Sunday, March 18, 2012

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Yesterday I rode the furthest I had ever ridden in one day, and it was just practice for an even bigger ride coming up next month.

I left the house in the dark at 6AM and headed up the B&A trail to meet my ride partners Mike and Mike, with all my lighting installed to prove it would be OK in the future.  In case you didn't know, there are LOTS of rabbits out on the trail after dark.  We linked up at the 7 Eleven at Richie Hwy and Earleigh Heights Road, controlled in, and set off for Patapsco State Park.  There is a very scenic trail that runs along the river that's worth a return trip.  Flat #1 happened on that trail.  It looked like a case of "snakebite", but perhaps a snake with huge fangs spaced closely together.   We then headed to Gambrills for some food, then to North Beach for more food (stopping at two information controls along the way: questions you could only answer if you were standing at that spot), followed by another spot for even more food (the secret to long rides is to stay fueled and hydrated).  My knee, which has recently become a problem, started hurting on the way to Gambrills, so I took a 200mg ibuprofen there.  Pain got much worse for a few minutes, then completely went away.  I continued taking one of those magic pills every 3 hours for the rest of the ride.  Along the way Mike flatted yet again, in a way I've never seen before: both tires simultaneously from the same pothole.  A curious horse came over to watch when we showed up. Something else I had not seen before: a dog take a running leap at a rope hanging from a tree, swinging from it while hanging on by his teeth.

We got back to the 7Eleven around dinner time, then rode to Squisitos Severna Park for dinner (more food).  When it was getting dark, we decided the riding day was not yet over, so we rode up to BWI and did a loop around the airport.  We considered a second loop, but it was 9PM by then and (a) we were thinking we should go home to our wives (b) we were feeling pretty good and knew we could go on almost indefinitely (c) it was St Patricks Day and we didn't want to expose ourselves to the ameteur drunk drivers any more than necessary.    Got home about 1030PM after a 175 mile day, took a shower and went to bed.

Lessons learned:
- The breakfast routine I've been trying isn't working.  Time to try something new.
- Time to ditch the backpack for something else - it's getting hot
- Need a "bento box" so I can snack continuously while riding
- Jelly candies go down well, power bars not so much
- The wire from my helmet light flops all over the place and needs to be restrained.
- Need to reapply chamois cream more often
- STILL need to relocate the cue sheet further forward on my bars
- Carry 3 tubes - you might need them all
- Time to replace the rear tire, it's getting bald