June 2013. I’ve had the idea of doing this for years… just didn’t think I’d end up doing it solo. It was a surprising amount of fun.
Summary: The ride was a blast. I’ve never spent so much time on the bike in one shot but experienced some gorgeous scenery, discovered some gorgeous roads, and proved to myself that “200” is just another number.
I woke up around 4:30 am to get out the door early and since I couldn’t sleep, anyway. I stuffed my jersey full of a dozen Clif Bloks (Margarita flavor, please) and Nuun electrolyte tablets (Which I discovered and fell in love with this year). I also brought a small, portable charger since the Garmin 800 only lasts about 100 miles when doing turn-by-turn directions. I headed out the door and was on my way through beautiful, warm spring weather . I have the Garmin set to auto-lap every five miles, so instead of watching the clock tick up to 200, I just displayed the laps. Mentally it seems less daunting to just do “40 laps” instead of 200 miles.
Out of the gate I worked to fight the excitement and keep the pace slow (<16 mph), knowing I had a long day ahead. I consciously ate a pack of Clif Bloks every hour and tried to drink a large water bottle every 45 minutes. I ended up buying and carrying a 3rd water bottle in my jersey to avoid stopping and and give me extra coverage between some of the long stretches of road.
The roads were awesome, the weather gorgeous, the bike ran flawlessly… all perfect. I didn’t chat with people too much but they always got a laugh when I told them where I had started my ride. I rolled into my parents house around 7pm – 14 hours later, 12 of which were moving. Some of my more memorable moments include…
- Some of the gorgeous roads in northern MA
- Crossing into NH
- Hitting Exeter, NH – the first area I recognized.
- Crossing into ME
- Dodging broken glass and trash in Old Orchard Beach, ME.
- Google taking me down a very sketchy, pot-holed, dueling-banjos dirt road.
- Hitting the first roads I recognized in Portland, ME.
- Catching and passing some Bowdoin cyclists… after 160 miles. 🙂
- Hitting the home stretch in Newcastle into Damariscotta
- Thinking “I’ll be content without the last 2.8 miles” around mile 195.
- Being done.
Lessons for next time (yes, I’d definitely do it again!): Bring protein (a dozen Clif Bloks was too much sugar), bring a small bike cable lock, take more pictures, do some more research on roads (avoid unmaintained dirt roads), avoid Business Rt. 1 in Maine (it’s loud)… and bring a buddy!