Ride Report #?
MS150 City to Shore
If you would have told me a year and a half ago that I would be completing a 100+ mile ride I would have laughed at you. If you would have told me not only would I complete the 106 mile ride but I would also complete a 75 mile ride (closer to 80 actually) the next day I would thought you had a mental deficiency. If you would have told me that not only would I have completed the ride for a total of 183.21 miles, but I would do it in lycra, in public, I would have laughed hard enough to push a bubble of utility beer out my nostril right before I cringed at the thought of my rear end in biker shorts.
Looks like the joke was on me all along.
Friday night vXhanz and I drove out to Cherry Hill NJ where we would spend the night in preparation of tomorrows ride. We made it with the assistance of my wife’s Garmin Nuvi GPS thingy which did a remarkable job of navigating Philadelphia, much better than I would have hoped to have done reading directions from google maps. I will say that the navigation unit does spout off some ill timed directions, turn left, keep left then turn right…umm…if I turn left now I’ll run into that building. Thanks anyways Garmin. We check in and take the bikes out of the truck and into the hotel. After getting inside we briefly decide what is on the menu for supper. After a short debate we settle on fast (hungry now), carb heavy, and with protein. Pizza! So we plugged the information into the Garmin and took off looking for a pizza place that didn’t exist. By accident we ended up at a place called People’s Pizza. “Make food not war” was the motto and I must say they made the absolute best sausage pizza I have ever tasted. The pizza alone was almost worth the drive, gas, and tolls to get there. We also decided to pick up some wings because…well…because they taste good. Turns out Peoples Pizza makes the best pizza ever and some of the lousiest wings ever. They weren’t as bad as the wings at Hooters but I will save my food critiquing for another day. Food in hand we headed back to the hotel where we would dine and prep the bikes. In anticipation of the lousy weather, sand, and salt I decided to put a coat of hard shell wax on Evil Red. That’s the only name that has ever stuck for my bike so Evil Red it shall be. Upon completion of the waxing, I don her (its?) number, headlight, and blinker.
We rise at 4am and check out of the hotel. Bikes in the truck we head for the Ferry Avenue PATCO station. The Garmin is unable to locate the train station, could be user error, but thankfully I had also printed out driving directions. We arrive and head inside. $1.45 buys a ticket to the Woodcrest station where the event kicks off. Upon arrival I am blown away by the sheer number of people here, the massive parking lot is jam packed with volunteers and the most lycra clad people I have EVER seen. Turns out there would be 7000 people participating this year. I don’t know how many of them were put off by the weather forcast but it would seem that the lions share showed up to ride.
We drop off our bags, got some food, filled the water bottles, then hit the porta pots to unhydrate. Upon completion I called Team Clydesdale co-captain The Historian to let him know we had arrived and were ready to meet up. We meet near the luggage truck and have a morning conversation. Neil B (Historian) is in great spirits and happy to see us. I check out Roark’s (sp?) new saddle and notice the odd U shaped cut of the back of the saddle. I jokingly tell Neil to be careful not to slide too far back then forward again less he become castrated. Seriously, there was no other reason I could think of for that design other than a testicle hazard. vXhanz and I continue to badger Neil B with questions about the ride and thankfully he has an answer to each. Kind of like a Historian if you will. Neil calls the remaining members of Team Clydesdale and we meet up with team Captain JT, sorry I don’t remember his screen name off the top of my head. With any luck he or Neil will fill it in for me in the replies. After a brief introduction we are called into the staging area. Some weather lady gives the days forecast and it’s mid 70’s with a moderate chance of rain. Much better than the 90% chance we originally had. Regardless, it’s 0630, dark, and misting rain. The meteorologist leads the countdown and we are off.
We work our way through Cherry Hill cruising along at 10-12 mph. There are tons of people on the road and blasting through them while it’s dark and slippery just doesn’t make sense. We progress and eventually make it to the first of many rest stops. At the rest stop we pick up a couple bite size Cliff bars and a piece of fruit leather. Refill the bottles and use the toilets. After a brief discussion we are off to the next stop pushing a pace of 18-20 mph. The crowd had thinned out enough to allow this in relative safety. About 10 miles or so later we pull into the next rest stop where lunch is being served. It’s about 8:30 in the morning which is far to early for me to consider lunch. Instead we opt for lighter fare and have a peanut butter and banana sandwich which I figured would sit much better in my stomach than a grilled chicken breast sandwich. We top off the bottles again and head for the third rest stop in Egg Harbor. The road there is uneventful and we break it up with conversation amongst ourselves. Herb is complaining that every time he passes someone they suck onto his rear wheel and draft without announcing themselves. Rude at best and dangerous at the least, some people are just idiots. I too will encounter a particularly annoying wheel sucker on the return ride but I will get to that later.
After the usual routine in Egg Harbor we set off again. A mile or so down the road is the split, 75 mile riders go straight, century riders turn right. We turn right. No going back now as we had committed ourselves to the 100 mile option. I suppose we could have turned back but my pride would never allow it. I had something to prove to myself, I needed to show myself that yes in fact I can do it and will stick out anything regardless of the pain. I certainly wont die (I hope) and this ride was my measuring stick. Like my father used to tell me when I was in wrestling tournaments growing up, “How bad do you want it.” I wanted it, I wanted it bad, it was in my grasp and this extra 25 mile loop through the pine barons was all that stood in my way. That and the Jersey Devil. What the Pine Barons did offer was a temporary break from the constant headwind. However, without the headwind the air was calm. Being overcast and recovering from a rain misting it was horribly humid. After departing from the rest stop on the century loop vXhanz had noticed my rear brake was dragging. I don’t know how but fact is that it was. Up until this point I assume I had ridden an entire metric century with my back brake on. 65 miles into the ride we pull over and I make the adjustment. My rear tire is now free and the mystery of why I have been slowing down on slight down hills when coasting now made perfect sense. D’oh. About 10 miles later we are back in the main flow of riders which I must say is astounding. We did it, we completed the century loop and managed not to have been attacked by the Jersey Devil. Must have been poker night with Big Foot or something. Regardless, no matter what we will have ridden a century provided we don’t SAG out.
Joining the main stream of cyclists we catch up with Neil B on his way to the Egg Harbor rest stop. We slow down and ride with him a bit. Turns out his new saddle is really hurting his posterior and making his ride miserable. For being in pain he is remarkably cheerful and inquires about our ride so far. We talk about it awhile then part ways with the intention of meeting up in Ocean City and having supper. Having enough supplies Herb and I decide not to stop at Egg Harbor and press on to the next stop. Rinse, wash, and repeat. Back on the road again we press on. Eventually we discover the benefits of drafting each other. We spent most the ride two abreast and it took 80 some miles to realize why everyone was drafting off us as soon as we would pass. We decide to break up the remaining ride into 5 mile chunks where one would pull for the other then switch. This made the nasty head wind much more manageable and we are able to maintain a fairly quick clip. We pulled into the last rest stop and filled up again. We had some cliff bars, fruit, and a package of Milano cookies. 13 miles to go, only 13 miles until the century is complete. We set off rip roaring for the finish. Eventually we encounter the first bridge. I see it looming off in the distance and I think to myself that it doesn’t look bad at all. Being the stronger climber I lead the attack on the bridge mercilessly passing riders at 13mph all the way up. We tuck in and blast down the decent. One more to go, I see it coming up and I attack it with all I have left. Once to the top I tuck in and blast down into Ocean City. I hold a 20mph pace to the finish line were I slow in advance as there were lots of people abound.
Completion. A century has come and gone. My butt is sore and my quads burn but I stand before the crowds of cheering onlookers and fellow cyclists as a century rider. Does it mean anything? I’m not sure. This ride was somewhat elevationally challenged, but I did it, we raised money for charity and passed a milestone on the way to becoming cyclists. Not even the Jersey Devil could stop us. We navigate the mess of people and volunteers to collect our T-shirts and completion memorabilia. I called Neil to let him know we were in. He congratulated us and said he would call when arrived. We set off and found the hotel, showered, and cleaned the sand and grit out of the bikes. After a quick lube we set off to find a place for dinner.
We met with Neil and headed for a place recommended by the fellow at the hotel. Unfortunately the other team members were unable to attend. We had a nice dinner and reminisced about the ride. You can read about our evening on the beach and boardwalk in the other thread titles “Two Clydes Ride a Century”.
Day number 2
It’s 0515 and we wake to a drizzle of rain. We head for the finish line where they are serving breakfast. Once again we meet up with Neil and dine on pancakes, bacon, sausage, granola, yogurt, doughnuts, OJ, and coffee. Not exactly the breakfast of champions but it sure hit the spot. We pose for some departing pictures and wish Neil well on his return trip.
Oh sweet heaven my a_s is killing me I think as I sit on my saddle and pedal towards the bridges out of town. Ouch my butt, ouch my legs, ouch my butt, ouch my legs and so on and so forth. I feel as though I need two mouths to complain about all the spots that hurt right now. After climbing out the city my legs feel much better. The weather however has turned into a steady rain and drizzle. There are also much fewer volunteers directing traffic. Herb and I get separated a few miles into the return trip at a red light. We were riding a pace line at the time and I had fallen off the back far enough to get caught at a red light. I was determined to catch up but alas I didn’t until we got to the first rest stop 13 miles out. At this time I encountered a wheel sucker of my own. A fit roadie looking fellow latched on not two inches off my rear wheel. I looked back in annoyance at him many times. I varied my pace in an attempt to shake him (or at least annoy him enough to find someone else to mooch off of) but alas it was fruitless. Eventually I turn and ask him if he would like to take a pull considering he had been drafting me for the last 9 miles. The prick said “nope, I’ll stay behind you big guy” which made me want to slam my brakes and cause an accident. I decide not to as I didn’t wish to hurt Evil Red. Instead I continued to ride to the rest stop where I met Herb who mistakenly thought I was still with him albeit very quietly. I tell him about my wheel sucker and lo and behold the jerk is nowhere to be found. I normally don’t wish anyone any harm but I found myself wanting him to be plagued with many flats in the rain for being a grade “A” a_shole.
The rain continues and we press on. This time Herb and I stick together for the most part and are only separated a few times. He is a considerably more capable rider than I am and I begin to ponder the merits of a lighter bike as well as smoother rolling components. Whenever I would handle is Allez Elite (double if it matters) it would certainly seem to have much less rolling resistance than my Grand Sport. I suppose it should as it cost nearly twice as much but I digress. My Raleigh is fine and I should just train harder before I go tossing money into something that is likely my own fault. We stop at every rest stop to munch food, stretch, and top off the bottles. Surprisingly we held a faster pace in worse conditions than on the way down. Stop after stop we press onward and eventually the rain becomes oppressive (in the last 10 miles go figure).
And then I hear the thump of bass off in the distance. Faint at first but the more I pressed the clearer it became. Before I knew it we were done. All 183.21 miles have come and gone without a mechanical failure nor a single flat. We have some lunch and head for the train station. We both ache horribly but before long we are resting in the truck and heading home. The Garmin continued to rattle off unclear directions but it did get us out. 4 bucks to cross a bridge WTF, the turnpike was 3 bucks? All in all, it was a great ride and a ton of fun. I would love to do it again some day though I am not sure if I will next year. There is a MS150 that is much closer to my home that I am going to consider in lieu of this one.
I did learn a few things. First is that I need to eat much more. My caloric intake on the ride was nowhere near where it should have been. Herb and I noticed that after a rest stop I would pull 18-20 mph for awhile then drop back down. I know I didn’t eat enough and will have to work on that. It was also brought to my attention that one of my knees swings out when I pedal when the other does not. This may explain the horribly cramping of my right leg towards the end of Sunday. I might have to break down and have a fitting down to try and correct this issue. Alas, I had a great time with my friends and hope to turn in a better time next year!