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Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
CREATED: 03/02/10 by PotomacTriathlete2009 REPLIES: 18
PotomacTriathlete2009's ravatar PotomacTriathlete2009    JOINED: 9/19/09    POSTS: 507
Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/02/10 8:44 PM

Anyone else doing this? It's a free event co-sponsored by the Embassy of Sweden and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. The main 59-mile Vasa Ride takes place at 8 am this Sunday from the House of Sweden (Swedish Embassy) at 2900 K St., NW. There are shorter 30 and 15-mile rides too.

The Vasa Ride celebrates Sweden's famous Vasaloppet mass-start cross-country ski race and festival, the largest cross-country ski race in the world (over 15,000 participants one year).

Since we don't usually have that much snow here in early March (although I wouldn't have been surprised to see snow here this year), the Swedish Embassy sponsors a bike ride in D.C. and Md. instead. The route runs from Georgetown through upper NW DC to Potomac, back down to Bethesda, into Rock Creek Park and back to the House of Sweden.

Though the event is free, a $5 donation is suggested. Traditional blueberry soup will be served after the ride until the soup runs out. They recommend you finish by 1 pm. Pre-registering will also help to ensure that they have enough soup on hand.

You can check out the map of the routes at the WABA website:

http://www.waba.org/events/vasaride.php

In case you're wondering, the weather forecast looks very promising. According to the Weather Channel website, the weather on Sunday will be partly sunny/cloudy with a high of 55 and only a 20% chance of precipitation.

For those of you well into your HIM training for Eagleman, this would be perfect. It fits right into my training plan. It's not a race either so you can relax and treat it as a regular long ride, not a high-intensity race. The Halv Vasa and Korte Vasa could work for those training for sprint and Olympic tris.

Did I mention that the Vasa Ride is free?

mosered's ravatar mosered    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1655
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/02/10 8:55 PM

Last year's was a lot fun, including the meet and greet at the embassy afterwards.

I'll be in a DC Tri biking shirt.

gandybt    JOINED: 11/8/09    POSTS: 53
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/03/10 9:28 AM

This one looks like fun...think I'll go. Anyone from VA want to carpool up to the House of Sweden?
-Brad

hppeabody's ravatar hppeabody    JOINED: 9/17/09    POSTS: 192
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/03/10 9:39 AM

If I can get a new tire and tube in time (my roommates cat thinks its a scratching post), then I am planning on doing probably the 30 with a couple of friends.

JustinNunez    JOINED: 12/30/09    POSTS: 26
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/03/10 11:44 AM

I'll be joining for the 59 as long as I don't wake up too late. If I do though, it's the 30 for me.

PotomacTriathlete2009's ravatar PotomacTriathlete2009    JOINED: 9/19/09    POSTS: 507
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/03/10 2:31 PM

I'm going to bike up to the start.

I'll probably wear my aero helmet too, even though I'm not racing. I've gotten used to wearing the aero helmet for all of my rides. It's also warmer than the regular bike helmet, which is nice for winter and spring rides. I even wear the aero helmet on the mountain bike in the winter, even though it doesn't make sense. (I can't pick up any speed on the mtn bike because it's so heavy.) Keeps my head nice and warm. It might look a little goofy but I'd rather be warm.

Sounds like we may have a sizable group of DC Tri Club people there.

nbehappy's ravatar nbehappy    JOINED: 5/23/09    POSTS: 135
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/03/10 6:37 PM

i will carry a rifle on my back for the road bike biathlon

PotomacTriathlete2009's ravatar PotomacTriathlete2009    JOINED: 9/19/09    POSTS: 507
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/03/10 7:34 PM

Hmm, maybe I should wear a Viking helmet instead? Are there any CPSC-certified Viking helmets?

chloevdc's ravatar chloevdc    JOINED: 1/25/10    POSTS: 63
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/05/10 9:37 AM

I'll be there and will be doing the 31 miler!

PotomacTriathlete2009's ravatar PotomacTriathlete2009    JOINED: 9/19/09    POSTS: 507
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/05/10 8:29 PM

I just noticed that part of the ride follows the crushed-stone section of the Capital Crescent Trail between Bethesda and Rock Creek Park. Is it OK to ride on skinny tri tires on that surface? I've only seen that section once and it didn't look like something I would want to take a tri bike on.

mosered's ravatar mosered    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 1655
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/05/10 9:23 PM

Well, I don't recall particular problems with regular road bike tires in '09, if that helps. It was a challenge during last fall's Halloween night ride along that route, but that was due to (in)visibility.

KingsPoint2001's ravatar KingsPoint2001    JOINED: 11/2/09    POSTS: 99
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/06/10 7:31 AM

Whoever ends up going - have a blast! I'd love to go, but stuck inside all weekend on reserve duty. Get your miles in! Looks like great weather!

Pete

PotomacTriathlete2009's ravatar PotomacTriathlete2009    JOINED: 9/19/09    POSTS: 507
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/06/10 4:03 PM

According to today's update on CCTrail.org, there are a few short stretches with ice covering the entire trail, side to side. There is also a section right after the Bethesda Tunnel with fallen bamboo trees blocking the path. Cyclists will have to dismount and walk through these spots, at least 3 of them.

But other than that, the rest of the Interim Capital Crescent Trail is suitable for cycling. It's not as muddy as in previous years, according to the update.

PotomacTriathlete2009's ravatar PotomacTriathlete2009    JOINED: 9/19/09    POSTS: 507
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/08/10 4:56 PM

Did anyone manage to get out there yesterday?

I finished the 59-mile main Vasa Ride. I have to say that it was the hardest workout of my life! I thought it would be a nice casual ride out in the countryside (or what qualifies as countryside around here) and I'd be done in 3:30:00, or 4 hrs. at the very least. I didn't realize that nearly the entire route was a series of hills, many of them quite tough. The ride ended up taking me 5 hours. I just made it in time to get some of the blueberry soup, just a few minutes before the Embassy closed for the day.

The area around Potomac was one hill after another. MacArthur Blvd. is one long, steady incline. Then there was Brandywine St. heading up toward Tenleytown. That is a true beast of a hill and it arrived after we had already been out there much of the day.

The Interim Capital Crescent Trail (Georgetown Branch Trail) was another story altogether. There were a few icy/slushy spots. The tall bamboo trees keep the trail shaded so the sun hasn't been able to melt all of the February snow. I had to carry my bike cyclocross-style over those patches. After getting tired of doing that, I tried to ride through one area. I skidded out on the slush and fell over onto my left side. It didn't hurt that much because the slush softened the blow but the slush got into my brake levers and the sides of my pedals. Suffice it to say, I was only averaging about 1-2 mph on the Interim CCT while carrying my bike and trying not to slip on the slush and mud.

I don't think tri bikes are the best for frequent and steep hills. I struggled through much of the course. That might have also been the result of my training plan. I've been focusing on building my endurance base this winter. That has gone well but I've only just started mixing in some hill and speed work. The approach has kept me injury-free and I should be able to peak for my June (and fall) races. But I wasn't completely prepared for the long and hilly ride yesterday.

Including the bike commute to and from the Swedish Embassy, I rode nearly 71 miles yesterday, my longest bike day ever. I don't think I've ever ridden that many hills in one day either. But I'm still glad I participated. I just wish I knew going in that the route would have so many hills. Part of the problem yesterday was that I wasn't mentally prepared for all of that hill work.

There was a shortcut/bail-out turn at Persimmon Tree Rd. for those on the Vasa Ride who didn't think they would make the 1 pm cutoff to get blueberry soup. I think quite a few people took that shortcut. I think there were about 50 people at the start of the Vasa Ride. I started out at the back of the group. I passed a few of the slower riders but most people passed me on the hills. I don't know how many people rode in the shorter rides. When I got back just before 1 pm, most of the people were already gone for the day. There were only about a dozen cyclists still hanging out at the House of Sweden.

I hope everyone had fun on the ride.

JustinNunez    JOINED: 12/30/09    POSTS: 26
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/08/10 5:07 PM

Congrats on the successful day, PotomacTriathlete2009. I agree, that 59-miler turned from a leisurely group ride into quite the challenge, especially with all the ice and bamboo shoots. I ended up latching onto the Coppi team leading the pack and they absolutely shredded my legs. Fortunately the weather was so nice I didn't realize at the time how hard we were riding. Great event though and the blueberry soup was surprisingly tasty.

PotomacTriathlete2009's ravatar PotomacTriathlete2009    JOINED: 9/19/09    POSTS: 507
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/08/10 5:24 PM

Were you riding the Cervelo?

JustinNunez    JOINED: 12/30/09    POSTS: 26
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/08/10 5:31 PM

Yep, that was me. It was too nice to not let my new TT bike out in the sun although I foolishly thought sun meant no need for gloves. What were you riding? If you're ever up for round 2 against those hills let me know. justinnunez AT gmail DOT com

PotomacTriathlete2009's ravatar PotomacTriathlete2009    JOINED: 9/19/09    POSTS: 507
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/08/10 5:39 PM

I was riding the red Felt bike, plus I was wearing my LG Rocket Air aero helmet. I remember you zooming past me on MacArthur. At this point I know you would smoke me on the hills so I'll have to wait until I've done a lot more hill work before attempting a rematch.

What time did you guys get back to the Embassy?

lieutenantmudd's ravatar lieutenantmudd    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 68
RE: Vasa Ride this Sunday, March 7
POSTED: 3/09/10 7:22 AM

I loved the hills around Potomac, but climbing up Brandywine was torture after ~50 miles.

My group got lost twice. After the turn around, instead of going straight back, we took that six mile loop again. So by the time we were back on course, the entire ride had passed us by. We caught up to the ride by Bethesda and couldn't find the trail, so we just rode another (shorter) way into the park. I am actually glad we couldn't find the trail from the look of other's bikes.

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