Challenging Tyler State Park Ride Report

I’m offering this report to my fellow members of the Delaware Valley Trike Riders Club. As I write this I’m still catching my breath. Note: if anyone is interested in joining me next time – please let me know of your interest – I will be riding this again while applying what I’ve learned from this attempt. Just bring a strong heart, strong legs and a strong will to succeed. That is about all I had with me and it was great fun!

A few DVTR members, who I’ve not had the chance to ride with yet, have hinted that they were looking for a ride that was challenging. In an effort to find such a ride I visited some well known and beautifully paved trails that run through Tyler State Park in Newtown, PA. If you are looking for a challenge, this is the place… particularly for recumbent trikes. Tyler State Park offers about 10.5 miles of paved, cycle-friendly trails that seem as though they are all uphill.

I mapped out roughly a 9-mile route so that the steepest grades were on the down slope and set out early in the morning in order to beat the heat (it was very warm when I got there and warmer still when I finished). As I was preparing my trike after parking, I began mentally reviewing over all of the advice I had heard from others regarding challenging, novel rides:
• Start with a carbo-load
• Pace yourself
• Hydrate often
• Take a break at the plateaus
• Remind yourself “This is not a race”
• Take in some of the beautiful scenery along the way

I scored 1 out of 6 for myself. I skipped my toast and honey because I wasn’t feeling hungry after loading the trike (it was *very* humid at 6:00 AM and I just didn’t feel like eating when the deed was done). I was very excited to ride on a paved surface so I just took off like kid on the last day of school (I’ve been triking gravel trails almost exclusively). I did drink, but maybe not enough on a day like today (I probably should have mixed my raspberry electrolytes before I left home). Admittedly, I’m a second-wind person and thought that I could catch my breath sufficiently on the descending trails (“Ride Leader School” says “Always wait at the top of a climb to regroup”). Again, I couldn’t help but to “race” after finding so little friction between me and the smoothly paved road. After all of this, I did somehow notice that the cornfields had matured nicely since my last visit (hiking) and that the Neshaminy Creek was still flowing well in the absence of needed rain, and that most of the folks sharing the trail with me, cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians, were friendly and accommodating (except this one guy who insisted on running the center of the trail with headphones – arrrgh!).

If you’d like to join me on my next, more thoughtfully strategic attempt, here are some statistics to help you decide (this WILL be a challenge no matter what your training has been):
• 9+ miles – about 6.5 of them uphill
• 445 foot elevation gain
• 7.5% Max uphill grade (granny-gear all the way!)
• 25+ MPH downhill coasting
• Average Speed was 9.8 MPH

Following this post, I’ll announce another ride for this upcoming weekend.

I look forward to riding with you soon!
Wayne K

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