Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Fleche is French for insane

If someone suggests that you ride 226 miles in just 24 hours, run, don't walk, to the nearest exit.

Months ago, a friend suggested we do this ride with a group of Washingtonians., who call themselves the Washington Randoniers. The ride is called a Fleche, which I think it means "arrow" in French. You leave at a specified time, and must complete 226 miles of biking within 24 hours. Along the way, you have to get people at pre-set check points to sign a card, indicating that you were there.

Beginning in the rain at 8:00 a.m. on Suturday, we left Dewey Beach. From there, it's about 100 miles North, toward the East, into a relentless headwind. Wind so storng that it seemed I could get off an walk faster.

Dinner was followed by crossing the C&D Canal. And then the hills started. Up to Oxford Pa then down, accross the Susquehanna. The moon rising over the river was amazing. More hills, then, well, more hills, until we got near Baltimore City.

Through the City. Even the crackheads weren't up at 3:00 a.m., when we cruised through. Those few haunted souls out wandering were so shocked by the sudden appearance of four cyclists that they didn't have time to react. Hope no drug dealers were puched into unconsciousness by addicts ranting about hallucinations involving bikes appearing out of nowhere.

We had to be at our last time stop, on Route 32 by 6:00 a..m We motored from Baltimore to a 7-11, where we got the attendant to sign our score cards, incidating we got there in time. To say that he had a puzzled look is an understatement. You no doubt see some strange folk at an all night convenience store, but four weary people on bicyles was probably a first for him.

We made it to the finish in College Park. Conveniently, right by Sampson's Diner. Great oatmeal.

230 miles of headwinds and hills. To quote the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Ozz, the next time I say I'm thinking about a 24 hour bike ride, "talk me out of it." JIM

1 comment:

Drew Roth said...

Jim just wants to be the only one at Burger Night besides me who's done a fleche.