Sunday, September 18, 2011

Catching Up

I took Wed and Thursday off of the bike to give my legs a rest and accommodate a busy schedule.

Friday I followed routine and rode first to Annapolis for breakfast then to the office and finally home in the evening.  Breakfast was fun.  Old high school friend Andy joined us at Chick n Ruth's.  Andy now lives in Indiana with his family.  He came to town with his son Leigh who is applying to the Naval Academy.  They were to visit the admissions offices and tour the place.  Great to see him again after all of these years. Wishing Leigh all of the best in the application process. Rod and I, as alumni of the place, stand ready to assist where we can.

On the way home Friday evening I rode straight to Kinder Park to watch Zach's football team take on Crofton under the lights.  My folks were in attendance as well as Tivy and I.  Zach is playing on the line on both sides of the ball and is on both the kicking and receiving teams.  He was literally on the field for every play the entire game.  This with a broken right arm!   The cast stops below the elbow and the coaches wrapped it in foam and duct tape to limit it's damage as a weapon.  The referee inspected the padding and the doctor's note before agreeing to let him play.  Zach and his team won a close one against Crofton under the Friday Night Lights.  My chest was 3 sizes bigger for the final 5 miles riding home after the game.

Saturday I participated in the 1st riding of the Iron Furnace Fifty miler in Snow Hill, MD.  That's a long way to drive for a 50 mile bike ride, but I'm glad I made the effort.  It was organized as a charity fund raiser for Furnace Town and the local Snow Hill Rotary club.  Another old friend, Allan G sits on the board of both organizations and was instrumental in organizing the thing.  He had appealed to me to participate when they first announced it back in the spring and I agreed.

The route overlaps and follows portions of the Seagull Century run every year from near by Salisbury.  Of course it's flat and tours the farm tracks that cris-cross so much of the Shore.  Quite pleasant, traffic was non-existent.  They paid a service to design the route and document the cue sheet.  I suspect they'll get an earful from some riders about a couple of points of contention that may lead them to believe they didn't get their money's worth.  Here's my take:

1) the route was great, no major roads to cross or ride along. Traffic was almost non-existent.  That should not be overlooked how nicely that contributes to an enjoyable day.  I will not recommend any changes to the route when I submit feedback.
2) the cue sheet correctly documented the mileage along the road route, but did not take in to account the 1.5 miles from the main road to the actual rest stop inside of a state park.  That added 3 miles to our bike computers and made the remainder of the route a little tougher to navigate without GPS. (I have a gps and had pre-loaded the route, but many riders of course do not).
3) The hard core roadies with carbon frames and 23 millimeter tires inflated to 125 psi will also register their displeasure with the rough condition of the state park roads.  On my 32s with a steel frame I just took it as an excuse to slow down a little.
4) with about 7 miles to go the route retraces a small stretch of road ridden earlier in the ride in the same direction.   On the first time past this intersection the ride turned right.  The cue sheet and stencil marks on the road documented this clearly.  Fast forward 40 miles the route now calls for the rider to go straight.  But the cue sheet is much more vague at this point and the same road stencil is still there pointing right.  That needs to be cleaned up.
5) the rest stops around the route were well stocked and staffed by helpful volunteers.
6) the lunch and beer at the finish were included with the registration fee and were fantastic.

In short the route is fantastic.  The documentation needs to be cleaned up slightly and perhaps the state park rest stop moved to a more convenient spot.  Not bad at all for a first run by a team who'd never done it before.  I'll go back again next year of the schedule permits.



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