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Epic Week? Day 6: Let’s Get This Done!

by on June 2, 2014

I took a rest day on day 5.  It was well-deserved.

Day 6 dawned cool and dry.  But the winds were kicking up and there were some whitecaps on Assawoman Bay in Ocean City.  The forecast had winds from the north forecast for most of the day, until late, when they might go NNE.  While that was better than a NW wind for my trip back from Ocean City, it was still enough of a headwind that I was concerned.  I decided to leave an hour earlier than planned, just to account for the headwinds.  I wanted to be finished with the ride before dark.

I left Ocean City at noon and pushed north to the Delaware border pushing into that headwind.  I had not eaten lunch.  That simple fact kept me focused on my hydration and fuel plan all through the trip.  That plan is pretty simple.  Water or Rocktaine/Water mix at least every 15 minutes & 20-30 grams of carbohydrates every 30 minutes.  There are many different routes from Ocean City to Stevensville.  I simply plotted the shortest route I could find and decided to deal with the traffic on heavily traveled roads.

My first leg turning NE out of the beach area was the most familiar part of the route.  It overlapped our OC rides and the RUSA routes that I designed.  I deviated from those familiar roads at Dagsboro, continuing up Rt. 20 to Rt. 113.  Once I hit Rt. 113, I was on highways with wide shoulders most of the rest of the way across the Eastern Shore.

In reality, this ride was uneventful.  Despite the headwinds, I kept my speed up and my heart rate down.  I watched both of those indicators and kept them in the proper ranges.  I adhered to my hydration and nutrition plan.  I kept my stops brief, but also used them as goals.  I stopped only 3 times.  The first was outside of Georgetown (about mile 32)  where I took on more water, ate a banana, bought some cookies, and oiled my chain.  (The chain was making quite a racket!)  The second stop was outside Bridgeville at about mile 45.  I bought some ice cream and topped off my water bottles again.  My third and final stop was at about mile 71 where ice cream and water was again on the menu.

As the temperature of the day increased, I started to note that my speed was decreasing.  The outside air temperature was only about 75° F, but my Garmin was registering as high as 90° with the sun and blacktop radiating heat.  I pulled out my trusty new cooling towel at mile 54 and felt an improvement in speed and comfort within the first mile or so.  I rewetted the cooling towel at mile 71 and it was working great until the finish at mile 95.

About 5 miles after my stop at mile 71, and the above mentioned ice cream/cooling towel I was feeling strong and decided to push toward the finish.  I reset my mental heart rate limit and picked up the pace challenging the wind to slow me down.  To that point, I had a rolling average speed of 16.6 mph … respectable for the conditions.  My last 4 five mile “lap” speeds were 19.1, 19.5, 19.4, and 18.6 mph.  Now, I will admit that some of this additional speed was “assisted”.  The last 20 miles had stretches where traffic was heavy and the winds off the cars passing a few feet to my left gave me about 1- 2 mph boost.  Even so, this increased speed over the last 20 miles felt good and I ended the 95 mile day with a rolling average of 17.1 mph and was feeling strong.  I did run out of water the last few miles, but just let it go.

So it was a good day on the bike.  It took about 6 hours 13 minutes to cover the 95 miles.  I was stopped a total of about 45 minutes, including traffic lights and short breaks.

AND by the time I was done, I had logged a total of 408 miles in 6 days.  It is not my highest miles in a week (that was last October when I rode 478 miles in a week), but it was a great way to end the month of May.

I will update the Malaria Campaign numbers in another post.

 

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