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7 banana peels, 4 snakes, 1 fish, & an 8 point buck

by on August 17, 2011

This Ride: 155.6 miles
Month: 498.0 miles
2011: 4,772.4 miles
Total since 1/1/2010: 10,892.1 miles

“I’m never riding my bike again.”

That was the sentiment at the end of the ride today, nearly 12 hours after I left home.  It really wasn’t that bad, but I’m beat.

My plan for the day was to ride to Crofton for the start of a solo 200k, then ride home.  I calculated it to be a total of 155 miles, the longest one day distance I’ve ever done.  The forecast was good.  I believed I was ready.  I prepared the bike yesterday, and opted for the luggage rack on the back since I was riding solo.  I was prepared with food, tubes, first aid equipment, and the like.  It added a lot of weight, and I could feel it on the hills.  I set my alarm for 4:20 with a planned 5:00 am departure.

I woke up at 3:20, and just couldn’t get back to sleep.  I got up at 4 and putzed around until it was time to leave.

The early morning was beautiful.  There was light fog in some of the fields as I made my way through dark, winding, wooded roadways to Crofton.  My pace was slow since I didn’t really know these roads and turns, and it was dark!  I admit that it was a little spooky at times.  A helmet light is a life-saver, letting me see both my cue sheet and the street signs. I arrived with about 10 minutes to spare for my 6:00 am start and was soon checked in and ready to go.

At 6 this time of year the sky is lightening up and within a short time I watched the sun rise red over the trees.  It took a little while for the fog to burn off, and the road surfaces were mostly damp the first hour or so.  My early goal was to ride smart, and not burn myself out.  Looking at my stats, I think I did a pretty fair job at that all the way down to Solomons.  I still made reasonable time, and was pushing off from my break at the 60 mile point in the 200k at about 10:00.  By then, it was over 80 degrees, barely and it looked like I would have the wind at my back on the way home.

I’ve tended to struggle some coming up out of Solomons in the past, so I intentionally limited my food intake at the stop.  I was concerned about dehydration, so I worked at keeping fluids going past my lips.

I’ve gotten pretty familiar with this route, having done it now 6 times.  That is a blessing and a curse.  I now can take in the sights without worrying about getting lost.  I’m also reminded of places where I’ve had trouble before.  Wouldn’t you know it, I cramp up some at the same exact spots.  I think it is more memory than physiological.  The familiarity also lets me know some of the hazardous places, and some of the more interesting sights.

Frequent readers of this blog know that on these 200k rides, I count discarded banana peels.  There were 7 this trip, but the first one didn’t happen until 54 miles into the 200k!  Riding solo, I also noticed some other things.  There were 4 dead snakes in the road.  There was an intact fish (about 9 inches long) … far from any water source.  I also saw a dead 8 point buck.  The antlers were still in velvet.  Near Chesapeake Beach, inside the US Government Property fence I saw no fewer than 7 deer, including a magnificent 12 point buck, a 6 point buck, and 5 does.  I stopped, but they bolted when a car came by.  Sorry, no photos.

By the time I got to Sweet Sue’s around 12:30 pm, it was getting hot.  The temps climbed to about 90.  I brought a sock to use as an ice sock (along with just about everything short of the kitchen sink).  I filled it there, and really appreciated the ice on my neck for the next half hour.  That’s about how long the ice lasted.  I was able to refill it in Harwood, and then again in Crofton for the ride home.  The ice on the back of the neck and especially the sides of the neck really helped me manage the heat pretty well.  I don’t do well in the heat, defined as anything above 85.

I slowed down quite a bit in this last stretch.  I think I was becoming dehydrated.  Climbing the hills was a struggle, and I sometimes found myself crawling up them in single digit speeds, sometimes even below 5 mph.  I tried to maintain a good attitude, and the ice sock helped.  But I was dragging.  I stopped in Harwood for water and ice. Then I simply slogged my way to the end of the 200k.  My time, speed, and time off the bike are very similar to my April ride.

I made a mistake as I prepared to ride home from Crofton.  I grabbed what I thought was a bottle of chocolate milk.  It turns out it was a protein drink, not what I was needing at the time.  For the next 10 miles I debated whether or not I would stop and throw up.  I decided I could wait until I got home, and by then the feeling had passed.  I don’t like to vomit.  I had a terribly slow return trip, averaging 13.5 mph for those last 14 miles.  It was painful too.

When I got home, I checked the saddle sores that were developing.  It had gotten painful to sit since about Sweet Sue’s.  I even applied more Butt Butter at Sweet Sue’s before I left.  I’m really sore.  My shorts were soaking wet.  I could wring sweat out of them.  I weighed myself and verified that I was dehydrated.  I lost 5 lbs or a little over 3% of my body weight today.  No wonder I was struggling!  But I expected highs of 86, not 95!

All told, it was a great accomplishment.  155.6 miles!

From → Cycling

  1. Great job, Earl! Glad you made it back relatively ok.

    Have you ever tried Hammer Endurolytes? I swear they made a very big impact on my hot weather riding.

    • ponderingpastor permalink

      I popped about 8 of them on this ride.

  2. I love these posts. I learn something new every time. Need to hear more about this ice sock. Sounds like a great idea. Great job today Earl.

  3. AllSeasonsCyclist permalink

    On my longer rides I also count the dead animals — at least during the warmer months. It seems like we have “dead animal seasons” — frogs, turtles, snakes, then raccoons. During the winter I just count the number of cars stuck on the side of the road.

    • ponderingpastor permalink

      I chose banana peels because my first 200 k was done in December with plenty of ice on the road. I wondered how embarrassed I might be if I slipped on a banana peel instead of the ice.

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