  We arrived at 15:20!  Due to bridge construction up river the control was moved several miles further south.  The cue sheet reflected the correct closing time, the brevet card did not. We were legit!  My mood brightened immediately. I pulled to the side to wait for Al who was further down the hill.  I wanted to tell him the news. After conveying the new circumstances I suggest we try our best to pick up a little time on the upcoming flat section on Route 519.  When we make the turn we have a moderate wind in our favor (Why is it the strong wind fades when we head in that direction?).  The terrain for the next six miles is mildly rolling.  We average a good clip with my computer reading between 19-23 mph for much of the way.   Soon after we arrive at Ringoes. We opt to use the ATM as proof of passage.  In no more than five minutes we are out on the way to Kendall Park. 

We do well on the first miles of this section, which is Wertsville Road.  The terrain is rolling and Al appears willing to push himself here.  We quickly arrive at the first of two major climbs on this leg.  Lindbergh Road gets us to the top of the Sourland Mountain Ridge.  It's a hill we are both familiar with so it goes fairly well.  The next nine miles are either slightly downhill, or flat.  We average a good pace along this piece, but need to make one unscheduled stop to put on night gear.  We choose a fire house parking lot for this task.  The temperature is quickly dropping so we add a layer as well.  Back on the road we continue briskly until we hit Georgetown Road, the final serious climb of the day.  We work our way up efficiently, then arrive at the control shortly thereafter.  Another ATM is used and we are quickly en-route to the finish. 

Eleven miles remain to the Shopping Center in Princeton Junction.  They are not particularly difficult miles at that.  We are comfortable with our current time cushion of about forty minutes.  We roll the last section at a comfortable, safe pace for night riding.  At this hour traffic is light, the night air is clear and cold.  Once again, I'm enjoying myself.  I reflect back on the day and I remember all of it as fun.  The mind quickly forgets pain and stress in the light of accomplishment.  We arrive at the Southfield Shopping Center in Princeton Junction with an overall time of 12hrs 42minutes.

This ride completes my second consecutive R-12.   As well as my first, and possibly last, hilly fixed gear 200k.  All reasons to celebrate with some good food.  


Fixed gear riding is perhaps my favorite style of cycling.  The simplicity of the machine and the direct connection of legs to continuously moving pedals is a joy.  It's no wonder there are some that get so caught up in it they permanently forgo the use of gears.  Of course, these folks are solidly in the minority.  Especially, when it comes to the distance riding arena.  As enjoyable as it is to ride fixed, it is a distinct disadvantage when covering lots of miles over varying terrain.  A bike equipped with a modern derailleur, and a selection of gears, is considerably more suitable to the task.  While the fixie can get the job done it is at much greater physical cost to the rider.  My normal recovery for a hilly 200k is to spend the next day riding an easy 20-25 miles.  Now at three full days I'm still not right.  I plan to be out on my fixie again soon.  However, I will think hard before taking on another hilly brevet with it.  To the rugged riders who undertake those challenges on a regular basis.  Chapeau!