Thursday, August 27, 2009

Covered Bridges

A couple of Sunday's ago was the Lancaster, PA Covered Bridge Bike Ride, a 100k (62 mile) event. This was a late addition to the calendar for 2009. I had planned to ride the St. Michael's Century in September, but they nicely scheduled the ride for Rosh Hashana. Time for plan B.

One of my Team in Training group mentioned this ride about a week before, so I put the word out to my Sunday riding group. Barry, his wife Lisa and another friend, Dan, were already planning to ride and they had room for one more. I was in!

We hit the road early and, after heavy traffic into the event, we were on our way by 9 am.

It's pretty easy to change terrain within an hour or two from home. In 90 minutes, we could be riding on flat-as-a-pancake eastern shore roads. Based on a conversation I had with another friend, I thought this was going to be pretty flat.

Wrong! The hills were different than the local roads -- less steep, but longer climbs.

Though I was concerned about keeping up with the group, I felt great getting out there and alternated throughout the day with each of my three rider friends.

The course was very crowded with a record 4,000 riders for the three distances. At times, the most difficult part was dealing with some of the novice riders who didn't understand what "on your left!" meant. (Not kidding -- a couple actually were heard saying "why do they keep saying 'on your left'". Oy!)

The weather was just about perfect. Well, rain would been worse. The forecasted low 80's was only off by ten degrees. It got pretty brutal out there toward the end of the ride.

So enough of the whining. The ride was a blast. The roads were crowded with Amish wagons as well. Of course, the Amish vehicles are horse powered. Good news was we all managed to miss the horse poop covering the roads. (I can only imagine hitting one of the poop patches and, if you manage to stay upright, you'd be riding with the poop smell for the rest of the ride.) The scenery was fantastic. Six covered bridges. Lots of farmland. Even Floyd Landis' parents house.

Almost home -- fifth of six covered bridges: (l to r) Dan, Barry, Lisa and me.

As we finished the ride at nearly 3pm (the time I had said that I'd be home -- I mean MY home), we were pooped from the long hot day. We averaged better than 15 mph for the 63+ mile ride, which turned out to be about 80% as hilly as our home roads.

On our way home, we hit the Plain and Fancy Restaurant, one of Barry and Lisa's favorites. This was a meal that took me back to days of old: fried chicken, sausage, roast beef, pot pie, mashed potatoes, iced raisin bread, apple pie. Oh yeah, they did have green beans. . . drowned in butter! What a meal! I figure the day was about a push in the calorie department.

All in all, a great experience. The Lancaster Bike Club did a great job putting the event on. Riding with Barry, Lisa and Dan was great. I'll be sure to sign up early next year!



Pat said...

Sounds like a fun ride. This might be the winter I buy a bike.

Daiquiri princess said...

Sounds like you had a great time

Kim Ellis said...

Hey Jeff - Just getting caught up on reading blogs and came across this post. Sounds like a blast and just my kind of ride! Maybe I should go next year - a friend of mine lives close to Lancaster.