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Inaugural Runs of a new 200k

by on March 24, 2014

This past weekend was Severna Park Peloton’s annual spring OC ride.  Although this is a favorite ride of mine across the Eastern Shore of Maryland and through Delaware to Ocean City Maryland, I was unable to ride both days.  A friend also was needing a 200k, so a few weeks ago I developed a 200k ride that used the same stopping points as “controls” and made plans to ride the 200k.

And then, I got the crazy idea to do it twice.  As the plans became more firm, the decision was made to (1) drive to Ocean City early Friday morning where I would leave a car.  (2) Ride the route reversed  with Jeff S.  (3) At the end of that ride, we would get in Jeff’s car to drive back home across the Bay Bridge and stay overnight at home. (4) Drive back across the Bay Bridge and meet up on Saturday with those riding the OC ride, but the 3-4 of us doing the 200k would leave 15 minutes early so as to not violate RUSA rules.  (5) We would meet the OC riders at controls along the way and then at the end of the ride join them for happy hour and dinner.  (6) Finally, I’d drive home from Ocean City and be ready for work early Sunday morning.  Nice plan, huh?  This would be about 250 miles on the bike in 2 days (about 40-50 more than the OC riders would get).

Jeff and I left at 5 am to start this trip, and watched a glorious sunrise as we drove to Ocean City.  We were able to push off on the bikes shortly after 8 am for what would prove to be a very challenging day on the bike.  Temperatures were in the low 40’s F at the start.  It wasn’t long before we hit significant headwinds that would push against our progress the entire day.  Nevertheless it was a great day to be on the bike.  We traveled through many of the forested areas of the Del-Mar-Va peninsula (where we would catch a bit of a break).  Jeff has not ridden much this year and his fitness level is well below what it should be this time of year.  That meant that I spent a lot of time in the front and didn’t get much drafting relief from the wind.  I watched my heart rate climb and there were long stretches where it was much higher than I like to have it … but we were traveling only 12-14 mph against the wind.   The frogs were out in force, and there were times that the sound of their songs even drowned out the noise of that wind.

Friday’s ride finally ended, and I realized that I had spent very little time enjoying the scenery because of the wind.  We had a respectable time for the conditions (under 11 hours), which late in the day also included light rain sprinkles (for which we were unprepared).  It was clear that Jeff was not going to be riding Saturday.  He was in some serious pain the last 20 miles.

After a short night with only fitful sleep, it was time to go back and get my car.  Without that motivation, I might have stayed home and slept.  But the car, knowing that in about 5 weeks I’ve got the Fléche, and in July I’m riding 1,000k around Lake Ontario, I need to get long distances in my legs and get the experience of a multi-day ride.

Dan and Scott C and I met up with the gathering of OC riders, said our hellos and goodbyes, and pushed off at about 7:20 am for our trek to Ocean City.  In Queenstown we saw an albino squirrel, the most auspicious wildlife spotting of our entire trip.  We made pretty good time to Dave’s Place in Ridgely, MD considering some of the headwinds we hit.  We arrived about 40 minutes before the OC group arrived and got to spend quality one on one time with Mary Ann.  We got our breakfast sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, brownies and coffee, and when OC riders came in, we left, knowing we had a much longer distance to the lunch stop than they did.  The winds were still tracking in such a way that we had some challenging headwinds.  There are almost always headwinds on the Eastern Shore!  It was warming up fast.  We stopped several times just to change out clothing.  We watched the temperatures climb from the upper 30’s through 40, 50, 60 and into the low 70’s.  My white pasty legs even saw sunshine for a good part of the ride.

Our track took us more directly into the wind than the OC track, so we arrived in Milton well after the OC riders.  The final push into Milton was the most fun.  We had a tailwind of about 20 mph so as we rolled down the highway at 20 mph, there was no breeze.  It was dead calm.  When we pushed to 24 we had the slightest breeze in our face.  It was heaven.

The OC group decided to eat at Dogfish Head Brewery but we stuck with the original plan to eat at Irish Eyes, where we were going to find food more suitable for our tummies.  I had grown up grilled cheese with a cup of tomato bisque.  It is my favorite there.  Service was slow, as usual, and we pushed off at least an hour after the OC gang had left Dogfish Head.  After about 10 miles of headwinds/crosswinds, we turned so that we had a quartering tailwind, which was glorious!  We let the bikes fly again, pushing along at over 19 mph for long distances.  Our last 2 miles were into the wind again, but by that time, no one cared.  This ride was finished in well under 10 hours.

Happy Hour was good catching up with the stories of the other riders and telling our own lies.  Dan and I opted to skip dinner and drive home a little early and I was back home by 9:30 p.m. and in bed by 10.

So, 20.5 hours of bike time in 33 hours.  Total distance was 254 miles on the bike.  There are some interesting differences between the rides.

Friday: Average rolling speed = 14.7 mph; 10 hours 46 minutes; 8 hours 37 minutes rolling; Average heart rate 138 bpm.

Saturday: Average rolling speed = 16.8 mph; 9 hours 40 minutes; 7 hours 35 minutes rolling; Average heart rate 121 bpm (my heart rate is always lower after a 200k, even with equal or greater effort).

These were two great days on the bike … and garnered some extra funds for the Malaria Campaign.

That’s also 3 200k rides in the Month of March!

For the month, 482 miles.

Total distance since June 1, 2013 = 5,463 

Total funds raised for the Malaria Campaign = $6,987

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From → Cycling

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