I did it! I rode 85 miles in one day.
I decided to not repeat last year’s late morning start and missing the team photo. No, not again. Friday night, I got my equipment together, and placed it next to the door. As soon as I got ready Saturday morning, I take everything there and put it in the car, load the bike, and take off. Saturday morning, I woke up at 5am, and my wife kicked me out of the bed. I got ready, loaded up the car, and was on the road by 6:20 AM. I unfortunately took the somewhat longer route, but got to Monmouth University in West Long Branch by 7:15 AM.
There were lots of people arriving in the morning, and I got parking, then walked into the Boylan gymnasium to drop off paperwork at the Team CentraState table. So did I forget anything that day? Yes. I forgot the rider packet they mailed me earlier this month with my rider number and luggage tags. I ended up heading over to the “Solutions” table to get a replacement tags.
Interesting story — Friday night, I got a message from a mutual friend of my wife & me, who has a work colleague/friend who was to ride the 170-mile two-day ride, but a companion backed out. The mutual friend knew I was riding, and put me in touch. I called this colleague/friend, Jacqui, and she decided to ride the one-day Saturday 85-miler with me instead. I figured this would be good, since I’m helping someone out, and it’s nice to have company. We met up in the gym Sat morning after I participated in the team photo, and then got our bikes ready.
8;05 AM, after a speech and “opening ceremonies”, we were off! The mapped route was 85 miles from West Long Branch down to Tuckerton. We had rest stops for stretches and snacks/drinks every 15 miles or so. If you check out the map (previous link), the route hugged the Jersey coast for the most part down to Seaside Heights, then took us all across the water on a long bridge (Rt 37, “Little League World Champions Blvd”) towards Toms River. This part of the ride was cool, as they closed of two lanes on the bridge for us, and I’ve never ridden on such a large bridge before.
We went inland the rest of the day. Apart from the rest stops, we had lunch at mile 52 at an elementary school in Lacey Township. I don’t believe I was ever so happy to see a turkey sandwich in my life. Lots of food, and a DJ playing music for entertainment. Around 2PM, Jacqui and I hit the road for the next 35 miles. At this point, 50+ miles has been the most I’ve ever ridden on my bike. When I got back on after lunch, my saddle-area was aching very badly, and my legs were feeling the first pangs of muscle fatigue. I’ve never asked my body to go farther than this, so it started to rebel. Still, we went on, and my posterior settled down for the most part. Over the next 35 miles, I started to experience more pain in my neck, my lower back, and a lot in my left wrist. The wrist pain go so bad, I struggled to find a comfortable position for my left hand to hold the handlebar. My knee held up surprisingly well, but the rest of me wasn’t so hot.
Mile 85, 5:05 pm, we pulled into the Pinelands Regional Junior High School, and I was happy to not go any further. There was an option to now complete a 15-mile “power loop” around the school, to make it a full 100 miles for the day. However, since I wasn’t much shape, and it was getting late, I ended my flirtation with trying for another 15 miles. I’ve never done 85 miles in one day, so there’s no reason to be crazy to try for 100. I can leave that for next year!
We loaded up the bikes on the bus, and the bus eventually left around 6pm. We got stuck in traffic northbound on the Garden State Parkway, and arrived back at Monmouth University at 8 PM. I hobbled back to my car with the bike, loaded up, and drove home. I got home at 9:00 PM, and I was pretty tired. Of course, I had plans to go see Thor, but that’s another story. 🙂
All in all, I’m happy that I could do the ride this year. I started training back in February, dieting and exercising towards a better, healthier lifestyle. I lost 12 lbs along the way, and my doctor likes my blood test results and weight loss. I like accomplishing a new cycling milestone in my life. I liked riding and realizing that I’m not half bad climbing hills. I like that I raised $1,050 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I like that I’m now a “Super Cyclist” for MS, and I earned myself a cool 2011 Super Cyclist jersey. These are all good things.
Photos are now up in the May 2011 Photos gallery, so please enjoy.