After my bike camping trip this spring got rained out, and THEN training for the Civil War Century and having that fall apart because of Hannah or what not, I wasn’t about to say anything about any ride until I was done. I’m through with talking about rides and then bagging out or getting rained out.
I was up at the pre-dawn hour of 4:00am and out of Baltimore by 5. Driving into the sunrise made for some nice scenery. I started strong on the bike a little after 8. Everything was great, ok views and I had some nice conversations along the way with other riders. Riding a large organized event with 6000+ riders like this was a new experience for me, and it was awesome. Most all the cars we shared the road with were very accommodating, and all the major intersections were directed by local police who controlled traffic and kept everyone safe. (THANKS!)
The view made me nostalgic for all the cornfields which used to dot the landscape around where I grew up before they all became strip malls and cul-de-sac McDevelopments… I wish I had taken my large camera for this one moment alone. We made a right turn off a road where we fought a headwind for a few miles and there was an old abandoned farmhouse in the middle of this field that looked like it was straight out of an Andrew Wyeth painting. The point and shoot didn’t do this justice.
By mile 63ish when we stopped in Assateague, I was starting to feel it in the legs. My left knee, which is the weak link in my limbs from my decade of Squash playing years ago was starting to feel a little tweaked with every revolution. That and I was a little undertrained because I haven’t had a week of consistently high mileage since before the CWC date. Truth be known my legs kind of hurt before I even started because I decided to work some extra lunges into my training just 2 days before the ride like the smartie that I am. While at the rest stop I refilled my bottles with gatorade, had an energy bar from my bag, walked around for a few minutes, and got back to it. The carbs did me good and that was the worst I felt all day. I had taken my riding gloves just in case and I was glad I did. I put them on and it was nice to have them for the last 40mi.
From Assateague on I switched my computer to the clock mode, and told myself I wasn’t allowed to look at the distance again until an hour passed. This kept me focused on other things since I was getting to the point where I was fixated on how far I’d gone, which was not a good thing. The 83 mile rest stop was an oasis. There was a band playing some great music, and they had what is quite possibly the best Apple pie I have ever consumed. That is somewhat biased by hunger, but still good. I could have stayed for an hour and sat around if it wasn’t for the fact that I knew my muscles would lock up if I didn’t stay on my feet. Still had plenty of liquid so I just ate my pie and got back on the bike after 10 min or so.
The end of the day was strange for me since I had to change my riding style completely to get through it. My legs and butt were sick of my regular high cadence spinning, and I started to think I might have trouble finishing until I took one of my regular 10 mile ‘tail-end’ breaks where I stand and pedal low cadence in a slow gear. Much to my surprise the change in cadence made all the difference. I don’t understand the physiology of it, but I felt like I was using a completely different set of legs pushing a high gear at 50-60rpm regardless of whether I was sitting or standing. I left the 83 mile rest stop, and by the time I was allowed to look at my computer distance 1 hour later I was at 99 miles. The last leg ended up being some of my fastest riding of the day. The skies darkened and the clouds started to spit a little, but there was no real rain to speak of. It was a relief because I forgot my sunscreen so it saved me from a good burning. Weather was great for the whole day now that I think of it. Didn’t even break a real sweat, which was nice. Normally by the end of long rides and runs I look like I was shot with a water cannon.
There was another band, local vendors, and I saw a few people carrying beers around at the finish line. Felt good to kick off my riding shoes. I hung around for a while and then headed north to Delmar to check in to my hotel, and catch up with my east shore friends John and Jennie for some spicy indian cuisine. Food always tastes the best when you work for it. Got back to the holiday inn around midnight and PASSED OUT.
The day after, I feel it in my legs, but not in a traumatic way. Just tired. Buttocks, arms, neck and feet feel fine. I’m a little amazed because I thought I’d be in worse shape so I guess a training base sticks with you for a FEW weeks if you slack off.
For the numbers, in addition to my bike computer, I wore my heart rate monitor too. Total time from start to finish was 7 hours, 27 minutes and I burned 7302 calories. On the bike time was 6 hours 57 min, but I have to knock off about 17 minutes for my rides to and from the parking lot, and walking around with my bike at rest stops, so lets say 6:40. Computer numbers were as follows: 101.43miles/14.5average/26.2max. Computing my average from 400min and exactly 100 miles brings me to 15 miles an hour, but I’ll go with 14.5 as my official average. I’m just glad that I know I could keep up with the 13-15mph crowd if I went on a club ride.
Let’s give this ride a 99 out of 100 possible points. The only minuses for the day were getting up at 4 to drive there, and waiting 1/2 hour in traffic to park the car. Worth it for the chance to cross another item off my ‘life time to-do list’.