Bike to the Beach

I use to love to ride and race my bike.  Several years ago, however, I switched my bike for a kevlar canoe and graphite paddle.  I spent 14 years canoe and kayak racing around the United States and Canada.  I had a blast, met great people, and dragged my husband  into the sport.  Last year, we needed a change and decided to dust off our bikes.  Ken had long been bugging me to start riding again, and for whatever reason, last summer it finally “clicked”.  We rode quite a bit and I lamented the loss of quad strength and how much faster I USED to be.  However, as the summer went on, I felt stronger on the hills and my biker legs began to return.  We continued to race and train in our kayaks, and finished off the summer by racing “Iron” at the Josh Billings,  a fun bike/kayak/run triathlon.

Bitten by the “triathlon” bug (or rebitten, I should say), Ken and I set a goal of a half ironman distance race this June.  All winter we worked on our swimming and running.  In March, as the snow melted, we were anxious to get on our bikes.  I started commuting the 20 miles to work and we would ride as much as possible on weekends.  This past week we went on our first bike “touring adventure” : Part training, but mainly just for a lot of fun and to celebrate the end of another track coaching season, we planned a 3 day/2 night trip.  We mapped out a route from our house to the RI coast.  We found a delightful looking B & B, discussed how much stuff we REALLY needed for a couple of nights, and we packed up.  We mapped out scenic roads using both googlemaps and mapmyride, and we watched the weather forecast for 3 “perfect days”.   Our planning worked out great in nearly every respect.  On Thursday, we left home at 11am.  It was a little later than planned, but a small crisis at work kept me on the phone most of the morning.  I wanted to leave with “no worries” so it was worth it to resolve my work issues. 

Ken had decided to carry his belongings in a small backpack, I opted for a rack and small carrying case over my rear tire.  I’m not

sure which worked better.  I only had 7.5 lbs of gear, including the pack itself, and yet it felt like I was dragging a small child up every hill.  Ken didn’t mind the backpack, but his shoulders got tired as the miles went on.  We rode down through Lebanon, Baltic, Stonington and Westerly.  We extended our loop to ride through beautiful Watch Hill, past Misquamicut Beach, and to our overnight stop at Shelter Harbor Inn.  Shelter Harbor was very nice, with a clean room and a hot tub on the roof. 

The restaurant was a little too fancy, and we squirmed in our chairs as we tried to stretch and relax after 84 miles on the bike.  Our dinners were fantastic, but being an upscale restaurant, the focus was on presentation and flavor NOT on quantity.  My scallops were some of the best I’ve had, but I needed about 3 servings!  So, after dinner, we decided to hop back on our bikes and ride up to the nearest store (3 miles away) for some ice cream.  We brought back a pint of Ben and Jerrys which I would normally ration over a couple of weeks, took it up to the hot tub and polished it right off.  That and a pint of blueberrys…. I was set for the night.

Friday morning we decided that we would take our small packs and move to another Inn.  We rode down to Misquamicut and checked into Andrea’s hotel right on the water.  Andrea’s is an old, “family style” hotel with sloping stairwells, very thin walls, and an absolutely amazing view of the ocean.

Being off season, it was inexpensive and quiet.  Dinner was not nearly as gourmet, but equally delicious and much more plentiful.  Before we got to dinner, however, we had nearly 100 miles to ride!  Up the coast, past Matunuk beach, down to Point Judith and the fishing village of Galilee, and up the coast past Narraganset Beach.  We took a little side road and had an awesome view of Jamestown Island and “Beaver Tail” which mentally took us back to a previous paddling adventure (misadventure if you count swimming several times) in some mighty big waves!  We came back to Misquamicut just as my odometer clicked 87 miles.  I said to Ken, “we’re so close to 100” and he immediately took the challenge, saying, “Let’s ride to Watch Hill for ice cream”.  I didn’t care too much about the ice cream, but if he was humoring me on more miles, I could certainly humor him with regards to the ice cream!

Day 3 was another gorgeous day on the coast, although a tad cooler than the first two.  We went for an early walk along Misquamicut and I remembered my first triathlon there which was (gulp) 27 years ago.  How did I get so old?  On an old steel bike, with toe clips and sneakers, I managed 60 miles in less than 3 hours.  I’m not so sure I will ever see that again, but hopefully with expensive enough gear and lots of training, I can come close!  And regardless, it will be fun trying.  We decided to skip breakfast at the hotel as Ken “was sure” there’d be a place within 5 miles.  20 miles later, I was about to pass out from lack of food and forced down one of his standby, gag me, peanut bars.  That and a GU, I was good to go…. and of course, less than half a mile later, we passed a great looking diner.  Oh well, we kept riding and stopped at the Scotland General Store for a snack before the final push home.  It was a push, or maybe I needed a push, but the final bit was all up hill.  More so than usual for some reason…. must have been the 7.5 lb. pack.

All in all, an amazing weekend.  Time away with nothing to think about but turning the pedals, eating good food, hanging with my hubby, and relaxing.  I can’t wait to go again.

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1 Comment »

  1. What a nice story Kathy. I was so happy to be able to share your life. It sounded like such a nice trip. What a nice feeling of freedom to be able to leave home with so little. I look forward to the next adventure. Aloha, Hans

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