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OC11 Weekend (Part 1)

by on November 1, 2010

This Ride: 231.3 miles
Kona Distance: 4,639 miles
Month to date: 829 miles
2010 Total: 5,125.5 miles <–(Now over 5,000 miles on the year)
5,254.8 mile goal in 2010: (128.9 miles to go)

What a weekend! 117 miles on Saturday & 114 miles on Sunday. Saturday was my longest one day ride, just a few miles short of 200k. It was a great accomplishment!  Read on if you are interested in the ride report.  (Warning: it is long and detailed.)

The meet up for the ride was scheduled for 7:30 Saturday morning with an 8:00 push off.  We were meeting at the Stevensville Middle School where we had permission to park vehicles overnight.  Half a dozen of us were so anxious that we arrived at 7:00, then decided to go to the local McDonalds for coffee, food, and a pit stop.  By the time we got back to the meeting place at 7:30, all the riders were there (17) and the energy and excitement was apparent.  Soon we had our bikes assembled, last bit of clothing sorted out, and our bags loaded into the SAG van.  A group photo was taken, Cue sheets distributed, Clint read the rules, and we pushed off at 8:03.

It was a surprising 46 degrees.  I say “surprising” because the forecast was for anything between 37 and 45.  None of us were complaining.  We had a light wind from the southwest, so most of the route we had a crosswind.  My only real concern on the day was that I had a head cold.  No lung congestion was noted.  I was dosed up on Sudafed to relieve the nasal congestion.

In the first 10 miles we had two major highway crossings that were quite dangerous.  Sight lines were short and traffic was moving at about 60 mph.  There was one more major highway crossing at about mile 20.  We pushed a good pace, and it felt good.  There was a lot of conversation and very high energy levels.  At about 9:30 we stopped for a short time while Clint called in our breakfast order and at mile 37 we pulled into Dave’s place, full of energy and ready for the experience.

Dave’s Place is a “biker bar” (mostly Harleys)  in Ridgely, MD.  They open especially for breakfast only for us.  It is a converted Quonset hut with a pool table (with an extra slate top for the dancers), a recently installed “stripper pole”, and a men’s room with a trough urinal that looks more like a very shallow bathtub.  There is a burn mark in the linoleum where someone “burned out” a Harley indoors.  Our huge breakfast sandwiches were ready when we arrived, as were pitchers of water, pots of coffee and lively conversation.  The owner (I forget her name and will edit it in here if I recall it) had a raffle for two Dave’s Place T-Shirts, and she was as active a conversationalist as the most chatty of us.  There were mandatory hugs for all the newbies. She had also baked chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin cookies.  With a little urging, Chip danced on the stripper pole.  What grown men in spandex will do!


Soon it was time to change riding gear for the warming temperatures and climb back on the bikes.  Two riders did not continue with us.  It was their plan to ride to Dave’s and then return together.  Dave’s was fun, and was the ongoing topic of conversation for quite a few miles.

With the warmer temperatures and a great time at Dave’s Place, we picked up the pace a bit and rode through the flat town & country Eastern Shore.  Oaks were plentiful and the more muted autumn colors of the oaks, soybean fields ready for harvest, and the variety of native plants also changing colors made for pretty vistas.  Part of our route overlapped the upcoming “Flatbread Brevet”, and Chip, the owner of the route continued to plug that ride.  Occasionally, stronger riders would create a gap, but usually not for long, and no one was really ever riding alone, especially off the back.  One of Clint’s rules was that we needed to keep all riders in sight.

After about 40 more “routine” miles, we entered Milton for our lunch stop at the Iguana Grill.  None of us were really hungry, the breakfast sandwiches at Dave’s Place were still fueling us well.  Iguana Grill was closed.  It didn’t open until 3.  Chip knew Milton well, and suggested Irish Eyes Pub & Restaurant two blocks away.  They accommodated us quickly at a large table, provided individual checks, and had very good food and great service.  I think Irish Eyes has been been added as the lunch stop on future rides.

With legs stiff from sitting so long, we climbed back on the bikes for the very short next leg.  It was less than a mile to Dogfish Head Brewery.  We stopped, sampled the four beers they had on the day’s tasting.  Some purchased jerseys while others purchased beers for our evening happy hour.  Nearly everyone at the brewery, customers and staff alike were dressed in Halloween costumes, so we all came as a bike club wearing our colors.

It was in Milton, both for lunch and the brewery where we fielded a lot of questions by people about where we were riding, how far, and why we would do such a crazy thing.  That conversational thread continued everywhere we stopped (after Dave’s Place).  I noticed that people really engaged in the conversation for much longer than I would have expected.  I suppose regulars riding many of these group rides grow quite accustomed to these kinds of comments, but for this newbie, it was noteworthy.  What we do on these long group rides is completely out of the realm of the everyday lives of most people.  They might see something on television, but to talk to someone who is riding hundreds of miles in a weekend is nearly unimaginable.  That would be true for me a couple of years ago.

Leaving Dogfish Head, I embarrassed myself and the group.  I fell.  I was clipped in, negotiating a very tight turn at low speed and another rider made an unexpected move on the sidewalk.  Down I went.  I hate that.  No tear in the leg warmer I was wearing.  A dime sized road rash on my knee is the price I paid for this mistake.

After Dogfish Head we set a nice, steady but gradually accelerating pace for the next 15-20 miles.  The pedals just turned and there was no real reason to stop or slow down much at all.  I look at the Garmin tracking between 80 and 100 miles and there is not much variation in the graphs at all.  There were a couple of pit stops before the end of the ride.  It was during this stretch that I passed both my previous longest ride mark and 5,000 miles on the year.

Soon a couple of us put on the flashing headlight as the sun was getting low in the sky, and we pushed on in to Ocean City.  When we turned south on Ocean Highway, the wind we had on our beam most of the day suddenly felt like a wall.  It was a direct headwind, funneled down the highway between the hotel lined streets.  It was tough!  Our pace line fell completely apart as the racehorses took off to see who would get to the hotel first and the rest of us struggled to maintain a 15-16 mph pace.  Notice how the heart rate comes up and the speed goes down at the end of the graph!  The “tactical” mistake I made was that I thought the hotel was at 122nd street when it really was at 112th.  Pushing those “extra” 10 blocks against the wind was rough.

But it was a great day!  117.3 miles.  Average rolling speed of 17.7 mph.  Fifteen riders all finished.  I felt good and strong at the end.

Only two mechanical incidents occurred along the route.  One rider popped a spoke on a rear wheel.  John, who was driving the SAG van, and would be riding the return route swapped his wheel for that one as a quick temporary fix.  Dan had a bothersome clicking noise on his front wheel that he finally discovered was not the hub but a loose spoke, and with a quick tightening of the spoke, stopped the noise.

This ride is really a rolling social event.  Quick showers, happy hour with the group and a few spouses, dinner out at an Italian restaurant, and a post dinner party all were part of the mix post ride.  Soon though, we were all drifting off to our rooms for bed.  Breakfast at 7:00 and 8:00 push off for Day 2 – the return were just a few hours away.

Since this is getting long, I’ll post this now, and do a separate entry for Day 2.

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