Mason Dixon Challenge 2011

bikersOver the weekend I completed one of my goals for the year when I rolled into Gettysburg college on 2 wheels at 12:49 PM.  I’d completed my first metric century ride and raised a shit-ton of money for the Central PA chapter of the MS Society (over $2600 and counting).  All while spending the day with my best friend from high school, some of his family and some friends.

We started out at 6:42 AM on our designated 62 mile route in the cool morning air with blue skys and big puffy white clouds.  Unseasonably cool temperatures made me almost wish I’d packed a pair of arm warmers, but that was only for the first 15 minutes of the ride.  As the sun climbed higher into the sky, the temperatures reached a very comfortable mid 80s with very low humidity.

We rolled south of Gettysburg, PA and then turned west toward Fairfield, PA where we had our first rest stop at about mile 11.  After a short break, some watermelon and a refill of the water bottles, we headed out to the next leg of the journey.

Sometimes it seems like route planners are cruel.  A half a mile out of the rest stop we climbed a 134 feet over .36 of a mile (that’s a 7% grade).  It might not have been so bad, if I’d not had a rest which resulted in legs of stone.

Then we made a wrong turn and hit a wall of a climb at 12% grade for about 1/10th of a mile.  Now, I’m a flatlander.  I live near the Chesapeake bay and really don’t have a lot of hills to practice on at home.  About mid-way through this climb, I actually thought I was going to get SAGed at 14 miles in.  I remember feeling like I was going to both black out and puke.  Luckily, these were the last of the steep grades for most of the day.

We headed south to Emmitsburg, MD from Fairfield and I had the pleasure of riding by my grade school.  It brought up a weird mix of nostalgia (truthfully the entire ride did as I was riding on roads from my childhood).  From there we crossed over route 15 and headed south toward Thurmont, MD.  Thurmont had two rest stops, one only 4 miles from the first one.  We had lunch sitting in the grass on a shady hill next to a volunteer fire station.From Thurmont, we headed north and flirted with the outskirts of my home town, Taneytown, MD for a while before crossing into PA again.  A final rests stop in Barlow, PA and we cruised into town.  This final stretch was agony for me.  I’d burned up all my energy and was really struggling to make it up the last hill on Tanyetown Road headed into Gettysburg.  I made it, by the skin of my teeth and the final few miles were cream and honey through town.

All in all, we road 67.35 miles and my pace was an average of 14.49 mph.  I felt damn good about my riding.  The drive home was probably ill-advised, as I nearly fell asleep three times on the highway, but I made it and crashed on the couch for a good hour before heading out for a fine dinner at Chris’s Restaurant in Severna Park where I had a great rendition of Carne Asada.

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