For a much better ride report than I am able to write, please visit Chesapeake Sailor Blog (link to the right). His description is very accurate and my report will mirror much of what his contains... just not as articulately.
Mike and I teamed up again to ride our May 200k. Schedules being what they are, with nicer weather upon us, the number of "commitments" that we have on the weekends increases it makes it more and more difficult to get our schedules to mesh. My March and April 200k's were done solo, and although that does have some benefits (not many, believe me) I was looking forward to riding with someone this month. Mike solicited participation from other members of the Severna Park Peloton and we were joined by Shane.
At 6:00 a.m. we departed the 7-11 in Crofton. Everyone was upbeat and optimistic about the day. This is the same ride that Mike and I did together in February. For that ride we had a 4:30 a.m. start, in the dark, with temperatures below freezing. I have to say, I enjoyed the later, and warmer start this time around.
The early part of the ride was overcast and a little cool. The sun was suppose to make an appearance and warm things up a bit, but I had my doubts as I was looking at the sky. I felt a rain drop and then another and then I saw oncoming traffic with their wipers on. Given that there was only a 10% chance of rain, I did not bring any "rain" gear with me. I was not prepared for rain and because we were so early in the ride, I was very nervous that any serious rainfall would make this a long and miserable ride. That could have resulted in a phone call to Bev to come get me. Fortunately, that is not how the day turned out.
The pace down to Solomon's was very quick. There were points that I was riding and chatting with Shane and we were doing 18 - 20 mph and I look up and Mike is pulling away from us. On Several occasions I asked Mike if he had his Wheaties for Breakfast or what? From the outside looking in, I could tell that Mike was having a good ride.
We made it to Solomon's and decided that we were all feeling well hydrated, well fed and our legs did not need too much of a break so we opted for a quick stop at the 7-11. I got a water refill and pringles while the other guys got there nutritional replenishment and we were on our way headed north.
As we headed north, we encountered a fairly stiff breeze. It was not the gusty winds that others have had to deal with over the past couple weeks, but it was formidable enough to make a difference. Mike recommended that we each take a 5 minute shift at the front of the line to battle the wind while the other two enjoyed the reprieve from the wind. That worked out SO well. I don't feel like we lost much time heading north, and no one had to shoulder the entire burden of riding into the wind. This is one of many reasons why riding with someone is better than riding alone.
Riding into the wind did take it's toll. Shane developed a cramp, but was able to ride on to a country store at about mile 80. We stayed there for an extended break for him to stretch and rest his leg. I enjoyed some peanut butter crackers and topped off the water bottles. From there we headed to Sweet Sue's in North Beach.
Sweet Sue's is right on the water in North Beach. Riding in to North Beach with the views of the bay, and along the Boardwalk is very pretty. Sweet Sue's did not disappoint. I got a Cranberry Muffin, Mike got a scone of some variety and Shane got an eclair that was as big as his leg. (Mike's blog has a picture) Maybe that was to help the cramp in his leg, I don't know, but it was the biggest eclair I had ever seen. We all enjoyed our sweets, filled up on water and we were on our way again.
As we neared the end of the ride, we crossed Davidsonville Rd. with about 6 miles to go. If we took a left it would have been a straight shot back to the 7-11. The cue sheet however, calls for us to cross Davidsonville Rd and it brings us through some pretty enough neighborhoods and then back out onto Davidsonville Rd. I wish there was an option on the route to do those extra couple of miles down in Solomon's. I don't know the area down there, but after 122 miles of a 126 mile ride, when you are so close to home, you just want to "get there".
During the ride, I used the same nutrition/hydration plan as I did in April. Drink constantly, 2 -3 e-caps per hour, cheese bagels, fig newtons, sports beans and food at the controls. This worked well for me again. On rides were water is not readily available, I will have to come up with a strategy for that, but so far... so good.
The last 2 long rides that I have done, I have felt really good during and after the rides. I hope that this trend continues. Mike and I are conspiring to do a 300k in September. As I continue to feel better after these 200k's, my level of confidence for longer rides increases ever so slightly.