Sunday, September 12, 2010

Two Weeks, 275 Miles (Or Another Century Ride in Delaware)

SSW Spouse was disappointed that he did not get to ride in the Shorefire Century two weeks ago, so we signed up for the Amish Country Bike Tour, a century ride out of Dover, Delaware that took place yesterday.  This century promised homemade pie at one of the rest stops and barbecue at the end, so how bad could it be?

We arrived in Dover around 7:30 and picked up our registration packets, which came with about 16 pounds of fliers, all of which wound up in the recycling.  It also came with some energy bars, sunscreen, lip balm, and wet wipes.  At least those things are useful.  The thing it did not contain was a cue sheet.  A cue sheet, for those who are not familiar with cycling, is a turn-by-turn list of roads with the distance to be ridden on each one.  It is basically like the directions that Google Maps or other mapping services provide for driving.  They did include a map of the route, but no distances were marked on it.  The lack of cue sheet meant that we had no idea how far it was between rest stops.  They did mark the pavement at turns, so we wouldn't get lost. 

We started at 8:15 with the mass start.  The Dover Police stationed personnel to block major intersections until we were out of town, which was really nice.  The 23 miles to the first rest stop flew by.  The weather was perfect:  bright and sunny and in the low 70s.  The day started with a mild wind, which would pick up as the day went on.  We arrived at the second rest stop at 42 miles to find Amish women serving pie!  We took off from there, trading off riding in front so the person in back would get a little bit of a break from the wind.  After pulling for several miles, I dropped off to the side to let SSW Spouse take over and realized that we had picked up about five people who were drafting us.  A little while later, they all turned off on the metric century route and we continued south on the full century route.

The rest stops had been quite crowded up to this point.  When we pulled into the third one, there were only about ten cyclists there.  Apparently, most people were doing the metric and shorter rides.  From there, we continued south to another rest stop, just six miles away, and then turned north for what turned out to be the worst leg of the trip.  That 17 miles was the hardest part of the ride for me.  It seemed like, not matter which direction we rode, it was always into the wind.  At this point, we were also riding alone, since the few century riders were very spread out.  We finally arrived at the last rest stop (the same one as the third stop) after what seemed like forever.

With 13 miles to go, we were both tired, but had the motivation of barbecue and being done.  We found some energy and actually rode pretty well on the last leg.  It was a pretty good feeling to see the Delaware Capital building and the finish line.  I finished 45 minutes faster than I did on the Shorefire Century two weeks ago.  I also felt much better at the end of the ride than I did at the end of the Shorefire.  At the beginning of the ride, I was a little concerned about the lack of cue sheet.  I always like to know how much further I have to ride until I get to a stop.  It turned out that it didn't bother me too much.  Overall, it was a really good ride.

When I got home last night, I realized that, over the last two weeks, I have done two century rides, a 40 mile training ride, and ridden to work and back twice (7.5 miles each way) for a total of 275 miles in the last two weeks.

No pictures today.

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