Sunday, October 16, 2011

Seagull Century

We headed out to Salisbury, Maryland for our last cycling event of the year, the Seagull Century.  The ride winds 100 miles through eastern Maryland with a stop at Assateague Island.  It is a pretty big event, drawing around 3,000 riders for all three routes, but after RAGBRAI, it didn't seem nearly as crowded.  We arrived in Salisbury on Friday night to pick up our t-shirts and stayed in a nice little cabin in Pocomoke River State Park a few miles south of Salisbury.  The cabin was really basic:  just a few beds and a table, but it held three of us comfortably.  It was nice to sleep in a bed the night before the ride and not to have to take down a tent in the morning.

The ride started off a little rough for me because something I ate at dinner the night before disagreed with me, leaving my stomach a little jumpy for the first leg.  It passed, though, and the weather was beautiful, if a little windy.  For the first and second legs of the ride, we had it mostly to our backs.  We made it to the second stop in good time, took a short break, and continued to Assateague Island.  That is when things started to get tough.  The wind had picked up, so crossing the bridge to Assateague Island was an adventure in holding the bike steady in a very stiff crosswind.  My legs started cramping shortly before the second rest stop.  By the time we reached the rest stop on Assateague, they were screaming.  We took a long, pleasant break on the beach and I drank water and ate bananas to try to calm my muscles down. The last 35 miles of the ride were pretty much straight into the wind and my leg cramps never did settle down.  I finished the ride, but it was a slow, painful struggle.  This was the first time I've ever had problems with leg cramps and hopefully, it is the last.

This morning, I woke up and my legs felt better, which was good as we had another 43 miles ride planned with a crab feast at the mid-point.  I drank a lot of water last night, hoping to correct whatever hydration problem I had the day before and it seemed to work.  Today's ride was much better.  We had headwind all the way to the restaurant, but it wasn't horrible.  On the way back, it was mostly tailwind, so the ride flew by.

Pictures (click to enlarge):
Sunrise on the Pocomoke River.
The bikes at the third rest stop.
Assateague Island.
Two of the Assateague Ponies.
Toes in the sand.
Cyclists crossing the bridge leaving Assateague Island.
A pile of crabs on our table.

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