ncr ride – 7-28

In July, we’ve had a little time to ourselves, without too many ordered activities planned out in advance. I took advantage of a totally free Saturday to ride the NCR/HRT in its entirety. (except for that little 1/2 mile nub at the end past the parking lot at Paper Mill rd.). As always 5:30 am rolls around, and I’m out the door to beat the crowds at the trail. My early start did me well, and before I could even really wake up, I was in PA. After getting to New Freedom, where I was going to assess how far I would go for the day, I felt very strong. I felt so good by the time I got to Hanover Junction that I was even entertaining the idea of turning around when I got back home and riding up the trail 10 miles and back to make for my first even century ride. I made it to the bus depot in downtown York in good time for myself. I’m not sure, because I don’t obsess about ride times, but I averaged somewhere in the low 14 mph range on the way. Below is the only quasi-proof that I was there…

yes, i was here

Somewhere between York and Hanover Junction on the way home was when I started to feel somewhat more like how I normally feel after 50 miles or so. I stopped at this little shop off the trail which I think was called The Serenity Cafe. They made me an awesome turkey sandwich to eat later, put it in a not-so-awesome massive non-recyclable foam container that I had to practically destroy to get in my medium sized bar-bag, sold me 2 top notch bottles of vitamin water, and I was on my way again. The ride from the 13 mile point back to the PA line was the slowest slog I have had in some time. I think it was due to lack of energy as I had to have burned off my breakfast cereal and energy bars before then. I wasn’t in the mood for a turkey sandwich yet though. I wanted to keep moving, but I did slow down for this picture of my second favorite trail landmark in PA…

tunnel

And pull off the trail for a shot of my favorite, which has expanded 300% since I last saw it. (the tricycle and the highwheeler were new additions for me)…

ncr bike sculptures

The rest of the ride to the MD line was mindless mildly uphill pedaling. Glad there was few people around because I would have probably run into them. It was pretty much exactly what I needed–an hour of silent exercise/meditation to work through some of the pressing issues of the last few months—the downwardly spiraling state of political discourse, sustainable living, applying for grad school, finance, health and fitness, newly married life, working at my new career, fixing up the house, getting a new one, fixing that one up, you name it. Just letting ideas pass in and out, then forgetting them a moment later. It’s really more productive than it sounds because my meditations seem to always snap right back when I need them for a decision at a moments notice. Which is ALWAYS.

The heat of the mid-day was starting to get to me a little. I was glad to hit the downhill section over the MD line, and I cruised for the next 25 minutes or so before pulling off at a little stream somewhere between mile 12 and 14 on the MD side to feast on my turkey sandwich, which by that point looked like a train wreck since it had shimmied its way to the corner of the foam container that I stuffed in my bag and exploded all over itself. I was less than concerned. It was there I took my only real break of the day to lie down in the grass for 20 minutes and listen to water roll past and nothing else. Once back on the bike, I checked my pace for the day which was still in the +13mph area, so I resolved to not let it get below 13. The rest of the trip was fairly non-eventful. The trail was for the most part open for a weekend day. Most people were probably scared off by the thunderstorm forecasts or the hot weather. In the end I was strong enough to keep my personally respectable 13.3 mph pace for the full 81ish mile trip, but still tired enough that I had no interest in going the extra 19 to make it my first century. 2 days later, the butt is a little sore, and I wussed out of commuting today, but I’m back at it tomorrow. On the bike ride-o-meter I’ll give this one, oh, say, an 8.

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