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Conquius and Jormungandr Ride to Glory


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Conquius and Jormungandr Ride to Glory

Annan_catan.jpeg.ab21e8c95fddc959676b2835b2c27619.jpegImage Source: 0826 by Catan on ArtStation

 Adventure Log:

Spoiler

I was in the village square, looking over old entries in my adventuring journal. It’s hard to believe that almost a year ago, I was riding Jormungandr, my noble steed, through the Ozarks. The riding was hellish - the heat and humidity soaked through my shirt, and the rolling hills seemed endless. Still, though, the folk were kind and hospitable, the greenery was lush, and the butterflies seemed to follow you on the side of the road. I thought of my fellow riders, and wondered where life had taken them since those days. That journey was over, though, and sometimes I found it hard to remember that.

 

I approached the village bulletin board to see if there was any news. My eyes were pulled in by a pronouncement flyer written in a fanciful hand.

 

TOURNAMENT DE RAGBRAI

Knights of the realm are summoned to partake in an eight day tournament of strength and courage across the mysterious and perilous region known as IOWA.

 

I stopped reading. I am no knight, and any chance I had of becoming one flew out the window long ago. Plus, Iowa? Who had ever heard of such a place? I dismissed the flyer and returned home.

 

As I sat by the candlelight in my chambers, planning out my week in my journal, there was a knock at my door. In hurried Del, my close friend, holding a copy of the pronouncement flyer.

 

“Did you see this flyer?” Del asked.

 

“Yes.” I replied dryly.

 

“Well? Are you going?” Del asked, the excitement in her voice rising.

 

“No! And why would I? It says ‘Knights of the realm are summoned’ and you know very well that I am no knight.” I responded.

 

Silence hung in the air for a moment, then a smile touched the corners of Del’s mouth.

 

“You don’t know.” She whispered.

 

“I don’t know what?”

 

“Conquius, you were summoned.. by name.” Del continued in a hushed, but excited tone.

 

She handed over her copy of the flyer. I skimmed the paragraphs of fanciful font. When I reached the third paragraph, I began to read aloud:


The following riders are also summoned for participation in the tournament, in recognition of their valiant and glorious deeds: Timmadeus the Bard, Keeliope the Huntress, Da’vi the Monk, Conquius the Cavalier.

 

I read the list of names softly. All of them were riders from my journey last year; they were some of the most impressive people I had ever met, and, at least on this flyer, my name stood among them.

 

I thought of what it would be like. A chance to earn glory; a chance to see my adventuring companions again; A chance to sally forth once more. I was resolute. I made my decision. I looked to the start date of the tournament. July 23.

 

“The tournament is in five weeks.” I said with a start. My mind raced with thoughts, preparations, plans. “I’ll need a lance.” I said softly. “And, and a shield with a crest.” I could hear the tournament’s triumphant horns trumpeting in my head, and my heart swelled with joy and anticipation. I raced outside and looked to the open sky. The sun beamed on my face, and the air felt full of life.

 

Conquius and Jormungandr will ride again.

 

At the end of my cross-country trip last year, my riding companions and I talked about a reunion. We decided that we'd do RAGBRAI 2022 together. That time has come, RAGBRAI is just around the corner, and I need to prepare. I'm still in decent riding shape (nowhere near the shape I was in at the end of my trip), but there's room to improve. Additionally, I have to handle some trip logistics and bike maintenance.

 

For those unaware, RAGBRAI stands for "Register's Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa". From the RAGBRAI website:

Quote

RAGBRAI, Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is more than just a bike ride, it is an epic eight-day rolling festival of bicycles, music, food, camaraderie, and community. It is the oldest, largest, and longest multi-day bicycle touring event in the world.

 

Without further ado, here are my goals for this challenge:

 

#1. Back in the Saddle  |  Reward: +1 CON

Establish a 2-3x a Week Cycling routine. This will either complement or replace my current lifting routine. I will have to plan this around my regular Citadel duties, such as grocery shopping and dishes. I do have one card up my sleeve, though, and that is my weekly commute. For those who don't know, I work from home. However, once a week for the past few weeks, I've been riding Jormungandr into the office. My commute is 8-12 miles each way, depending on the route I take, allowing me to easily rack up 20 miles during the week.

 

The idea is to do two rides during the week (one workout, one commute) and one ride on the weekend, with the option of that weekend ride being a longer one. I think this will be sufficient preparation for RAGBRAI.

 

#2. Chart the Course

Plan travel logistics for RAGBRAI. This includes getting there and back, obviously, but it also includes shipping Jormungandr. Normally, I'd take an Amtrak, and use their bike carryon system, but those are all sold out. So the plan is to take an Amtrak for myself, and ship my bike in a bike box, either through the mail, or on the train with me. That means that I also have to be adept at assembling and reassembling my bike, which brings me to:

 

#3. This is My Bicycle. There Are Many Like It But This One Is Mine.

Learn to assemble and disassemble my bicycle on the go. I know how to do basic maintenance, but if I'm going to ship my bike, I need to be able to put it back together. There are bike shops who will typically provide this service for a fee, but I foresee a lot of people going to bike shops trying to get their bikes reassembled, so I'm going to learn to do this myself.

I'm also trying out a new set of handlebars & shifters, so I'm throwing that project into this bucket as well.

  • Like 7

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

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My roommates and I did some early meal planning last night so I could plan out my cycling schedule this week.

 

Week One Zero Plan:

  • Monday: 15-20mi spin.
  • Wednesday Commute: 2 x 8-12mi rides.
  • Saturday: Longer Ride. I'm thinking of going up the C&O Canal some ways & back for about 40 miles total.
  • Like 3

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

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4 hours ago, Snarkyfishguts said:

OMG RAGBRAI!! I am so excited for you, that sounds super awesome and just scary enough to be a lot of fun :D

Thank you! Yeah at first I thought it was going to be an easy cruise, but I looked at the elevation for some of these days and started to sweat 😅

 

4 hours ago, Snarkyfishguts said:

Also, excellent name for your bike!

Thanks! I've followed a theme of mythical beasts for all of my bikes: Pegasus, Cerberus, and now Jormungandr.

  • Like 2

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

Link to comment
2 hours ago, Conquius said:

Thank you! Yeah at first I thought it was going to be an easy cruise, but I looked at the elevation for some of these days and started to sweat 😅

But you got some time before it happens. It's not until the end of July, right? You'll be more than ready by then. 

 

2 hours ago, Conquius said:

Thanks! I've followed a theme of mythical beasts for all of my bikes: Pegasus, Cerberus, and now Jormungandr.

I had to look up Jorm after reading your post, and it is definitely a cool beastie!

  • Like 1
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Monday 6/13/22 Ride Log

Distance: 17.35mi

Time: 1:28:34

Avg Speed: 11.8 mph

Elevation: 505ft

 

Felt nice! Hot and humid out, for sure, and riding on H Street is always a hazard, but I spent a lot of the ride on shaded bike trails, which made it really enjoyable. One of the trails was closed for a detour, so I got lost for a hot minute trying to find the safest way back onto my route.

  • Like 5

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

Link to comment

Wednesday 6/15/22 Ride Log:

Commute In

- Distance: 13.12mi

- Time: 1:05:05

- Avg Speed: 12.1mph

- Elevation: 493ft

 

Commute Out

- Distance: 13.11mi

- Time: 1:03:37

- Avg Speed: 12.4mph

- Elevation: 338ft

 

Today was hot, for sure, but my sun shirt kept me cool. I took the long/scenic route both ways. The scenic route keeps me on nice shaded bike trails, whereas the more direct routes take me through some very hilly and very stuffy neighborhoods. Gets me more distance and more time in the saddle, too. I'd like to see if I can ride this route under an hour (moving time), and then under an hour (total time elapsed). My times in my ride log above are according to my bike GPS, which doesn't track me while I'm not moving.

 

If my mental math is good, that's about 43 miles this week, plus whatever nonsense I get myself into this weekend. I hear Baltimore has a vegan ice cream shop.

 

PXL_20220615_215135945.thumb.jpg.d11454110f1619f6e6bcce23298b0ff4.jpgPXL_20220615_220648685.thumb.jpg.ded8bc84f633e3c078f06146dab584d2.jpg

  • Like 6

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

Link to comment

Got my handlebars in today! I'm just waiting on one of my shifters and my brake levers.

 

I watched some videos to see how the cable housing is done, and it seems a little too simple 👀 I'm probably gonna goof it up, but maybe I won't! Maybe it'll just be that easy.

 

PXL_20220616_175808664.thumb.jpg.6a0800c3df5c62f21aed06306971a2c2.jpg

  • Like 4

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

Link to comment

I'm raising the stakes on Goal #1. Back in the Saddle. The goal is, of course, to establish a 2-3x/week riding habit in preparation for RAGBRAI. Consistency matters.

 

HOWEVER, I've decided to shoot for the stars a bit.

 

Over the next 5 weeks, I want to ride the distance of RAGBRAI - 468mi. 468mi over 5 weeks is about 94 miles per week. If my Wednesday Commute is 26 miles, that leaves 68 miles to tackle between weekday rides and long weekend rides. Pretty gosh dang doable, especially since I'm putting down weight lifting until after RAGBRAI. I haven't decided if/what the reward is going to be for completing this yet.

 

I've got a pretty bonkers ride planned for Saturday. Lots of exploring on a route that's pretty well established by cyclists in the area, but is totally new to me. I've also got a solid bail option in case it's too much.

 

Wish me luck! Onward to Glory!

 

 

  • Like 5

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

Link to comment

Saturday 6/18/22 Ride Log:

 

I dedicate this ride to The Mountain Goats' newest song, "Training Montage". It absolutely slaps, give it a listen.

 

Distance: 84.74 miles

Time: 6:48:08

Avg. Speed: 12.5mph

Elevation: 4,744ft

 

Told y'all it was kinda bonkers. Decided to see if I could ride to Baltimore and back in one day. Stopped in Baltimore for lunch, and vegan ice cream at a spot called Cajou Creamery. My partner and roommate met me there to get lunch together, and to potentially bail me out if the riding was too much.

 

Pics:

PXL_20220618_125727122.thumb.jpg.c6656920a789fd8a0aab2a7774e59d3e.jpgPXL_20220618_132012643.thumb.jpg.650797f9faf2aff685d1a58c77d29688.jpgPXL_20220618_152341213.thumb.jpg.3d5de810104f6b6b06cc88e5c63f5663.jpgPXL_20220618_164046924.thumb.jpg.737ccf09f9eee3f5b7bbc513183b7d30.jpgPXL_20220618_165808739.thumb.jpg.653482fde684208b4637e45533fe8fc6.jpgPXL_20220618_170408565.thumb.jpg.1c04beb1222eead6946d065c42375241.jpgPXL_20220618_181407316.thumb.jpg.65607d88356182cd77d7a27aa86fd70f.jpg

 

  • Like 3

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

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11 hours ago, Sovalis said:

THAT'S AMAZING! Way to go!!

Thank you!

 

11 hours ago, Sovalis said:

How do you feel after that? And was the ice cream good? Your lunch looked great.

Pretty taxed! I got home, had a shower, a protein shake, and some dinner, then promptly went to bed. Quads are a little sore today, but I'm up and at 'em 🤙🤙🤙

 

The ice cream was very good, I got the Baklava flavor, which was good but a little plain. I found out that their ice cream sells in some grocery stores in DC so I can try some of the other flavors without having to ride back out to Baltimore.

  • Like 1

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

Link to comment

Love the adventure pics! RAGBRAI  sounds like an epic experience also.

  • Like 1

Dry January | 2022 Reading Challenge

 

"Always remember, your focus determines your reality." - Qui-Gon Jinn, The Phantom Menace

"I Find That Answer Vague And Unconvincing." - K-2SO, Rogue One

”Persistence without insight will lead to the same outcome.” [spoilers], The Book of Boba Fett

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Monday 6/20/22 Ride Log:

Commuted into the office on Monday for some more mileage. No notes, other than my first sub-1 hr commute on the scenic route! 26 more miles on the ledger for RAGBRAI prep.

 

Commute In:

Distance: 12.80 miles

Time: 1:02:47

Avg. Speed: 12.2mph

Elevation: 541ft

 

Commute Out:

Distance: 12.95 miles

Time: 0:59:00

Avg. Speed: 13.2mph

Elevation: 528ft

  • Like 2

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

Link to comment

Plan for Week One:

 

Monday: Commute. ~26mi.

Wednesday: Commute. ~26mi

Saturday: ~50mi ride

 

Should come out to >100 miles for the week. The rest of my bike parts should get here by Friday, I think I'm going to try and swap the handlebars on Sunday.

 

Other than that, I want to get better at on-the-bike hydration. I usually hydrate before I ride (good) and once I already feel like crap (bad). So first is getting down the timing, next is figuring out adequate refueling that isn't just buying Gatorade and Mtn Dew at gas stations. I've got a triathlete friend I met on the TransAm who carried hydration / refuel mixes who should be a good person to ask.

 

Essentially I want to be able to ride RAGBRAI without stopping at every gas station for sports drinks. For one, they're expensive; and two, tons of other folks are probably going to be doing exactly that, and I'm afraid of the gas stations running out 😂

  • Like 2

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

Link to comment

I used to eschew apps like Strava, thinking it was just for weight weenies and people who cared too much about KOMs, but I'm finding it very useful to track miles.

 

Additionally, if you do the same route over and over again (like, say, a commute 👀) Strava will create a graph comparing the average speeds of identical rides, which is great for tracking improvement over time. Becoming my own little KOM, if you will.

  • Like 3

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

Link to comment

A thunderstorm rolled over when I was supposed to ride my bike home. Just a Commute In today, no Commute Out.

 

Commute In:

Miles: 12.89mi

Time: 1:01:48

Avg Speed: 12.6mph

Elevation: 486ft

 

Getting faster bit by bit. If I hit 50 miles on my Long Saturday Ride, I should have 89 miles for the week. With my Baltimore trip putting me ahead of the game, I'll be on track to hit my goal by the end of the Challenge.

  • Like 3

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

Link to comment

Wowza, I love that you're getting your cycle miles in in advance of  doing the actual thing! I agree with hydrating as you go, good plan.

 

I used to track my walking commute on Map My Run to compare timings too - always satisfying to get a faster tick-off :) 

  • Like 1

Level 24 Rogue Ranger

Welcome to the Dungeons of Doom; locate the Amulet of Yendor ♀ on Level 26

Challenges: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 1415, 16, 17, 18, 1920, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27

 

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Saturday 6/25/22 Ride Log

 

Calling this one the Greenwater Scramble. Did some portions on a local canal towpath, which is gravelly and the adjacent canal had some sections with algae bloom.

 

Distance: 50.26mi

Time: 4:15:49

Avg Spd: 11.8mph

Elevation: 1033ft

 

Start of the towpath:

PXL_20220625_181037792.thumb.jpg.63495c0e3b9944001878693da7ed8c86.jpg

 

PXL_20220625_190121987.thumb.jpg.576aa0e23e47447c1ec09f220ff0f487.jpg

 

Great Falls

PXL_20220625_192254451.thumb.jpg.dffe67808fe60796b128efce65eb25e4.jpg

  • Like 4

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

Link to comment

Sunday 6/26/22 Ride Log:

 

Apparently there's a Vegan Society where I live, and one of the social events they have is a bike ride. Found out about it yesterday, rode it today! Cool folks, and lots of fellow Software Engineers so I got to do some Networking. Pace was gentler than yesterday, so it was a good opportunity to just kind of spin. My partner also came along, which was really nice, because we don't often get to cycle together.

 

Distance: 29.32mi

Time: 2:50:41

Avg. Spd: 10.3mph

Elevation: 1368ft

 

Also by my calculations, I'm at 246 / 468 miles to ride for RAGBRAI! More than halfway there! Thatll be nice since I'm traveling next weekend to see family, and won't be able to do a ton of riding.

  • Like 4

Conquius, Level 5 Cavalier

 STR: 10.5  | DEX: 8  | CON: 12  | INT: 13  | WIS: 8  | CHA: 10.5

"Perfer et obdura; dolor hic tibi proderit olim."

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