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Pedaling and Paddling, 2009 Style

Posted Jul 13 2009 11:38pm
When Pedal and Paddle 2009 was announced, I immediately added it to the calendar. This is one of the most unusual events I've ever heard of. Our local community, Columbia, MD, has 23 outdoor pools. The idea is to start at one pool, cycle from one to the next and swim a lap (out and back) at each. If there is a slide, we slide, too. It's not an event for the feint of heart -- the roads are all heavily traveled and the distances range from a mile to 5 miles between.

Deb asked a few weeks ago when I was going to do some training laps. Hmmm, how about not. I did laps last August. I'm pretty sure without any actual instruction that the laps wouldn't help much. I'll just suck it up and go.

The weather was about as perfect as it could be -- temps in the mid-80's and dry. I pulled into the Dasher Green pool lot and saw far more people that I had expected. Turns out there were about two dozen, double the best year ever, and far more than the five that rode last year. Ed made some announcements, gave out some swag from the charity that we were supporting -- The Ulman Cancer Fund -- and we were off just after 10 am.

It must have been quite a sight to see this paceline with so many riders in the middle of town. We ticked off the first group of pools pretty quickly, but a long red light split us up. Then the trip out to River Hill, the farthest ride between pools to and from, further segregated the group.

One of the leaders, Lou, had boasted last year that he wasn't ever last in the swim as he had been in the past. I took that title. Unfortunately for me, I had improved little over the year since. The onslaught of new riders this year were triathletes so I continued to fall behind in the pool.

As we crisscrossed Columbia, we'd all pass each other and there was definitely a sense that we were together, just not all together.

At number 14, an oasis appeared -- a 7-11. Our one and only refueling stop. At this point, the group rejoined and checked out the goods. There we were out in front of the 7-11 eating just about all the crap we could. I laughed to myself looking around -- hot dogs, candy bars, soda, pop tarts, you name it. Lou gave Jill a hard time for eating healthy trail mix. Personally, I went for the pop tarts. For the first time in at least three years, I downed a couple of my once favorite brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts. Ya know, they weren't nearly as good as I had remembered!

After the 7-11 break, we headed as a group to Dorsey Hall, my home pool. Deb and Matty were there awaiting our arrival, camera in hand. She had also prepared some goodies for me. Had to disappoint her -- sorry, love, I'm stuffed!

Me and Matt -- hurry, gotta go!

From Dorsey, we hit each of the remaining eight pools in workmanlike order. The group traveled together as a peleton, pulling into the last of 23 pools just after 4 pm. I was not last in the pool, but was last out, securing my second lanterne rouge title in as many years.

What a day! 1350 yards of swimming, 46.5 miles on the bike, 45 transitions, and a perfect day for it all. It was great to see and ride with some friends that I had never ridden with before: Scott, Stacey and Jill.

Thanks to Ed and Lou for pulling this all together! Can't wait till next year.

Group Photo at Dorsey Pool-- 17 riders still hanging strong

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