So I was up and out of the hotel by 5:30 to drive south about 40 miles to Wallops Island for this morning's start at 7:00. Saturday I rode 100 miles of flat terrain with a couple of friends and 8000+ other bikers I didn't know yet. It was a great time. Today I set out on a 200K trek all by myself. I was unsure of how my legs and body would react to two big rides back to back, but I was determined to find out, even if meant a 13 hour ride to finish today. It was very gratifying to find that if I kept fueling the fire with plenty of carbs and glucose, the wheels kept turning just fine.
If you click on the summary below you can see the route was a straight shot south from Wallops Island to Cape Charles and back with only a little variation on the northbound leg. You'd be hard pressed to find a flatter elevation profile anywhere in North America. It's FLAT. It's all farm country, mostly soy beans with some cotton, corn and chicken farms scattered for variety. Dawn over the fields, with a light mist hovering over many of them, was absolutely spectacular.
As the sun came up and I warmed up to the idea that I was going to be able to hold a brisk pace all day, the miles started ticking by. But it wasn't all the same farm fields. The little towns like Onely, Modest Town, and Parksley gave the landscape a little variety. And there were dogs. My first encounter was comical, a little dog with surprisingly fast legs fell in 5 feet behind me yelping in a cute little high pitched squeak, but finally gave up when I kicked up the pace a bit. The second one was a bit more menacing. A black lab was crossing the road in front of me with two pups in tow. I assumed the pups where hers. At first she looked at me with her ears cocked in a way that suggest curiosity and her tail wagging. Then very suddenly she lunged as I approached; her bark was clearly threatening. But instead of trying to bite me as I went by she paced me and kept barking, finally letting me go after another 50 or 100 yards. I guess she just wanted me away from the pups.
I found I was a little more sensitive today to eating than I usually I am. I assume that is because my muscles started the day with a lower level of stored energy (glycogen?) and I had to eat more frequently. You can see my heart rate started to climb before the mid point break without a corresponding increase in speed. I got focused on getting to the control and forgot to eat. I took a few extra minutes at the control to eat, rest and regroup. I felt fine again and made sure to keep shoveling the snacks on the return leg.
Chris Lane was driving from Va Beach back home and timed his trip to catch me at the turnaround control. It was fun to run in to a familiar face after riding alone all morning. He had done the same route in recent months and provided some helpful intel about what to expect.
So I finished the day in 8 hrs 34 minutes elapsed time with a rolling average of 17.3 mph and a rolling time of 7 hours 14 minutes. That's my best time in 10 rides at 200K, though it's also the flattest terrain I've ridden so the correlation isn't a complete coincidence. I'm exhausted but feel good about the weekend.