Friday, May 1: Ok, made it to my cousin Sue’s home in Frederick MD. Tomorrow we’re headed to the Deleware coast where I want to begin the trip around mid day. Not even posting dates for the DE portion of the trip because none of it is on any kind of established gravel road or trail - it’s all old RR ballast, soggy canoe portages and hike-a-bike bushwhacks…through the whole state! So I’m going this on my own. I hope to do it in about a day and a half. It’s going to be a BE-Och for sure. No sense in dragging anyone else in on this freaking “poop fest”. It’s my creation so I’ll suffer the consequences myself.  Not much on blogging this eve as I just want to get the show going. First real blog is tomorrow eve. Until then……….I’m out 

Saturday, May, 1: couldn't sleep very well last night, had to be about 1 million things going on in my head, thinking about not only the beginning of the trip today, but also of the days and days and days and and days ahead - especially the other hard portions that I know are up-and-coming during these first several days. So I got up early roundabout 4 o'clock in the morning, sent my cients workouts and then began working on setting up my handheld GPS and getting the necessary information ready so that I could start the day knowing exactly what I had to do.

Our drive from Frederick to Delaware was eventful in that the print out of the driving directions had somehow omited about 70 miles worth of road changes so we were frantically trying to stay on course amidst driving at 65mph on the freeway and searching through atlases. But we did it. Finally got to Lewes, DE at around 12:30, and I got on the road by 1:30. I just knew that this first day was going to be a nasty - and it was. 

Did the tire dip in the Atlantic Ocean while Judy took a few shots, then pushed the 29er through ankle deep beach sand and finally got onto about a 1 mile section berm out of Lewes and onto this old RR grade. Have to say this new duel suspension 29er was just amazing as I had to ride most of this seldom used RR right down the middle darn near most of the 19 miles. Now don’t get me wrong, parts of this were a total beat-down what with all the bumping and jostling on my upper body. But those big 2.4 tires just rolled over everything. 

With my late start I was right in the thick of the 70-80 degree sunny temps - which after our cooler than normal spring felt like an inferno after a couple hrs. I had told Judy, and detailed it in our 100-page cue book on directions and support stops, that this section would take me at least 2 hrs. Well…it was way worse it took me just over 3 hrs, 3:15 to be exact….at a whopping 6mph! Ouch. I was in the middle cookie the whole time just spinning a doable pace that wasn’t going to cook me. By the time I hit our first support stop I was parched, sore, and salt encrusted.

Judy had an ice cold Pepsi waiting for me in the van. Now today was a kind of “Gimme” day, in that I really hadn’t included it in the ride itinerary, rather I had it down as a travel day. So any progress today was a bonus. And as I sat there crushing that Pepsi I seriously though about calling it a day. I mean I was just smoked. BUT…I have to catch a sail boat across the Chesapeak with Captain Shawn of the South River Boat Rentals, and I absolutely HAVE to give him an exact day that I’ll be in Cambridge, MD for the sail. No rough estimates here. Now this sail across the bay is an 8-12 hr trip, AND he will be coming from the other side to pick me up, again an 8-12 hr sail to come and get me. SO….I have to be dead on exact on my timing to meet up with him. We had left it with me deciding that I’d try to make a little progress on Saturday, see where I ended up, and then call him with an exact date as to when to pick me up - either on Monday or on Tuesday. 

I really wanted to make a Monday sail since it’s an all day event and it would keep me on my planned schedule, but sitting there in the van feeling like I’d just gotten run over by a truck, that thought was fading fast in the hot afternoon sun. But I decided I’d do the next section and then make my final decision. And next section wasn't bike hike section where I would have to put my collapsible biking pack on and hike along this long ditch. This ditch was more of a small stream then it was an irrigation ditch and it was State Forest land on both sides. So I shoulder the pack which weighs about 27 to 30 pounds and headed out into the forest wearing my cycling shorts and a pair of hiking shoes. It felt more like a triathlon transition that it did an actual adventure. As I was putting the pack on I slammed my elbow into the van door creating a pretty big knot on the elbow. That was a wonderful way to start my hike!  Once I got going I forgot about the knot on my elbow and got into a good pace hiking. Now a lot of this area out here is farmland, and I was hiking along corn fields and Forest. I have to admit it was a nice change from getting jostled riding down the middle of railroad tracks.

The pack felt good on my back, Thanks very much Steve Thomas for that one, and I actually got it going pretty well. I figured that I was hiking at about a 3 mi./h pace and, that the distance was approximately 2 miles. But after 40 minutes of hiking I realized that I had probably under estimated the distance. This section took me just under an hour. Met Judy a little country road and loaded the bike bag in the van they called it a day. My total time between biking and hiking was just over four hours.

I was pretty bloody tired I have to admit. And my thoughts of hiking another 2 to 3 mile portion that day evaporated into the hot afternoon sun. Hell, it was already 6 PM. I was done. Exclamation point. So it was during that hike along this big long ditch through the woods, knocking ticks off my legs, that I figured I’d better error on the side of mellow rather than trying to bust out a killer 12-hr day on Sunday to make a Monday sail. Yup, I decided to break the upcoming DE/MD section to Cambridge into two days - Sunday & Monday and make the sail date for Tuesday. 

We got a cheap hotel room just outside of Seaford Delaware and then Judy did a thorough tick check on my upper body to make sure I had no more critters crawling around on me. Then I stood in the bathtub buck naked swiping my hands over my arms and legs and neck to totally make sure I had no ticks attached. Called Nancy of South River Boat rentals and left a message asking her to schedule my sail for Tuesday may 5. We devoured a large pizza at Pizza Hut that watched the Game 7 of the Spurs and Clippers and it was bedie bye. We were both dead tired. Until tomorrow.