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Century Bicycle Ride to the Beach

In keeping with my plan to participate in three major events each year of the rest of my life, I rode a 100+ mile bicycle ride with some of my best friends. We decided to ride from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Ocean City, Maryland.

You can see our route here:

Our ride was on September 11, 2010. We raised funds to support the
Families of September 11
; which is an organization that raises money to support the families who lost loved ones during the 9/11 attacks.

I had jerseys made for each of the riders. Here’s a photo of what they looked like:

At the risk of sounding corny, let me tell you all what my fitness goals are. Essentially, about two years ago I decided that I wanted to be fit enough to do ANY activity that comes my way. I am 90% of the way to completing that goal. This year, I climbed on Mount Rainier, participated in a Triathlon, and rode a century bicycle ride. I also have moved a couple of friends from one house to the other, and done numerous fitness activities without any serious soreness or injuries. This has been my goal. Next year, I am planning on swimming 4.4 miles across the Chesapeake Bay. Once I complete that arduous challenge, I will consider my life fitness goal a success.

As many of you know, I choose to take part in at least three major fitness events each year. The reason I do this is to maintain the level of performance and conditioning that I desire.

Alas … I digress.

On Friday night, we decided to stay at a hotel in the town of Grasonville, which is where our century ride started.

After an early breakfast and preparation, we got underway at 7:31 a.m.

From Left to right: Keith, George, Pete, Andrew, Mike, Vaughn, Sadiki, Perneal.

Here we go!!!

During our trek, we had more than a dozen missed turns. Including the first turn out of the parking lot … HA! Pete is good at route finding (well sort of), but he can’t follow his GPS to save his life!!

About 5 miles in, Andrew had a pretty nasty accident. He was our first casualty. Apparently, he was drafting Perneal and a car drove in front of them. When Perneal slammed his brakes on, Andrew did too, but he wrecked into Perneal’s bike and flipped over his handlebars. Andrew banged himself up pretty good, and also broke the frame of his bicycle in three places!

Here we are still warming up.

Then, about 15 miles in, my front tire blew out with a hiss. I immediately dubbed this ride, “the cursed ride.” George laughed.

I’m trying to figure out which way is up …

After getting that flat tube swapped for a fresh one, we got back underway. The next adventure happened when we found that Pete (who put together our bike route) had us riding on a sand road. I do not mean dirt or gravel … I mean sand! It was horrendous! We all tried to ride in the sand, and it was too loose and deep. Sadiki wrecked and looked silly as he fell over in the sand.

Our sandy trek.

Shortly into the ½ mile trek on sand, George pulled off and entered a field which was adjacent to the nasty road. We all followed him and prayed that no one would get a flat tire. The field was a rough ride, but considerably better than the sand.

This is the infamous George’s Field.

We finally finished on the sand road and found that there was an asphalt road parallel to our path. I yelled at Pete and he brought me back to reality … Our conversation went something like this:

I peered at Pete angrily and spat out, “Don’t you think we should have driven this route and planned it a little bit better.”

Pete smiled and said, “Let me ask you something … On September 11th, 2001, do you think that the firemen had a set plan when they ran into the twin towers?”

I gulped .. My eyes welled up … Pete was right. He was stating the obvious … And, he was saying something that I would normally say. I kicked myself inwardly for letting a tiny challenge frustrate me. I chuckled and agreed whole-heartedly. Once again, Pete opened my eyes to life. Thank you, Pete!

Along the ride, we passed a couple of dogs … One was a Pit Bull type doggie and another was a Burmese Mountain dog. Both of them tried to eat us. The Burmese almost got Mike and the Pit almost got me

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. That was fun! George taught me a neat trick for dog attacks. You can use your water bottle and squirt a blast at an attacking dog and thwart it.

At some point, Mike had one of his clipless pedal cleats pop off. Fortunately Keith had an extra screw with him. Mike loaded his bike onto our SAG (Support and Gear) wagon; which Barbara, Suzanne, and Kristine were so kind to provide. Basically, a SAG wagon carries water, food, and repair gear. They drive around near the racers and provide support as needed. It turns out that they were a God send for Andrew after his wreck! And, it was great having water and food stops every 25 miles.

We continued on, and Mike decided to do his repair in the SAG and then join us a few miles ahead.

Somewhere along the way, Sadiki and Perneal both started getting leg pains and hamstring cramps. They both slowed their pace, but they miraculously rode through their pains.

At one of our rest stops, I am happy about something … Who knows what’s wrong with me??!!

Our group started splitting up a bit as the stronger riders (George, Pete, Keith, and me) rode faster than Mike, Sadiki, and Perneal. We all stayed together for a while, and Mike stayed with us for a while … But, George was pushing us, and we slowly pulled away from the worn out riders.

After the 80 mile mark, George and Keith pulled ahead of me and Pete. Pete and I agreed to roll across the finish line at the exact same moment.

We rolled across the Maryland border (and our finish line) right around 6 hours after our start.

God bless the Maryland state line, and our finish line!!!

After our ride, I switch into my swim trunks and ran into the ocean for a cooldown dip!

Worn out, and happy to be done, I swam for a few minutes with Trinity.

We finished up with a fantastic dinner at the Cottage Café in South Bethany.

I should mention that I did a bunch of facebook updates, photo taking, and phone calls while riding. I am a trained professional, and do not recommend that mere mortals attempt this.

I hope you enjoyed … I sure did!!!


Posted by Vaughn Ripley

Comments (1) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Love it! I’ve completed more than a dozen centuries and plan to do a whole lot more. Maybe one day, we’ll do one together! I used to live just a few miles from Ocean City MD, back when there was only 1 hotel there!! (late 60s, early 70s)

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