Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sailing Down to Solomons - October's 200k

Ok... I know I am severly delinquent in blogging. The past month has included travel to New York, Chicago, Virginia Beach and a crazy time with our new laptops. Trying to juggle work, travel and family has taken my full attention... and the blogging has suffered. Things have settled down to a dull roar now, so I am hopeful to keep this up to date.

On Sunday morning I rode The Sailing Down to Solomons perm for my October 200k. This was the third time I had ridden this particular route, but my first time riding it solo. I asked Crista (the route owner) for a 6:00 a.m. start time, and as usual she accomodated me by handling all the paperwork via email. (That may not sound like a big deal, but some route owners will NOT provide the "goodies" via email for some reason).

Bike preperations were done on Saturday. Chain cleaned, lubed etc. Clothes were laid out. Nutrition 'stuff' was ready to go. I had also made arrangements to implement the controversial moisture control program on this ride. Let's just say that I was "poised' to keep myself dry, but the sucess of the ride did not fully "depend" on it.

The ride down to Solomons was fairly uneventful. I set a comfortable pace (for me) and was planning on the ride taking me 12 hours. I had advertised in an email to SPP, that if anyone wanted to join me... it would be a leisurely paced ride. At about mile 37 or so, I stopped at a Wawa and grabbed some water to top off my camel back and pick up something to nibble on.

After the Wawa stop, I pedeled to the turnaround control in Solomons. For those of you that have ridden this ride before, the route has changed slightly, and the cue sheet brings you into Solomons right down to the water for an information control. The route owner had mentioned that it added something to the ride, and I have to agree. It is a quaint little place that I am glad I rode through. After collecting the information that I needed for the control card I stopped at Woodburn's Market for a cup of coffee and a piece of coffee cake. I actually sat down outside the market and enjoyed my coffee, watching people go in and out of the store.

Just a few more miles from the market and I would be at the halfway point. I was ahead of my 12 hour schedule even with the 2 stops, so I figured I was doing fine. I rode to a little store that is at the 80 mile point. I grabbed a package of cheese and crackers (they diudn't have any Klondyke Bars) and a coke and sat on the picnic tables in the front of the store. After enjoying my gedunk there, I headed to to the next control. An SPP favorite, Sweet Sue's in North Beach.

At Sweet Sue's I ordered a Chicken Caesar wrap, which was made exactly how I ordered it. I sat at one of the tables outside Sweet Sue's enjoying the beautiful day and watching all the people that were doing the same. I think I spent about 40 minutes at Sweet Sues before heading to the next information control and ultimately to the final control in Crofton.

I have to admit that this ride is not my favorite. There is the traffic on Rte 2/4 that you have to contend with (which is really not THAT big of an issue, because the shoulder is wide enough it's like you have your own lane). Mostly though,it is the last 30 miles or so of this ride that make it not one of my favorites. The route takes you through the back roads of Calvert and Anne Arundel counties.These roads are a seemingly never ending line of little uphills and little downhills. Don't get me wrong, I prefer small uphills to big uphills, but it is very difficult to get into any cadence rhythm over these miles and they just seem to drag on.

I shouldn't complain. Sailing Down to Solomons is a staple for most of us that are working on getting our R-12 awards. Driving 20 minutes to the start as opposed to 2 1/2 hours is a HUGE benefit. That equates to two more hours of sleep.

After the ride, Mike and I met at Gina's Cantina for a root beer to celebrate the completion of 10 - 200k rides. It was nice to have someone there to celebrate with at the end. If everything stays on track, three of us (Dan, Mike and myself) will complete our R-12's in December. Due to scheduling conflicts, it doesn't look like we will all be riding the same route, but I am quite sure we will all share a root beer at some point to celebrate.

Lesson learned...

#1 - Ok, this is the leson learned you are all waiting to hear about. Moisture control. Incontinence pads. They work, and they work REALLY well. I only used 2 and I put them both on my stomach. The sticky back keeps them in place stuck to your base layer. For those of you who know me,  know that I sweat a lot. Typically I sweat through my jersey and wind vest by the end of the ride. On this ride, my shoudlers and chest sweated through, but my stomach was dry. On my wind vest, on my jersey and on my base layer. All of the sweat was absorbed by the pads. I definately see the benefit of using them to keep yourself dry and warm in the colder weather. . Say what you want...but they work and I will use them again.

#2 - Ride your ride. I find that these rides are much more enjoyable when I ride within myself. I told Mike that I am not good at these long ride, I am slow. He assured me that those are two differnt things. I can be good at these ride and be slow at them. My hat is off to people who can do these ride in less than 7 or 8 or even less than 9 hours. I am just not one of those people.

#3 - If you want great weather for a week or so, order a winter cycling jacket. I recieved my Shower Pass Elite 2.0 on Saturday, and will probably not get a chance to try it out for another week or so because the tropics have somehow come to Maryland.
Big ride this weekend. Stay tuned... I promise to blog about it.
Here is the Garmin info: