I woke up 5:30am on Saturday morning after getting a good night’s rest (as per my wife’s orders.) 50 milers check-in began by 8am, for a ride start time by 9am. I still had a number of things to complete before I could leave no later than 7:30am. Glad that I had at least figured out the bike rack installation, I started on getting ready, filing out the release waivers and pledge packet paperwork. I eventually got out the door by 7:50am — later than I wanted, but not the worst thing in the world.
I arrived around 8:40, and I hurriedly parked, and jogged inside the Monmouth University gymnasium to drop off my paperwork, get my t-shirt and breakfast. I had hoped this time around that I would avoid any mistakes or forgotten paperwork like in the past few times, but no such luck. I had been assigned two different rider numbers, so back to the “Solutions Desk” to resolve it before I could get breakfast. Instead of riding with Team CentraState again, I was invited to ride with a friend’s “Squirrel Commando Squad” team. However, it turned out that entire team was riding the 25 mile course, and would start at 10am. That meant I actually never got to meet anyone, and I rode the 50 miles by myself. Although I like to hang out with people, I’m basically a solo rider, so I don’t mind the lack of company.
A little after 9:15, I started riding out from under the big MS banner. In my haste, I realized that I hadn’t actually stretched before I got underway, so I kept it easy the first 10 miles to allow my legs to warm up. The ride itself went fine, although I had expected great sunny weather. Instead, we had overcast skies and threatening clouds, with some drizzle. What the heck was up with the original weekend weather forecast? This year, I decided to not pig out on all the snacks, eat nuts or fruit only, and keep moving. I finished the ride in 5 hours, though I feel that I would have finished in less time if I hadn’t stopped to take so many pictures. Also, around 15-20 miles, I noticed that the cleat on my left cycling shoe had worn off or broken. It was hard to keep a solid lock with my left pedal. Around mile 24, we reached rest stop #2 at Brielle Cyclery. I went inside to ask if they had SPD-SL cleats, and they did. So I bought some cleats, and walked around barefoot while they installed it. I also noticed that the ratcheting mechanism on the left shoe was also not working, so I asked them to take a look / fix it. In the meantime, I checked out the nice (and expensive) bikes hanging on display.
I was interested in seeing the shore towns for the first time after Sandy hit last October. The entire ride up and along the shore, all I experienced was hearing the hammering and saws cutting wood, the smell of sawdust, and seeing so many damaged/collapsed homes. These towns certainly took a beating from Sandy. They’re in a rush to rebuild now, especially with start of summer in another week. I wish them a lot of luck. Maybe this summer, we’ll make more of an effort to explore these towns.
I got back to the university a little after 2pm. I had lunch, then packed up the bike, and drove home in the rain. I’m glad I didn’t get caught out in the rain attempting to drag my sore achy body from mile 50 to mile 85 or 100. 50 miles was perfect for today.