This year the plan is to go for R-12 award . My cycling year started in September 2013. I completed my second physical therapy. Then for few months I was doing plenty of stretching and riding 10 to 15 miles few times a week. I was going to take my time this year and not make the mistake from 2011. On Saturday January 18th I did Crista Borras permanent “X Marks the Spot”, from Olney , MD to New Freedom, PA and back. Easily the most epic 200km I ever did. I got my gear ready and drove to Panera Bread in Olney,MD.
I did not leave on time, so next time I need to make sure I do. As expected, the temperatures were going to be very low, and sure enough my worst fears become a reality. There was this feeling of headwind most of the time going north towards PA. At almost 20 mph, and temperatures dropping to 18 ,it definitely felt cold. Fresh snow was covering the ground everywhere as I was approaching Pennsylvania . It was so beautiful , but painfully cold at the same time. My water bottles froze in no time. Luckily I use 100 oz hydration pack . My core temperature kept the water in liquid form. I forgot about the old trick – having few drops alcohol in each bottle to keep it from freezing. Earlier that morning the plan was to leave at 6:30am, but I actually left at 7:15am. It took longer than expected to make my way to New Freedom. On the way back was way easier. I did not had to worry about navigation and cue sheets. The route follows the same direction back to Olney, and my GPS have a backtrack that saved my day. It was definitely a challenging 200 brevet. Also very beautiful passing a lot of farms and beautiful scenery .
The last 2 hours was night riding, and it appeared like I need a better light as well. The old trauma from few years ago , that kept me off cycling also came back to life . I carry now ibuprofen with me and it worked like a charm to get me through. Left knee was in pain on the outside for the last 40 miles. One thing I learned is that clothing & equipment is critical in harsh weather. I got 2 pairs of gloves: leather and wool with warmers in- between, 2 pairs of socks and warmers inside, shoe warmers on my feet, face-mask, wool hat and helmet cover on my head and about 7 layers on my body … Yes , i did said seven !
I lost my mom on this day and coincidentally Saturday she was going to turn 58. This ride was also in her memory. Another reason to push the pedals thru tough conditions. Not many photos – taking my gloves on and off in the cold was no fun. Here are the few