This past weekend I had a new experience…a bike race! As most of you know I am currently training for the Eagleman on June 14. This past weekend an organization called Character Counts Mid-Shore hosted a century bike ride as their largest annual fundraiser. One of the levels of this ride was a 56 mile option that follows the Eagleman course. It was obvious to me that this opportunity to train on the actual course is one that I could not pass up. Despite the great opportunity it was also a brand new experience for me. I had never participated in a bike ride like this before and I have to admit that I had some nerves leading up to the start.
Unlike every road race that I have ever ran, the start here was not all at once but instead the said you could start anywhere between 7am-9am with the only restriction being that the course would close at 4:30pm. This relaxed start caused many of the other riders doing 56 miles to start later in the day but I had to be back in DC early that afternoon so I was one of the few that started early in the morning and that early start caused me to spend a lot of time alone on the course before many other riders had started their day.
The course winds quickly out of the beautiful town of Cambridge, MD and into the flat country side of Dorchester County, MD towards the Chesapeake Bay. As you wind through the miles I got to pass through many parts of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge including many unique grasslands and swamps. The course is pancake flat and includes long stretches of strait flat roads. These roads allow you to easily sight other competitors to remind you that you are not alone but unfortunately these roads also give plenty of opportunity for the wind to whip and blow consistently. As the miles ticked by I realized that the wind was not only blowing from one constant direction but it seemed to blow from every direction. Whether I was going west, east, north or south, there seemed to always be a wind. The weather is the most unpredictable part of any race, but I hope that the wind in June is less than what I experienced during this ride.
After the ride there was a lunch provided but before I relaxed for the rest of the day I knew I had to get out and get a few more miles on the pavement. I have had some issues with my lower calves being sore when running lately but I pushed through to get a 5K done after the ride. After almost 60 miles for the day it was finally time to relax. Looking back on the ride and the short run afterwards I am even more excited about putting in the extra 10 miles to reach my 70.3 goal in just a few weeks. My training is still going to be heavy in the weeks until the race but with moving 800 miles back to IL it will cause some obvious disruptions. Knowing that I am going to have those disruptions I am very happy that this ride and run have provided a lot of confidence for me when I approach the full course.