Tag Archives: ride

MS City-to-Shore Ride 2014-Look Out for Them-There Squirrels!

The last time I had rode the MS City-to-Shore 150 ride was before back in the early 2000’s with my wife. It was a perfect 1st day down to the shore, but the ride back on Sunday was brutal. Torrential rain, 25MPH headwinds, and cold temperatures made for a miserable day. We have not been back since. This year a bunch of people from work had decided to form a group and do it, so I thought it would be a nice way to round out the season. I hate raising money, but $300 seemed to be a reasonable amount so I signed up.

I was a little worried I wouldn’t have enough fitness carried over from Timberman 70.3 to do 180 miles in 2 days. Denise and I would be returning from a week in Italy the weekend before and I wasn’t going to be doing much training over there. But, it was just a charity race so I wasn’t too concerned.

I reserved a room at the Fairfield Inn not too far from the PATCO Train Station start line in Cherry Hill, NJ so I wouldn’t have to get up so early on day 1. I was supposed to meet the others from our work group at a nearby school parking lot the morning of the first day. Unfortunately, we ran into the masses of cyclists starting out on the ride and could not get to the school. I ended up pulling my bike off the roof in the street and heading out from there.

It was well past the time we were supposed to meet at the school, so I decided to head to the starting line and maybe catch up with them there. What a mistake! Riding against the flow was crazy. I got close to start, but decided to turn around and start riding. By now the main crowd was gone and it was only a few scattered riders left. Once I got into my pace I eventually caught up with the main flow of riders but I never caught up or saw anyone in our group. At one point the century riders make a right and do an extra 25 mile loop which brings you back to where you left off and then you continue on. I was pushing pretty hard and even skipped some rest stops to try and catch up with two other guys from work, Chuck and Keith. They our the faster ones in the work group and who I sometimes ride with after work. I never did see them though.

Later on in the ride I caught up to one of my coworkers, Dianna and her husband. I asked if she had seen Chuck or Keith and she said they were behind me. Huh??! So apparently in my mad rush to catch them, I ended up passing them. Ugh! So at that point I said the heck with it and just pushed on. Might as well get a good workout in now.

I started cranking it and was passing people in droves. I would catch on to a pace group and then end up passing them. The one group I did that there were a couple guys in Merck jerseys. One guy came with me as I passed the group and we started talking a little while later. I had my work bike jersey on and he asked if I lived near there, which I replied yes. He said that he lived right around the corner and I asked if he knew this guy Steve who I was friends with on Strava, but never met in person. He was like “Brian?” It was him! No flippin’ way! How crazy that I run into him among 4000+ cyclists stretched out from Cherry Hill to Ocean City, NJ? So we ended up talking the remaining 20-25 miles to the finish and our pace declined a bit from there.

I left Steve at the finish and grabbed something to eat before meeting up with Denise who had driven down to Ocean City. We made our way to nights’ accommodations at Luray Manor a few blocks from the finish area. It wasn’t the fanciest place, but it was cheap and only a couple blocks away. They also have a nice big porch to hang out on.  I showered up, had a couple beers and then we headed to the boardwalk. I snagged a slice of pizza at some shop, and then we found Shrivers Gelateria. Oh it was really good. Best we have had here since Italy.


Luray Manor, Ocean City, NJ
Luray Manor, Ocean City, NJ

After some people watching on the boardwalk we hung out on the porch for a bit and then headed over to 701 Mosaic for dinner. It is a tiny place, but the food is really good. Denise had found the place on the web and had made a reservation beforehand.  Definitely worth a stop. We had a nice walk on the boardwalk after dinner and then headed back to Shrivers for some more gelato! Got to fuel up for another 80 miles tomorrow.


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Denise and I chilling on the porch after 1st day of City-to-Shore Ride at Luray Manor, Ocean City, NJ

I finally caught up with the work gang at the MS Ride breakfast the next morning. We all headed out together, but eventually split up as our different paces spread us out. They were going a bit slower than my normal pace, so I just kind of rode aside them to slow me down and give me a little more headwind. They eventually caught on and said why don’t I just lead, so I did. I was trying to maintain a pace everyone could handle, but some folks kept getting dropped. We waited for them at eat rest stop, but would drop them again. After a while they just go, so we did. It ended being Keith, Chuck, Bill and I. Bill eventually dropped off too, so it was just the three of us.

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Keith, Possum, and Chuck at the lunch rest stop on day 2 of City-to-Shore ride.

Chuck would start yelling at me everytime I would approach 22mph. Sometimes it was on a downhill and I would say I am coasting. It was pretty funny.  Chuck and Keith are pretty entertaining because they just banter back-and-forth all the time. They kept me entertained the whole way. After the last rest stop, we had just gotten up to cruising speed when out of nowhere came this crazy squirrel running from the left side of the road and directly at me. I just barely caught a glimpse of him out of my left eye before he latched on to my left foot. I was at about a 85 rpm cadence with a crazy squirrel on dug in to my foot. I was afraid he was going to bite me or even crawl up my leg. I quickly unclipped my foot from the pedal and with everything I had just flung the animal off my foot like I was slingin’ mud. The squirrel went splat on the road and ran around in a daze from what I could see. I am still going about 15 mph at this point. I heard Keith say “don’t fling him at me!” Everyone was swerving to avoid it. I don’t know what happened to that thing but we were laughing our asses off the whole  way back. I wish they had a GoPro for that.


Crazy Squirrel
Crazy Squirrel

I drug Chuck and Keith all 80 miles at around 18mph average speed to the finish line. It had got a little hot towards the end and I was started to feel the 180 miles on me. They let me cruise through finish line first. I felt pretty good considering I hadn’t trained for the thing. I was amazed how my fitness had held up for that.


Keith and Chuck got me this shirt for pulling them the whole way. Pretty funny!

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Squirrel T-Shirt



Round The Valley 2014 Century Ride Recap

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Round the Valley Century Ride 2014-Pastures

I decided I needed to see some new territory on my long bike ride this week. This along with Longswamp Township decided to cover their entire road system in oil & chips, confirmed that I needed to get out of dodge. I searched around the internet for some century rides and came up with the Round The Valley century out in Lebanon County. It was only an hour and twenty minutes west via a easy drive on I-78 and the registration was a mere $30 + $15 for day of registration. The ride was described as scenic and challenging on the website, and it certainly lived up to that.

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Round the Valley Century Ride 2014-Farm

The ride started at the Campbeltown Fire Station where i arrived around 7:30am. The parking lot was nowhere near full, which I was rather surprised. It was a pretty low key event. I went inside, registered and made a bathroom stop and headed on my way. They offered a vegetarian option for post-race food which I was happy to see. I also picked up some car window stickers displaying the 4 feet law for vehicles which I will gladly post in my back window.

I noticed on my drive it was quite windy, but it had seemed to subside a bit since arriving. The ride wound out through some beautiful farmlands and then ascending with a nice climb into some wooded mountainside. The roads were all well marked with an orange “V” with a circle around it with the pointy end of the V indicating the direction. The wind had picked up a bit but the ride was very well protected and it really did not cause that much issue.

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Round the Valley Century Ride 2014-Mt Gretna Straightaway

The ride had a great variety of scenery as well as terrain.  We went through some tiny old Furnace villages, gamelands, and forests. My favorite part was the long flat stretch through the Mt. Gretna area. It was mostly flat, well-shaded and nicely paved large shoulder. I was able to get down in the aerobars for the majority of the stretch just cruise.

I was really surprised at the size of the shoulder on most of the roads on this ride. I really didn’t think that PennDOT knew what a paved shoulder was, but apparently they do in this part of PA. The majority of the roads were in very good condition on the ride with only a few that were a little rough. I only remember hitting one that was recently oil and chipped, but they must have swept up the extra chips because it was pretty nice. Apparently Longswamp Township does not know what sweeping up chips is all about.

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Round the Valley Century Ride 2014-Cornwall Furnace Village

The rest stops had a good assortment of foods with water and Gatorade. Not quite the level of the Suburban Cyclists for the Nockamixon ride, but more than adequate. I actually skipped a couple of the stops all together since I brought my own race-day nutrition consisting of Amrita Bars, Skratch Labs and Chunks of Energy. There was also SAG vehicles monitoring the ride which was probably difficult since it was not very well attended by riders.

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Round the Valley Century Ride 2014-Farm

I was frequently riding alone but would occasionally pass people here and there. It was reassuring to see others every so often just to make sure I didn’t miss a turn. On one wide-shouldered section of Rt 322 I came up behind 2 guys and a girl with matching kit going at a pretty casual pace. Instead of moving single file and letting me pass, the guy put his arm around the girl and started pushing her faster. What the hell is that? Then the third guy on the left, who had been riding just a foot or so behind them sped up and put his around the other guy. WTF? Is this a love-in or a bike ride? So they still would not let me by and the traffic was steady enough I could not get out in the traffic lane. They eventually caught up to another pack with similar kit on that was going even slower, so with no vehicles I was finally able to get out and pass by them. I really don’t understand why they could not let me by them.

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Round the Valley Century Ride 2014-No Passing Love-In

I have to say this is probably one the best century rides I have ridden so far. The scenery and challenge of the course was extraordinary. I cannot believe this ride is not more well-known. If you have a chance to ride this course or do the actual ride next June I would highly recommend it.

Wedding and 2013 Lehigh Valley Half-Marathon Expo

A Wedding…

Friday morning was my normal long, slow 45 minutes swim. I was feeling pretty good and happy that my ear was feeling better, so I threw in an extra 250 meters for good measure. One of my wife’s cousins was getting married that evening, so I rushed home after work to get dressed and head over to Lake Nockamixon where the wedding was at.

The wedding was at the Lake House Inn on the far side of the lake(from Quakertown). The place was really beautiful and the reception “bubble” hall had all glass windows on the lake side, which was pretty spectacular as the sun went down. It was a gorgeous day too. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of it! It was a really nice affair and I think my favorite thing was my placecard. I guess I was the only “vegan” at the wedding. My wifes’ cousin said I threw them for a loop. I ended up getting a nice chuck of baked tofu and extra veggies and potatoes which was fine.


St. Luke’s Lehigh Valley Half Marathon Expo

On Saturday, we headed over to the LV Half Marathon Expo for our bib pickup. It was at the Holiday Inn in downtown Allentown which is always an adventure since we don’t get down there too often. My wife wanted to check out a seminar at 11am so we were trying to get there by then. The seminar we attended was the “Because I Can” seminar by Janet Oberholtzer. Janet had been in a serious accident several years ago and suffered serious injury to her legs and was told she could not walk again. Now she is running marathons. She ran in the D&L Marathon last November that I had run. I was actually wondering if she had a better time than I did…fortunately she didn’t. Whew! Pretty impressive and motivating story worth checking out.


After that we headed over to the expo and picked up our bibs and swag. Swag was pretty lame actually. Technical shirt was nice and in my favorite color green. Other than that we just got a re-usable shopping bag. One good thing was there was no advertisements either. I ended up find a 4-bottle FuelBelt for Ironman and some spare bottles for my run special needs bag. My wife spotted some running “skort” she had to have which is a combination of a skirt and shorts. It’s all about looking good I guess. To her credit she had bought some cheapo one at Target that was causing some chaffing issues. I bumped into some work friends that were running and Chris from the Emmaus Run Inn(formerly The Finish Line Running Store) and chatted a bit. We were going to hit the Allentown Brew Works for some lunch, but changed plans due to how late it was. Instead we opted for Wegman’s buffet. I still had a ~3 hour bike ride to do and it was past noon already.


Bike Ride – Category 3 on Sweetwood Drive

Next up was my long bike ride of the week. My coach put a 2:00 ride on my schedule but said if I felt up to it I could do 2:30-2:45. I felt the need to go one better and do a 3:00 ride instead. Running a half-marathon the next day is not going to keep me down. Not only did I do a long ride, but I finally hit the Category 3 climb on Sweetwood Drive out of Macungie that I had been eager to try for some time. The ride did not disappoint and it went on and on with varying degrees of gradient the whole 3.2 miles. Good warm-up for the legs. After that I pretty much kept it on the rollers the rest of the ride. There was a slight breeze that day but nothing that would make much of a difference really.

After my ride, I put on my compression socks, made some dinner and relaxed a bit for tomorrow’s half-marathon.

Alburtis-to-Green Lane 50 Mile Loop

After finally getting my bike back from Cycles BiKyle, I decided to take a nice, hilly ride and test out their work. The ride follows most of the Quad Country Metric ride by Suburban Cyclists and just under 4000 feet of climbing.  One of the things that I realized on this ride is that after riding my compact crankset on my old road bike for the last few weeks, I really need to change my tri bike over to a compact as well. I would assume that this crankset will come loose again since BiKyles’ repairs don’t seem to last very long. More to come on that in a subsequent post. Most of my riding is hilly and with Ironman Muskoka and Ironman Lake Placid coming up, they will be hilly as well.

The day was very nice weather wise although a little windy on the way home. Ride road conditions were pretty nice and the ride out of Bally to Seisholtzville was recently paved. Feeding wise I had a full Clif Bar at start, one Honey Stinger waffle at 1 hour, another Clif Bar at 2 hours, another HS at around 3 hours, and washed all that down with 2 full bottles of Cytomax(4 servings mix) and 2 bottles of H2O.


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