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Second R-12 Completed!

by on July 24, 2013

Regular visitors to this site may recall that a funeral interrupted a planned 200k last Friday.  I took some “comp time” on Tuesday and planned to ride my 212k route on the Eastern Shore.  I was joined by Janet and Gardner.

We settled on a 6 am start from Chester, MD in order to stay out of the most intense heat of the day.  As always, the first leg of this route is pretty quick, and we found ourselves at the first control point in Chestertown, MD very quick order, some 30 miles into the ride.  It wasn’t a particularly speedy stop but we topped off fluids and drained others.  Anticipating a hot ride and some 35-40 miles without services, we also stopped in Millington, MD to make sure we had sufficient supplies for the next stretch into the lunch stop.  Just a few miles south of Millington (mile 45), I noticed something hitting my arms as we rode along.  I asked the others if it was bugs or rain … and the reply was that it was rain.  It was so very light that it wasn’t even appearing on my eye wear.    Over the next 6 miles the rain intensified.  The “dusting” of rain turned into a light sprinkle, which turned into a light rain, which turned into a steady rain, which turned into a downpour.  And then, suddenly it was over.  The pavement was dry and we saw no more rain the rest of the ride.  It took a while to dry off with the heavy cloud cover.  I had some water sloshing around in my shoes for another 2-3 miles as it gradually worked its way out.

The miles rolled by.  There were times we had a little bit of a cross wind and some times just a bit of a head wind.  It was great when we had a tail wind because we made rapid work of the miles.  At times we would be in a pace line, at others we rode side by side engaged in conversation.  We encountered only courteous drivers.  I struggled some in the usual places on the ride, but soon enough we were on our way into Harrington, DE (mile 81) where we stopped at a Royal Farms for lunch, pulling in there close to 11:00 with an average rolling speed of 18 mph.

Lunch for me was a ham & cheese wrap, baked chips, and an orange juice.  That’s more sodium than I’m used to in a meal, but I’d already sweated buckets.  Temperatures were rising and we knew that the next 50 miles would be into a headwind most of the way.  I had a couple of hot spots on my feet.  At lunch I took off my shoes and that helped relieve the pain.  My socks were still soaked from the rain.  It would have been nice to have a dry pair on hand.  After lunch, the sun also began to make an appearance, increasing the temperature even more.

As we left Harrington, and just after we had gotten away from any shade, Janet flatted.  We found a significant cut in her tire and three small punctures in a straight line consistent with that cut.  We “booted” the tire with a dollar bill, installed a new tube, and pushed off again.  It was during this stretch with my bike computer close to the pavement in the hot sun that it registered over 98° F.  After we pushed off, it slowly dropped to 95.  As we turned into the wind, the wind was both a blessing and a curse.  It increased the effort necessary to move along at a reasonable speed but it also provided some cooling that we immediately noticed when we had to stop.  It also increased the evaporation to the point where I think it had an additional dehydrating effect.

Gardner had been talking about stopping along the way for ice cream, and I knew from my last ride in this area that the Royal Farms in Denton had no decent ice cream.  As we arrived in the outskirts of Denton I offered the McDonald’s or Arby’s, but that didn’t satisfy his craving.  I remembered that there was a place just a little further that I’d seen but never been in.  Bullock’s Deli was on the left, and when I looked, there was a sign that extended halfway across the marquis announcing “Ice Cream”.  We had to stop.  We parked the bikes out front, noting that the average between all our bike computer thermometers read 92°.  We stepped into a place that served at least 30 flavors of hand dipped ice cream and was a full convenience store to boot.  We sat down in the air conditioning WITH a large floor fan blowing right on us and it was marvelous.

We loaded up again with fluids and I had a brainstorm as I was filling my Camelback with ice and water.  Outside the water bladder and inside the bladder holder was some additional room.  I loaded that up with ice also, with the intent of letting it melt and drip cold water down my back and to help keep the water inside the bladder colder longer.  It worked pretty well.  Next time I try this, I might try wearing the Camelback differently though.  It has a padded and “insulated” section that goes against your back.  If I flip that to the outside, the extra cooling from the ice just might reach my back before it melts.  Before leaving Bullock’s, I also poured ice water over my head for the extra cooling effect.  I didn’t have the right equipment for an ice sock.  That would have been a good idea.

The headwinds continued.  Gardner took long pulls and Janet and I took shorter ones.  I wrestled with keeping the pace up and my heart rate low.  It seemed that when I rode with my heart rate above 140 I wanted more fluids and yet my stomach didn’t feel like it was emptying.  I spent probably 15 miles experimenting with ways to keep the pace and yet bring my heart rate down.  I experimented with different gears.  High gears with low cadence seemed to work to a point.  Finding the sweet spot was tricky.  I discovered that if I sprayed myself with water, my heart rate would come down about 5-8 bpm.  So every few miles, I’d sip some water and blow it out in a fine mist, covering myself from the chest up with the spray.   Well, I say every few miles … I think I did it about 4 times.  We stopped once in the shade near Tuckahoe State Park to help me cool down.  The sun was now out more than it was behind clouds.

We made the two highway crossings at the Queenstown Outlet Mall without much trouble and without incident, and rested for a little while in the shade just across Hwy 50.  We had a decision to make.  Janet had only a few ounces of water left for the remaining 8 miles.  I had a little more than that, but not much.  We decided to push on.  Gardner set the pace, and it felt like it was almost all downhill as we rode along.  About 3 miles from the finish, Janet couldn’t hold the pace any longer and I was perfectly willing to drop back with her and allow her to draft.  It wasn’t long before we pulled into the finish, completing the 212 k just under 10 hours.

Chocolate milk and water was my recovery drink … at least until we moved the party over to Ram’s Head where a couple of beers and wings became my supper.

And so completes my second R-12.  Twelve consecutive months riding and completing at least a 200k.  Temperatures have ranged from below freezing to near 100°.  Winds have often been a factor.  Hills and valleys and solo and in groups are also part of the mix.  Life has a way of making an R-12 a challenge.  Some of my friends have up to 7 years of them strung together!

In another milestone, the Malaria Project fundraising has now gone past $2,000 because of this ride.

I drug myself out of bed this morning to go on our usual morning ride, and put in another 20 miles this morning.  I was a little stiff and achy, but otherwise ok.  Once again I noticed that it required more effort to get my heart rate into the training zone.  After long rides, my heart rate settles down to a little lower than normal.  The second half of the ride was fast.  I didn’t intend that, but sometimes you just have to ride with the group’s plan.

These Rides: 174.1 miles (Monday – Wednesday)
Malaria Campaign: 1122.3 miles
Funds Pledged: $561.15
Contributed in support: $1,487.60

Total = $2,048.75

From → Cycling

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