MS Ride: Breakaway to the Beach Preview

Now that Bridge to Bridge is behind me, so goes the climbing. From here on out the big mountain rides are mostly finished. The riding challenges will certainly continue, but from now on they will be flat and lengthy.

That brings me to the MS Ride: Breakaway to the Beach. On Saturday I will ride 100 miles from Camden to Florence, SC. After a lot of grub, a little beer, and hopefully a good night’s sleep, I will then travel another 100 miles from Florence to Sunset Beach, NC, not too far from Myrtle Beach, SC. From there I will pack up my bike and take a bus back to Columbia, and drag my tired behind into work Monday morning.

It sounds exhausting even thinking about, but it really should be rather easy. I’m thinking of it as more of an adventure than a challenge. Don’t get me wrong – I am going to burn a ton of calories. But this is not going to be a ride where I push myself.

The focus on Saturday is going to be about the group ride, something I haven’t talked about enough on this blog. We have a paceline group of approximately 8 riders, all of whom have similar ability and are riding the century. Our goal is an 18 mph pace for the entire ride, which should not be a problem. There will be a handful of hills coming out of Camden and the rest of the way will be flat. We will probably end up closer to a 19 mph pace, maybe even higher, without pushing ourselves too much.

We have arranged to rotate riders around so that everyone is doing equal amount of work, and can subsequently conserve energy. The person on the front doing the ‘pulling’ will remain there a minute or two before rotating to the back. Everyone knows their roles and will communicate about cars, road hazards, or anything else that needs to be known.

The focus here is on the group working as a unit. We ride as a team, which means we will stay together no matter what. If someone has mechanical problems, we will all stop. If someone cannot keep up the pace, we will all slow down. And so on. The idea is to get there quickly in a safe and efficient manner.

In a way, this will be a training ride for my upcoming ride with the Spartanburg Freewheelers from Spartanburg to Charleston in one day. That will be an unfathomable 250 miles. Yes, in one day. Crazy, I know. A big focus on that ride will be working together as a group. Since I have been pushing myself with training for the past few months, it is something I have not focused on enough.

The double century miles will also help. This will be my third double of the year. The first was organized by some friends out of Santee in February. It was a 200k Saturday and a century on Sunday. Needless to say, it was tough given the early time of year and my inexperience as a cyclist. I have come a long way since. The other one was the Lake Hartwell Challenge of the Centuries. I had the proper training for that ride, but had some mishaps. I got lost on the first day and then had mechanical and heat issues on the second day. I finished without issue, but was more exhausted than I should have been.

The best thing is that my diet is over. Woohoo! Without the climbing, I don’t have to lighten the load to get myself up the mountains. I’m at a fine weight and a couple extra pounds wouldn’t kill me. So I am going to eat what I want within reason. And I won’t skimp with the carbs on ride weekend. Already this week I have eaten a lot of ice cream and cheese and crackers. Not at the same time. That would be disgusting.


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