I took another step in my preparation for the “final assault” on the Heritage Rail Trail with a planned long ride on Saturday. Similar to how we prepared for big rowing events, I tapered during the week. Unfortunately much of that was due to a busy schedule and several nights of thunder storms, so riding was minimal. I also carbed up with a big spaghetti dinner on Friday night and two good meals on Saturday before I could get to the trail. On my way out I grabbed a bunch of snacks and loaded the Carradice, noting that I got pretty hungry on the 60 miler two weeks ago.
What’s a guy carry preparing for a long ride? bananas, cheese crackers, and a Slim Fast bar. Still not enough.
Since I was getting a late start, I put in at Brillhart Station around 2:30. I didn’t want to risk riding into downtown York after dusk, seeing that I wasn’t sure how far I was going to ride and how fast a trip it would be. I did know that I wanted to stop around every 10 miles and rest by bum, eat and drink, and massage and stretch my legs. Other than that, my plan was to ride as far as I could before dark.
Going out felt great and my legs were strong. It’s funny, but I had to hold myself back in order to pace my trip accordingly. It was a beautiful day, and the trail was in pretty heavy use until around 4:00. There were plenty of Burley carts and Piccolo bikes. Around New Freedom I passed two seniors on a tandem recumbent (really a long sucker!), and I’m pretty sure I saw a guy on a very nice Raleigh 3 speed around Freeland.
You can practically coast from New Freedom to Monkton, so it was a matter of finding a big gear and not pushing too hard. I fell in behind two guys on MTBs and was able to maintain a nice pace for about 8 miles. When I pulled into Monkton at the 30 mile mark, it was pretty crowded, especially with roadie and roadie wannabes; but I sat for a while, took an inventory of how I was doing, and opted to push all the way to Ashland. I also popped two Motrin that I brought along just to take the edge off.
From Monkton south there are a lot more crossings, some of which are fairly heavily travelled roads. The trail itself also is packed so hard that it might as well be paved. You’re still under a canopy of trees so the air was cool, but you also start to notice that you are rolling through sub-divisions rather than farmland beyond the trees.
The HRT website warns that there is not a lot of parking at the end of the trail. I figured that at least there would be a small park or something. But the fact is that this wonderful trail basically comes to a screeching halt against a parking lot behind an apartment complex. No benches or picnic tables, no water fountains, no idyllic water falls like earlier; not even a brass band to serenade the weary traveller. Just a fence and a sign. Still, I savored the accomplishment and snapped a few pics: the very end.
Me at the very end.
Since the governor was unable to come out and greet me, I loaded up my arse and headed home. Sticking to my plan, I stopped again in Monkton before heading up the hill to New Freedom. I fell in behind a couple on MTBs and stuck with them for around 8 miles before they stopped, and I felt remarkably well during the climb, averaging around 12 mph, which was faster than two weeks before.
I took another short break at New Freedom and caught up with a roadie around Glen Rock. He pushed me for several miles and eventually we rode side by side and had a nice conversation. Turns out he owns the bike rental and shop at Serenity Junction, so we talked alot about bikes and the business.
Another pit stop at Gladfelter Station and then the final push home. I rolled into the lot just before dusk and just sat in my car for 10 minutes, drinking a warm bottle of Gatorade. All told, I drank 5 large bottles of water on the trip, and my stomach was rumbling. By then the Motrin had worn off. My legs were very heavy, but not hurting, and my bum was sore, but it was not a sharp pain. I did have a sharp tingeing on the outside of my left knee. I suspect it has something to do with repetitive motion of my leg with my ankle at an odd angle or something.
I’d spent 5 1/2 hours in the saddle and travelled just under 75 miles. The total trail trip should be around 83 miles, and I’m guessing that will happen some Saturday in mid July. When I got home…medium chocolate malted from Dairy Delight, chips and very hot salsa, large chocolate milk… and several Tums.
Misc. riding: 4.1 miles
Distance: 74.7 miles, 2007: 566.9
In other news: My daughter is in New Orleans on a church missions trip. They are there for 10 days and filled an entire 20 foot Ryder truck with supplies. I am hoping that she will return with a different view of the world. My oldest son also made the All-Star team, and they will be practicing every night, so that will put a crimp on riding for a bit.
Finally: I’m in the market for a pair of Albatross bars for the Marin. If anyone knows of a pair not being used, please drop me a note.