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Epic Training Day

It has been a little while since I shared one of my ride stories with you fine folks ... So, I thought I would tackle today's training trek, because it was a bit epic ... At least I like to think so, as I sit here with my back aching, thighs singing, feet pounding, calves tight, triceps burning, tingling hands, and neck hurting. Did I mention that my gluteus maximus feels like someone poured Kerosene on it and the lit it on fire? As a matter of fact, I just took a moment to concentrate, and I honestly can't find a spot on my pathetic body that doesn't hurt in some form or fashion. Alas, that is not really what makes today's adventure epic

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. To get to that point, we have to go back in time about eight hours. *insert dreamy time travel music here*

I woke up at 5:51 a.m. and laid in bed waiting for my alarm clock. Six minutes later, it responded by ringing out that incessant beep-beep-beeping and I leapt out of bed and ran downstairs to let Samson out. After dealing with doggie, I poured myself a bowl of Lucky Charms (the breakfast of wanna-be champions who can't quite make it) and drank some water. A bunch of other stuff happened like the passing of a thingy that made me happy to be 20 ounces lighter and donning of expensive riding apparel that immediately announces the charlatan that I am. HA! Anyway, I got my mountain bike down ... Oh yes ... I said MTB. That is because Andrew's road bike is awaiting parts. That actually is a big part of this story. You see, normally we would be pounding away on our roadies doing the hills all around Brunswick. Today would be different. We would test our iron butts on the jolting C&O canal ... For five plus hours. mmhmm.

When I opened the garage door, I was facing rain. hmm. The weatherman didn't say anything about rain. WTF? Oh well ... Now I'm glad I was on the MTB and not roadie.

After mixing up five hours of goops that would give me just enough calories to survive, and filling my water bottles, I moved outside to find Andrew. He had that, "Figures it would be raining" look on his face.

We got underway.

Warming up was fun, considering it was cold and raining ... But, I don't like to complain. We approached our first fun of the day, Church Hill™. Normally I would take this downhill at 45 MPH, but the streets were wet, my glasses we fogged, and I was on my MTB ... So, I only crept down at 33.6 MPH; which was a boon, because I got a little squirrely at the bottom when I made the 90 degree left turn.

Once on the open flat section that leads to the C&O Canal Towpath entrance, I started chatting with Andrew. I didn't even notice the train horn, but Andrew did. I'm not sure if he was joking or not, but he said, "We should race the train." I stopped talking and thought for a moment. We had to make a track crossing less than a mile ahead, and it was a long freighter that might take some time to pass. I turned to Andrew and said, "Great idea." Then I stepped it up a notch and blasted toward the train crossing. I was cruising and actually making a little headway on the lumbering freighter. I didn't know if Andrew was right with me or not, but I was now on a mission (you need to be careful what you say to me when training - or anything else). I took a short cut down a steep grass hill and across a parking lot and then shot into the train station parking lot at full pace. The rain was still falling, I was drenched, I was cold ... But, I was damn sure gonna cross the tracks before the train got there. As I approached the tracks, the crossing warning gate was down, the red lights were flashing, and the bell was dinging. I looked over at the train and saw that I now had a commanding lead ... So, I took it. I darted between the gates and crossed the tracks. The train was probably a good 150 feet away, but he held the horn on anyway. I glanced over and saw the engineer looking at me with a glare. What I didn't see was Andrew. A fleeting moment went by when I wondered if he was plastered to the front of the big diesel. That passed quickly as I spotted him between cars still in the parking lot. After the train passed Andrew joined me, and we started our C&O jaunt.

… Wet …

… Splash …

… Mud …

You get the picture. It was pretty messy out there initially. The cool thing is the rain subsided before long, and the rest of the day was PERFECT!

Because today's ride was supposed to be 70 miles, the plan was to ride 36 miles and then turn around and head home. This would give us a couple to grow on. That plan got thrown by the wayside when we found a sign at 33 miles that said the towpath was closed for renovations.

This is a beautiful damn that is North of Sharpsburg (Antietem Battlefield) just before we had to turn back due to repairs on the trail.

We rode back fairly uneventfully. Except I was almost killed (or at least seriously injured) by a rider coming toward me. She clearly did not know how to operate her bike and she was shaking and swerving all over the place. I pulled as far to the right as I could and eyed the precipice that I was skirting. In my mind's eye I could easily see riding off the drop and nailing a tree. At the last possible second she swerved back to her side and saved me having to run her over.

When Andrew and I got back to our home town of Brunswick, there was a train parked on the railroad crossing. We waited for fifteen minutes or so and then I elected to ride down to Point of Rocks; which is the next train station about nine miles down the C&O from where we were. The problem with this idea was that I would need to get on Route 464 for my ride back home and it was hilly (to say the least). Also, I had already gone about 64 miles at this point, and my body was starting to seriously ache. But, I thought the extra miles would get me into the distance I wanted to do anyway ... So, I asked Andrew. His knee was really starting to hurt, and he decided to wait for the train. I said my goodbye and then bolted out of there.

Just past halfway to Point of Rocks I found a railroad crossing. But ... Get this ... There was another train parked blocking the crossing. Are you kidding me?? So, I rode on. About a half mile later, I heard the train horn and turned back around. I sprinted back up there and zoomed across the shortcut. Now for the fun of the hills of Brunswick. 464 is a road I ride frequently. Today, on my MTB, it was no joke! I'm not sure where I found the strength, but I motored up each hill and enjoyed the downhills. As I approached the final hill just before my development, I groggily muttered, "Last hill, bitches." And, that sums up how I felt.

All-in-all I rode 76.7 miles over 5 hours and 45 minutes. It was glorious!!!

For a full rundown of our ride, please visit my Garmin Connect link:
My linky.

Part One of my four part pain relief plan - Pop 3 Advil and wash down with water.

Part Two of my four part pain relief plan - Extremely hot bath filled with a buttload of Epsom Salt.

Part Three of my four part pain relief plan - Spicy Cajun Chicken Wrap, Cajun Garlic Wings, and a slice of pepperoni pizza.

Part Four of my four part pain relief plan - I'm drinking it as I type ... Flying Dog Wildman Farmhouse IPA (pretty appropriate).

Until we meet (virtually) again, may your days be filled with adventure,

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Posted by Vaughn Ripley

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Wish I could have been there. I love the Wildeman but the Raging Bitch is the BOMB!

  2. Workout reports like this one make me miss running and regularly writing running reports. Congrats on a splendid ride. I think the world would be a better place if more people spent more time on bikes. =)

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