Saturday, July 11, 2009

Yale Shoreline Ride

I can't believe it was a week ago today that I did the Yale Shoreline Ride! It was such a beautiful ride though, that I have to post about it. Sorry for such a delay, writing this blog in a timely fashion is nearly impossible with everything going on. And more apologies, this is will not be my best writing. I spent from 8:30pm - 1:30am at my SWIM Across the Sound fundraiser. I was the door girl, and had to convince semi/completely inebriated folks to hand over $10 for the cause. We raised a lot of money, although I don't think we hit our goal. I had a great night once I got into the groove of talking to people. Unfortunately it was under 60 degrees outside, and for a cold-wimp like me that's freezing.

BTW it's not too late to donate to my SWIM Across the Sound page!

Yale Shoreline Map:

This was the first time I uploaded a map to my Garmin. It came in handy when I went off course and it started beeping at me. Unfortunately it doesn't really tell you HOW to get back on the track. Luckily I had my new BlackBerry Storm with me, and I used the Google Maps app to find my way. I could have set my Garmin to have a "partner" and gave the "partner" a specific pace that I wanted to beat. Since this was my first time going over 40 miles, I decided no pace setting was necessary. As long as I was above 14mph average, I was okay with it.

I started out my day by powering up with this amazing breakfast. Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal, with Unsweetened Soy Milk, a fresh peach and blueberries. It was a fantastic blend of bright summery colors, crunchy filling goodness and sweet fruits. I'm a firm believer that color makes things taste better. This breakfast is about 350 calories. Perfect for a normal day, but I had 60 miles ahead of me. I also ate a Kashi Go Lean Crunchy bar as well. I love their Chocolate Caramel flavored bar, it satisfies my sweet tooth without being too fattening. 150 calories, with 3 grams of fat and 8 grams protein. 14g sugar is relatively okay compared to other "healthy" bars out there.

If you live in the New Haven area, I highly recommend this ride. I would say it's a moderate course, even though it's long. There are a lot of fun rolling hills, and only a few that were tough. Compared to the Bloomin' Metric ride, this was a flat course! Most of the course is spent on main roads, but they are in the country and most of it is on a bike route. The Yalies marked a lot of the turns which made things even easier for me. The traffic wasn't bad, except for a few areas, and that was only because it was the Fourth of July.

Going up to Durham, there are plenty of views of local farms and the small Connecticut "mountains". I was excited to find an immaculate Porta-Potty in Northford at a park that was right off of 17. When I opened the door and found it had toilet paper too (nice toilet paper, by the way, not dirty damp toilet paper) I gasped with glee. Near Durham center I ran into another biker, and I asked him how close I was to getting onto Durham Rd, which is the road that leads south. I don't want to sound rude, but I don't think he quite got where I was trying to go, and his directions seemed a bit off. Or maybe we both just misunderstood each other. Either way I was happy he was nice at least, and not a stuck up at all, which seems to happen to dudes when they're compressed by bright spandex.

The whole ride I nibbled on Kashi Honey Almond Flax bars. (Sorry I'm starting to sound like a Kashi commercial, I'm just on a huge Kashi kick right now!) I was never starving on my ride and I think it helped a lot with my energy level. I wanted to prevent getting overtired, and thus cranky. When the cranky kicks in, that's when my rides/workouts go horribly wrong and I end up lost, miserable and near tears. Around 1 or 2 I stopped in Madison at a little deli. I splurged and got an Eggplant Parm sandwich on whole wheat bread. The guy thought I was crazy for getting Eggplant Parm on wheat bread. I continually ask places to make Eggplant Parm on alternate forms of bread, just this Thursday I asked for one on a wheat wrap. I always get the same confused reaction, followed by a look that can only be described as, "whatever floats your boat". Oh. It floats my boat, sir.

The guy at the deli seemed a little annoyed by my request. I don't know, he didn't seem friendly. Then he complemented me on my tattoos, followed by the standard, "You're not from around here, are you?" Ha! I love when people ask me that! "Nope." I told him I was from New Haven, and he gave a reactive nod and a "Ah." "That's far, no?" he asked. (He was foreign, I'm assuming he doesn't get around CT too much.) "Um about another 30 miles or so I think." "How long have you gone?" "I'm at 24 miles now." Behind his eyes, his brain exploded a little. After that he was really nice to me and wished me luck on my ride.

As I continued along I realized I was in Guilford, CT. I passed by my new favorite place to eat outside of New Haven, the Shoreline Diner. But that's not the full name of the diner though, oh no. It's the Shoreline Diner & Vegetarian Enclave. Isn't that wonderful? It makes me laugh every time, it sounds like it's some secret vegetarian headquarters where we plot secret plans and maniacally laugh as we concoct new ways to turn soy beans into fake meats. M-W defines enclave as: an enclosed territory that is culturally distinct from the foreign territory that surrounds it. I can attest that most of CT outside of its more progressive cities can view my questions of "Is there meat in the sauce?" as culturally distinct. To have a nice place like this that "gets" veganism is exciting. I ate here once before, but it's a bit out of the way to visit on a regular basis. Next time I do this ride I'm definitely stopping there. They have a great, diverse menu, about a quarter of it is vegan.

Sigh, it's taking me forever to write this post, and I'm mostly rambling. I'll end with a couple pictures I took while on 146, the shoreline part of the ride.

I believe this area is known as Leetes Island. I saw many egrets, a crane, and soon after this picture was taken a painted turtle trying to cross the road:

Near Lighthouse Point. By this time I was nearing the end of my ride, my arms were killing me and I just wanted to float across the harbor to New Haven proper, where I belong.
End Results: 60mi, 4hrs 15 min, avg speed of 14.12. By the end I was so beat I think it dramatically cut down my speed. Oh well. It was a beautiful day, a beautiful ride, and I now have a sweet bike shorts tan that starts halfway down my thighs.