Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Coastal Cruise (East)

On Saturday I rode perm # 2364 Coastal Cruise (east). It is a 103k perm from Newburyport, MA to Kittery Point, ME and back. The route covers 3 states (MA, NH and ME) and runs right along the scenic New England Coast. I was in New England to a charity ride on Sunday (ride report to follow) so I wanted to do the 100k to work towards the RUSA American Explorer award.
I nearly did not finish this ride because of my own arrogance. I arrived at the starting control with plenty of time to get my bike out of the vehicle, put the front wheel on it, put the Garmin on it, water bottles etc. But instead, I waited in the car because it was cold. The forecast tem was to be in the mid 50’s… it was 45 with a breeze coming off the water. “It’s only 100k, and I have nearly 7 hours to complete it…I’ll be fine”.

I bought the requisite banana and water from The Plum Island Coffee Roasters at 7:01. I walked back to the car to put myself and the bike together. It was cold and windy, but I brought a newspaper from the hotel to help block the wind from my body. So it was base layer, USA today, short sleeve jersey, arm warmers and wind breaker. I pushed off to start the ride at 7:30. I figured, no problem… 6 ½ hours for 65 miles, I’ll be fine.

As I headed to the ocean front, I could feel the wind blowing me towards the curb. I knew, in order for the wind to be able to move me, it had to be pretty strong. I also knew that as soon as I made the left hand turn at the ocean front that the strong wind would be directly in my face. I tried to judge the wind speed based on the flags on the flag poles. I saw somewhere on the internet that you could do this, but I am apparently not real good at it. I estimated the wind speed (based on the flags) to be between 10 – 15 mph with gust of up to 20 mph. Based on how I felt trying to pedal into that wind, I estimated t at 50 – 60 mph sustained. (Weather underground had the winds between 5-8 mph with gusts up to 12 mph).

I was doing fine despite the wind. The sun had come out and I had warmed up rather nicely and I had some beautiful scenery to take in while I rode. For some reason I started thinking about y control card. I knew I had it with me (that is always a fear of mine). I thought about how long it had been since I had a control card and how this one was a little different, because the open and close times of the controls were “running times” after your departure. OK, so the first timed control closed at 2:28. Doing the math, that meant 9:28, but 30 minutes of that time had been wasted. With the head wind, I was not making great time. I did the math in my head and I figured that I was NOT going to make it. Fortunately, the route took me away from the ocean and into some roads that had trees and shelter to block the wind. I was able to make it to the first control with 5 minutes to spare. I quickly grabbed a bottle of water and hit the road again.

The next control, the turnaround control, in Kittery Point is very familiar to me. I lived there while in the Navy and this area is where my oldest daughter was born. It is amazing how things have changed there. I made it to the control, turned around and on my way back, took a little detour to the apartment in Navy Housing where we brought Amanda home to. It is fun to reminisce.
The trip back to Newburyport took basically the same route. So, you guessed it. I made very good time getting back with the wind at my back. I would be riding at a nice easy pace and look at the Garmin and find that I was doing 20 mph. I was happy that I faced the headwind on the way out, so that the ride back was made much easier.

I made it back to the Plum Island Coffee Roasters at 12:30. It felt good to a RUSA ride again. I am looking forward to the 100k in October. 

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