Sunday, October 24, 2010

100 Miles on the Eastern Shore - Part 1

I finished salt-encrusted, exhausted, sweaty, a little cold, and jubilant.

My first century completed. 100 miles... the whole experience remains surreal.

Saturday morning I stood waiting for my buddy Will and his wife Lynn in the hotel's parking lot and noticed that the hotel had an anemometer high on its roof. It spun in slow lazy circles. I liked that it spun slowly. All week I had repeatedly browsed the website hoping for no rain and no wind. It was 7 am and there would be no rain, I hoped that the wind would fail to make an appearance as well.

We arrived just a few miles away and rushed through the check in process which didn't begin until 7:30 with half an hour to spare.

I would now like to now admit to all... I like to be early. Early should I make a wrong turn on the way, early so I don't leave anything behind, early so I don't feel rushed. I felt rushed and here's me rushing to get on enough clothes to stay warm.

Will had enough time as his start time was an hour later. Doesn't he look relaxed and composed here? This was taken an hour or so later...

Ok... so Will had some time to watch me rifle through my bag for all the various pieces of lycra intended to keep me from being too cold while also being removable for when it warmed up later (and easily placed in a handy little pocket on my back). Here's Joel (he who I convinced to take on this day's foolish attempt) being much more relaxed than I and putting on his gear unhurried.

We were off at 8 am with little time to reflect on what we were about to attempt. Cold with warm rays of sunlight peeking through the leaves overhead.

Here's a shot of us at the start... note my very colorful windbreaker intended for warmth, added benefit - cars will notice that I look like a pumpkin (quite relevant for October don't you think?) and choose to pass by without hitting me.

It was cold yet we were happy to be on our way and knew that the roads were flat. The leaves in the those trees above remained quiet too -- no wind. We agreed that average speed was less important than completing the day's most important goal -- getting to the finish.

Our first rest stop at 23 miles delivered us to a table of half bananas and plenty of water. I remembered the words of Pat, my godfather's wife, who reminded me to not stay too long as the legs may complain as they tightened off the bike.

I chose to get off the bike.

It was in mid banana chew when Joel introduced me to Jocelyn who was also riding her first century. A speech therapist from Fairfax County Schools, we invited her to tag along with us as we all attempted to reach 100 miles.

For those of you who have committed yourselves to this type of lunacy you already know that one of the unwritten rules of bicycling is to welcome those who are riding alone as the unfamiliar road can be a lonely place -- especially when undertaking a personal best distance. Our merry band now numbered three and sometimes five with the addition of Brad and Henry (more on them later).

Friendship from the vantage point of the bicycle seat is quickly made.

[NOTE: I am unable to continue as my bed calls and eyes refuse to remain open. Please return to my blog for Part 2 entitled: the ride continued, I felt like I was going to vomit all over myself, and wind makes an appearance... riveting don't you think?]

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