Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Wisdom Wednesday: Intracoastal Waterway Century
On October 25, 2015, my wife, Margie and I participated in the Spacecoast Freewheelers metric century bike ride. The ride began in the historic little village of Cocoa, wound north and east along the Indian River. The first rest stop was the American Police Hall of Fame Museum. After passing through the Kennedy Space Center, the course then turned south along the east side of the Indian River and Intracoastal Waterway. At southern most point, the route crosses the Indian River again, turning north back to Cocoa.
The weather was mixed with cloud cover to keep the heat down but the wind shifted as the ride progressed so we faced a head wind for the first 55 miles. Once we made the final turn to go north, the wind decided to stay southeast and give us a little push.
Neither of us had any experience in drafting as our annual trek from Miami to Key West strictly prohibits riding any closer than one bike length between riders. Triathlons also will disqualify riders for drafting.
However, after Margie and I each spent close to 40 miles without drafting, we were exhausted. Finally, a couple of retired firemen from Jacksonville offered to lead us in as they had been drafting us since the first rest stop.
Apparently, people who draft and never lead are called “leeches” and we had between 10 and 20 at all times. They ride in the draft that you create, saving up to a third of the energy the lead rider is expending.
These two riders continued their live saving careers as they allowed us to draft them until the wind shift 10 miles from the finish. We then wished them well and slowed our pace to enjoy the scenery through the residential streets of Rockledge.
Margie and I had not adequately prepared for this ride. Our training was sporadic at best with only two training rides in excess of 30 miles. However, these rides are not races and are designed to be fun.
For us, the fun is spending the time together while exercising. Biking allows you to converse and watch the scenery at a leisurely pace. Drafting takes away from the fun as you really have to pay attention to the rider in front of you. If you clip their rear wheel, you will fall and despite the helmet and gloves, the injuries can be severe. The rider behind you will also go down and potentially many others as well.
We had no injuries (I did get a shot of OJ in my eye, eating an orange wedge at the first rest stop). We learned how to draft and Margie really got over her fear of drafting. We made some fast friends reaffirming my belief that bike riders are good people. And we had a mini-vacation.
After the ride, we checked into a hotel on the beach for the night. I have to tell you that first micro brewed beer at the hotel bar tasted fantastic. We earned it! We actually went into the bar, as dirty and sweaty as we were, knowing that if we went to the room to clean-up first, a nap would take precedence over beer and appetizers.
The Bottom Line:
Make your exercise an adventure. If you can do it with your partner, it will strengthen the relationship.