This past Summer, myself and a few No Bullers decided to ride our bikes sixty-eight miles from Center City to Atlantic City. The ride was exactly what I thought it would be. It was hot, long and amazing. I enjoyed it so much that I convinced a lot of my clients and friends to sign up for it next year. So when I heard about the "Covered Bridges Ride" last week, I knew I wanted in. We signed up for the fifty-three mile ride and we were amped up.
We showed up ready to push ourselves and each other. We have been training really hard because of our Spartan Season so we couldn't wait to get going. We started off on a nice toe path along the Delaware River, but that quickly lead the 50+ mile riders off to the main streets of beautiful Bucks County. The first few miles were incredible, the houses we were passing were literally jaw droopingly nice. But Pennsylvania is know for its "rolling hills" and valleys, and we quickly felt what seemed to be all of them.
Now to give you some perspective, there are many styles of bikes, three to keep it simple. There are Mountain bikes with big heavy tires made for off roading, there are road bikes which are made for speed, and than there are hybrid bikes, these bikes are a combo of the two. We went and attempted this bike ride with hybrid bikes (which work well), but are not ideal for strictly road riding on the hills of PA. After ten miles and A LOT of elevation, we were quickly being smoked by anyone and everyone who was on a Road Bike, which was basically everyone but us. But with the type of training we do on a daily basis and iron wills, we rode hard until the end.
There were three rest stops that were full of snacks and different drink options. We literally could choose from grapes, oranges, apples, cookies, cakes, peanut butter and banana sandwiches and even baked potatoes that we dipped in olive oil and salt. These rest stops full of fuel were much needed, and allowed us to keep quite a good pace considering the types of bikes we were on. The course was marked extremely well and all the volunteers were really helpful and encouraging.
To fully understand how much rougher of a ride today was compared to the Tour De Shore (Philly to AC), todays ride was 54 miles and took us 4:20 Minutes (averaging 12.4 MPH). The AC ride was 68 miles and took us the same exact time (averaging over 16 MPH)! The reason: ELEVATION! The rolling hills really increase the intensity of a ride and the calories burned at the end of the race were apparent. We attacked our brown bag lunches that we paid for when we signed up for the race. You could choose from a Veggie Burger or a Chicken sandwich. The bag was also filled with pickles, coleslaw, chips and 3 Hersey kisses. Quite a great deal for a fun bike ride through Bucks County and a husky lunch with your friends for only $45!
Bike riding, hiking, Spartan races, weight lifting, running or swimming are all great things to do. To do many of these activities allows you to stay in shape year round and it will help fight off over-use injuries that so many of us get by doing the same stuff all year round. Switching things up and stepping out of your comfort zone is a must if you want to grow as an athlete and as a human. Speaking of stepping out of your comfort zones, we were (almost) the only 3 people there (out of 2,000) that DIDN'T have a fancy bike, tight bike shorts, and click in bike shoes. I was in a baggy tee, gym sneakers and a book bag. The looks we received all day were comical. But we don't care what people think, and either should you. We all have goals and wants and they need to be attacked and conquered by any means necessary....