About 2 miles from my house in Pennsylvania is a crushed stone trail that runs 40 miles into Maryland. The trail is extremely well-maintained and as flat as can be. It is my favorite place to both bike and run and where I spend the majority of my time training when I am home.
Since I have been liking biking so much I set some goals for myself over the summer to build up my cycling endurance. One of my goals was to bike to Maryland and back, a forty mile ride total. Inspired by my boyfriend's upcoming century ride, I embarked on my own cycling journey.
Friday morning I packed a bottle filled with a mix Hammer Perpetuem and water, and a Honey Stinger Waffle and a gel and hit the trails. I decided to break the ride up into 10 mile sections to make it easier mentally for me.
The first ten miles were great. I felt energized and excited but made sure to hold back so I didn't burn out too soon. I made sure to drink every 5 miles during the ride and got extra water at miles 10 and 32.
Miles 11-21 were tough. The trail is very flat but still has the slightest incline over these ten miles. It is hard to notice any incline but my legs sure were feeling something by mile 18-19. This part of the ride also had a lot of busy intersections to cross. I am still getting used to having clip-ins so I ended up falling twice.
Along the trail there are mile markers telling you how far away you are from Maryland. After seeing mile marker 1 I was expecting some kind of sign telling me that I had made it to Maryland. No such luck though. I ended up riding one mile into Maryland. Oh well.
I was so happy to have arrived in Maryland that I had no desire to bike the twenty miles back home. I took my Honey Stinger Waffle, stretched for a bit, and told myself that I could either bike home or sleep on the trail.
Again, the next ten miles were not my favorite. At about mile 24 I had a pretty bad fall that left a nasty bruise on the side of my leg. At this point I wanted to quit more than anything but I had too much pride to call my mom to come pick me up.
By the time I made it to the water stop at mile 32 I was in a better mood. I knew I was almost done and would make it home alive. I filled up on water and biked the last ten miles hard.
This was a mentally tough ride for me but one that I am incredibly proud of. The longest I had biked before Friday was 20 miles so 42 miles was a huge PDR (personal distance record). I was tired, I was hot, I was sore but I am still so proud of myself for completing that ride.