Events: Total Fools Classic 2019
Cover photo courtesy of Immersion Photography. Be sure to check out Jason Wood’s work; he is a fellow cyclist in the Bucks County cycling community and produces incredible work.
Several months ago I heard Kermesse Sport was adding a century route to the already demanding Fools Classic course. I was excited. Unfortunately excitement got the better of me, preparation took a backseat to other obligations, and I - incorrectly - assumed I could complete the new course on residual fitness. It had worked before, but this was Total Fools. It didn’t care not a lick for my feelings and spit me out of the opposite way of the century cutoff. I rolled across the finish in tatters.
I was envious of several riders who made a left when I went right. I wanted that feeling of success but it was not meant to be. In the meantime, have a read from two determined riders from New Jersey who crossed the line Total Fools finishers. Until then, I’ll section-ride the Total Fools course in vain attempts to stitch together my fragile ego. Congratulations to Kristen and Dave.
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Going into the day of the 100-mile Fools Classic, I knew that it would be the hardest century I had even done. The amount of climbing, the amount of short, steep kickers, and the amount of demanding gravel, would cumulatively make the day a grueling one. The 100-mile route included some really nice gravel roads that I'd never been on before, which I am thankful for - the novelty helped to make the ride interesting and fresh. In addition, the weather was perfect. As usual, the varying levels of difficulty didn't disappoint: some gravel stretches were smooth sailing, and others (like the notorious Berger and Lodi Hill) were a challenge as ever. Having to do Lodi Hill circa mile 80 meant that I was forced to ride a slower pace, simply focus on one pedal stroke at a time, and choose as good a line as possible so I could make it to the top. My overall reflection on the day is that I am glad I had people around throughout the ride - in a way we were all in it together, and it helped to know that everyone was enduring the challenge just as I was.
This being the first “Total Fool” version of the Fools Classic, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Of the 101 miles, I had, on many occasions, previously ridden 90 of them. Nothing of the terrain or conditions was a surprise; and while I’ve ridden many centuries and rides with tons of vertical before, I wasn’t sure how it all would cumulatively effect me. Having ridden to the start from home, Kristen and I were up about 8 miles to begin with. I surprisingly didn’t much feel the efforts of the day even by the time I arrived at the final rest stop, but Lodi Hill did me in. Luckily we took the pace reasonably all day, and while there were no major pains on the challengingly hilly end of the course, I did start to feel as though I was ready to be off my bike around mile 90 (98). All in all, the addition to the course was interesting. I think the original course is actually more enjoyable, but I do love riding up in the northern tip of Bucks Co though Durham, etc. For anyone looking for a thoroughly challenging ride including gravel that can still be ridden on a road bike, this is a must-do event. After having ridden all these roads multiple times, I can begin to take for granted the beauty of the place in which we live; and I think anyone coming from outside the area to do this ride will be blown away by the fantastic scenery that the course winds through.
My day went pretty well besides the getting my first-ever flat tire on a Kermesse Sport event. A slow change and a few other snack/ pee breaks along the way had us “bringing up the rear” most of the day. That was just fine, because we planned to take the pace moderately to make sure we got to the finish. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I managed the best time of the day and a PR up Funks Mill/ Haupt’s Bridge amongst those on Strava. I say that not boastfully, because I am well aware that it is meaningless, but I was happy with the fact that my legs and lungs could handle a good effort, even within such a challenging ride.