Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Bike X GAP ride conversion

Bike X GAP: My plan is to ride the 2004 Bike X on the 148-mile GAP trail next spring. To prepare the Bike X for the dirt path endurance ride, I moved the Ortlieb saddle pack and SKS rear wheel mud guard from the 1998 Bike S to the Bike X. I also re-installed the Bike X's original Continental Tour Ride 700c x 1.6 tires and added a second water bottle.

Bike X Death Ride: The Bike X was last seriously used in the 2017 Death Ride campaign. For the Death Ride, I converted the Bike X from a hybrid/touring bike to a hill climbing road bike. I added the Continental Gatorskin 700c x 28 tires for the 129-mile Sierra Nevada ride. Now I'm changing the Bike X back to a touring bike.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Next: GAP

With the 184.5-mile C&O Canal Towpath ride now completed, I'm turning my attention to the next Porsche Bike journey. I can't think of a better ride to follow my C&O adventure than the bike path that connects the C&O to Pittsburgh ... the 148-mile Great Allegheny Passage. The GAP trail is a collection of old railroad lines that starts in Cumberland, Maryland (where I finished the C&O) and ends in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The GAP is also a dirt trail, but generally considered smoother than the C&O. It's mostly crushed limestone, but does have a 17-mile paved stretch. For this reason, I'm leaning toward riding the 2004 Porsche Bike X. The Bike X is a hybrid (touring) bike, with a road bike frame and 700c rims, but with mountain bike gearing, handlebars and tires. The Bike X was built as a touring bike, perfect for a ride like the GAP. But I changed the bike into more of a road bike for the 2017 Death Ride. So, I'll spend some time changing it back for this long distance, off-road adventure. I'll post updates on the conversion. I'm aiming to ride the GAP across two days in mid-May 2021. 

Recovery run ... well, slow jog

Looking to give my cycling muscles a break, I decided to go for a short lunch time recovery jog. It's been awhile since I've run so the sore body from riding 190 miles and lack of recent jogging made the effort slow and painful. But I feel better that I did, which is the point of a recovery run! I jogged two miles around my neighborhood park. This is also the first time in awhile I've run with the Porsche Design EC Running Shoes. Love these shoes!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Porsche bicycle adventure on the 184.5-mile C&O Canal Towpath

Porsche has always tested drivers and sportscars under extreme conditions. Whether it is Le Mans, Daytona, Sebring or race circuits around the world, you will find a Porsche pushing these limits. This same desire to test man and machine led me to explore what I can accomplish on a Porsche bicycle.


With this passion, I spent the last year researching, organizing and training to ride the 184.5-mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath on my 1998 Guards Red Porsche Bike S mountain bike. I accomplished my goal riding the entire towpath in just over 14 hours, across three days, September 24-26, 2020. It was an epic adventure of speed and endurance on a dirt path that followed the Potomac River in Western Maryland. My goal was to prove that a two-wheel Porsche performs as well as the four-wheel variety.


Most people, and even many Porsche enthusiasts, do not know Porsche sells bicycles. Porsche has produced 11 different models ranging from mountain bikes, road bikes, touring bikes and even electric bicycles from the mid-1990s up until the current range of ultra-modern bikes.


The first Porsche bicycle was the 1990 Porsche Bike Spyder 9.85. This prototype bike is the “missing link” between Porsche automobiles and Porsche bicycles. The Bike Spyder 9.85 was featured in a May 1991 Christophorus article written by Jürgen Pippig and explained in the second paragraph, “Since Weissach engineers and technicians are often enthusiastic hobby sports fans, it was really only a question of time until the strong two-wheel lobby within the technology smithy created a mountain bike which is the 911 RS of mountain bikes.”


The story went on to explain the goal of the Porsche engineers was to produce a prototype bike of consequent lightweight construction, uncompromising function and aesthetic proportions and shape. The end result was a serious mountain bike for the time. And at a mere 9.85 kilograms (21.7 pounds), it was incredibly lightweight. This bike was designed and built before the days of front shock absorbers, let alone a full-suspension mountain bike. 


Next, Porsche commissioned several bicycle designs in the mid- to late-1990s, particularly the Guards Red Bike S mountain bike I rode on the C&O, as well as the full-suspension Bike FS, the rare purple and yellow Bike R road bike and the high-tech and bright yellow Bike FS Evolution. All were wonderful bikes for the mid-‘90s. Porsche has since continued to commission the current line of high-tech carbon fiber road and mountain bikes found at Porsche dealerships today.


Most cycling enthusiasts see these bikes as a curiosity or oddity. When I ride one of my three Porsche bicycles, I’m often asked, “Porsche makes bikes?” This led me to push these bikes, and myself, to see if they are worthy of the Porsche name. I have now ridden my Porsche bikes thousands of miles, including the infamous 129-mile, 15,000 ft. elevation Death Ride in California’s Sierra Nevada on my 2004 Porsche Bike X in 2017 and now the C&O Canal Towpath this year.


The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was built along the Potomac River between 1828 and 1850 to transport coal and other supplies by boat from the Alleghany Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay. The C&O Canal Towpath is a dirt trail that was used by mules to pull the boats through the canal. Once the locomotive came to the region, the C&O ceased operation in 1924. Thankfully the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park was established in 1961 for hikers, joggers and bikers to enjoy the towpath. The path is mostly flat, but today the trail ranges from freshly resurfaced, to rocky and muddy sections. The Porsche Bike S was perfect for the conditions with the front suspension fork, sturdy frame and mountain bike tires. My 1998 Bike S is all original, with the exception of the added rear mud guard, extra water bottle and bike pack.


My C&O adventure started in Georgetown, just after my wife dropped me off at Mile O near the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and World War II Memorial in Washington DC. She continued driving our 2006 Cayenne S as the “support vehicle.”


The C&O starts at the Potomac River lock where the boats used to gain access to the Chesapeake Bay. I rode the upstream and uphill direction, completing 74.4 miles the first day. Riding on this historic trail provides a glimpse of what life was like in the 1800s. The stone-carved locks and many stone and wood lock houses were an interesting sight. Back in the 1800s, people stayed in the lock houses and operated the locks around the clock to raise and lower the canal water level for the boats to pass. My first day of riding ended in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where I met my wife at the Bavarian Inn. I planned this trip to fall within the traditional Oktoberfest timeframe, so the evening of German bier, spätzle and brats were perfect to refuel for the next day of cycling.


Day two, I rode 54 miles to Hancock, Maryland, where again I met my wife and support Cayenne for an evening out on the town. The final day was a 62-mile ride to the end of the C&O Canal in Cumberland, Maryland. The last day included riding through the famous Paw Paw Tunnel. The Paw Paw Tunnel is a 3,118-foot-long tunnel built using more than six million bricks. The tunnel is completely dark, which required a bike light to navigate.


Riding the C&O is amazing. The best way I can describe it is like riding a bike alongside the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. Everything is green with the Potomac River on one side and the C&O Canal on the other. The canal is overgrown with trees, plants and flowers with deer, squirrels, rabbits, birds, snakes and turtles everywhere and the canal doesn't look manmade anymore. In a couple long stretches the canal turned into lakes. One lake had a lot of surrounding granite and even granite islands. This lake looked more like a high alpine lake than a canal towpath. The trees provided plenty of shade and the dirt path didn't collect heat like asphalt. I just kept riding and looking at all the sights. Since the towpath is surrounded by nature, you feel removed from modern society. And with the 74 historic locks and lock houses, you feel like you are in another place and time, not riding in 2020.


Cycling on the C&O isn’t usually a competitive effort. Typically, riding the C&O is more a relaxing and scenic bike tour. However, I wanted to push the bike, and myself, so I rode as fast as I could for the 184.5 miles. I passed every rider I encountered, and not one person passed me as I averaged over 13 miles per hour across the entire trip. The Porsche bike showed its speed potential over the long ride.


The towpath surface was challenging. Many hours of pedaling over the rough dirt trail conditions took a toll on my body and my bike. At the end of this incredible bike tour, I completed 190.3 miles in total. The extra mileage came from riding in and out of Shepherdstown and Hancock. Both the bike and I were filthy from dirt, mud and sweat. But the 1998 Porsche Bike S performed flawlessly. The bike did not have a single issue. Not a flat tire or any problem with the shifting, braking or suspension. The 22-year-old Porsche bike proved it is worthy alongside the great Porsche automobiles. 


If you have an opportunity, I would suggest purchasing a Porsche bicycle. I believe you will enjoy owning and riding a Porsche bike, as it provides the performance, style and engineering of a Porsche sportscar. And if you want a fantastic bike touring adventure, I would highly recommend riding the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath. It is an epic ride and will provide a memorable lifetime experience.


Click here to see photos from the C&O ride.

184.5 mile C&O completed

Yesterday I completed the three-day, 190.3 mile adventure riding the 184.5 mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath in Maryland on the 1998 Porsche Bike S. The extra mileage came from riding in and out of Shepherdstown and Hancock. This trip took a year of planning, organizing and training. Full reporting soon. Click on the photos to see images from the entire ride.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Porsche committing to LMDh prototype!?!

Porsche may join the upcoming LMDh prototype class. That would allow Porsche to race for outright wins in IMSA and WEC. This would be amazing news!

This was mentioned yesterday in SportsCar365:

Porsche has moved a step closer to confirming an LMDh program, with its head of factory motorsport Pascal Zurlinden telling Sportscar365 that they are now in the final phase of its concept study. “Everything is going in the right direction,” he said. “We’ll have to use the next weeks to look at all of the details.”

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Staging for the C&O ride

And now the packing begins. Is it over the top to have matching Porsche bike jerseys, that also match the 1998 Porsche Bike S I plan to ride, on the 184.5 mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath? Well, yes it is. But that's how I roll. One Porsche bike jersey for each of the two-day ride. I'm also gathering up all the gear for any weather and temperature possibilities. 


With the actual Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it's still ok to celebrate Oktoberfest on my own during the original planned timeframe. I usually celebrate Oktoberfest well beyond the normal dates, but officially Oktoberfest started yesterday and I ate and drank traditional German cuisine at Old Stein Tavern in Edgewater, Maryland yesterday to kick off Oktoberfest properly. Today I'm drinking a huge German bier and getting my gear ready for the Thursday and Friday C&O attempt on the 1998 Porsche Bike S. 

Fast 40

Last ride before the C&O attempt Thursday and Friday of this week. Today I rode my 40 mile route around BWI and down to Annapolis and back on the old train path. Three days of rest coming up. The weather was cooler but with a little more gear on, the ride felt awesome. Cooler temps allowed for faster riding and no water. I drafted some fast guys on road bikes. With some headwind and their size I was pulled along like a Nascar draft on an oval. Felt weird to pedal half speed and get over 15 mph on a mountain bike. Good times!

Saturday, September 19, 2020

C&O Plan

With all of my 2020 training completed, it's now time to prepare for the big ride. My plan is to complete the 184.5 mile Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath across two days this Thursday and Friday. Thursday, I'll start at Mile 0 in Washington DC and ride 72 miles to Shepherdstown, WV.  

Shepherdstown will be an overnight, dinner and drinks at the Bavarian Inn, a German-themed hotel, restaurant and brewery. I wanted to attempt this ride in the fall, for cooler temperatures, but to also ride during the two-week Oktoberfest time period. Staying at the Bavarian Inn seemed like a perfect choice!  

After an evening of Oktoberfest food and bier, I'll get up early Friday morning and ride the remaining 110 miles to Cumberland, MD to complete the C&O. At least that's the plan. The weather, although looks good now, is changeable here. Riding 185 miles in the rain would be brutal so I'm hoping it holds.

I have ridden three sections of the C&O preparing for the long ride. I wanted to make sure I had the 1998 Porsche Bike S dialed in to the dirt path conditions and long miles. I'll start assembling all the gear I need tomorrow.

Le Mans!

As my tradition dictates, I'm camped out in front of the TV with laptop watching the 24 Hours of Le Mans and keeping an eye on the live timing. Le Mans was delayed until September this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Porsche only has two 911 RSRs in the GTLM Pro class. They were on the pole position, but dropped back at the start. It's a long race so I'll keep up with the Porsches in the GTLM Pro and AM standings all day and overnight.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Sim race didn't go so well this week...

After qualifying P17, I moved up to P12 before causing a crash which damaged my 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. I got one wheel off on a high speed corner and then found myself spinning around and around. With a damaged car I was way off the pace and even ran into another car before finishing P28. Not a good race for me!

Easy neighborhood ride

I’ve never been quite fond of tapering, but I needed to decrease miles and rest up for the big ride coming up. So today I just rode around the neighborhood nice and easy.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

20 more miles

Snuck in another 20 miles around my neighborhood today before the pending rain comes in tonight. 70 degrees, no wind and no rain (yet), what a great ride today!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Another neighborhood 20

Rode another neighborhood 20 miles mid day today. Easy fun ride. Getting excited about the C&O attempt next week. Knock on wood the weather is good!

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Back on the Bike S

After two outings on the 2004 Porsche Bike X, I’m back on the 1998 Porsche Bike S. I suppose my training is going well when a 40 mile ride seems pretty short. This morning’s ride was under very cloudy skies and a little wind. The entire time I thought I was gonna get rained on but never did.

Sim racing livery explained

I modeled my PCA Sim Racing Series 5 Cayman GT4 Clubsport livery after one of my all time favorite race cars ... the Porsche 935 K4 run by John Fitzpatrick racing in the 1980s. Awesome car. Awesome livery.

Friday, September 11, 2020

P12 sim racing tonight

Qualified P9 with a new personal best lap at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in the fog tonight. Then proceeded to run off course falling back to P17. But fought my way back up to P12 at the checked flag. Another fun sim racing evening!

20 mile neighborhood ride

Another double loop of my 10-mile neighborhood route this morning. It was cloudy and looked like rain was coming, but ended up being perfect conditions for a ride!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

PO ride

I had to pick up something from the post office so decided to ride the short distance. The Ortlieb pack is great for hauling stuff around!

Monday, September 7, 2020

Another 40

Another 40 miles on the 2004 Porsche Bike X this morning. Same route, same conditions as yesterday. Fun ride.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

40 miles on the Bike X

It’s been a while since I’ve ridden the 2004 Porsche Bike X. Since I’m going to attempt the 184.5 mile C&O Canal Towpath on the Bike S, I thought I should put a lot of practice miles on that bike. Today however, I thought I would give the Bike S a rest and ride the Bike X. The Bike S may handle corners and brake better, but the Bike X is definitely faster in a straight line and uphills. I enjoy experiencing the different ride of each bike. It’s like having a different tool for a different job.

This Bike X is one of 250 made and sold only in Germany. Originally it was a hybrid bike, a road bike frame and rims with mountain bike gearing, handlebars,  suspension and tires. After purchasing it, I swapped out the tires, suspension and handlebar grips to make it more of a commuter-style bike. It’s definitely a fast bike though.

Today was a quick 40 miles around the BWI Airport and down to Annapolis and back. I think I’ll do the same ride tomorrow on the Bike X again.

Friday, September 4, 2020

P11 at Laguna Seca

Finished in 11th place at the PCA Sim Racing Series 5 opener at Laguna Seca in the Challenge class tonight. I qualified 19th and stayed out of trouble moving up the order. Not my best finish, but I had a great time!

20 miles

Busted out another 20 miles early this morning. Planning another 20 tomorrow and longer Sunday and Monday. Getting close to C&O time.

Sim racing practice

Tonight is the first race of the PCA Sim Racing Series 5 schedule. So, I've been practicing in the Cayman GT4 Clubsport with my 1980s retro livery. Looking forward to racing tonight.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Recovery week

Last week was a week to forget. Got a flat tire on the Bike X and crashed the Bike S. And in two consecutive days. This week I’m back on the...