11 July 2010

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...or Madison-Decatur Adventure Run & Bike. After Richard and I scouted out this course about two months ago by running from Madison to Decatur and arranging a pickup in Decatur, we upped the ante today. This time around, Mike was also able to join us and we decided to stash our mountain bikes in Decatur last night, so we could turn the previous point to point run into an out & back run & bike adventure. Since Richard twisted his ankle during one of our training runs on Monte Sano Mountain a week ago, he opted to ride the entire trip on his bike, like our own "mini crew" on a bike. We also figured this would be a great opportunity to try out our different backpack setups for the upcoming Laurel Valley White Water Run (>=<35 Miles, no one knows for sure). As it turned out, everyone's setup worked fine with no chafing or other problems, even though Richard and Mike were convinced that my pack was basically sliding 2 feet from left to right. I still disagree and I had no chafing or other issues either;-) Anyway, Ricahrd left his house in Huntsville on his bike at about 2AM this morning to meet us in Madion after I drove my car from Huntsville and picked up Mike at his house in Madison. We left the old Kmart parking lot in Madison at 3:45AM and made our way towards Mooresville along I565 on an old country road. Once we passed through Mooresville, we got onto a dirt road leading us into the nature preserve and along the Tennessee river towards Decatur. The weather was absolutely perfect for our run. While the humidity was high as usual, the temps were very much tolerable and the sun stayed just behind the morning clouds and didn't burn through them until we made our way back from Decatur on our mountain bikes.

The picture above shows the sunrise as we entered the nature preserve this morning around 6AM. We kept a very easy pace, making it a very enjoyable run and allowing us to fully take in the beautiful scenery along the river. 15 miles into the run, we ran underneath the I65 overpasss and Richard took the picture below. Human engineering is amazing.

After about 20 miles and roughly four hours, we arrived at the Marina just outside Decatur, where Mike and I had stashed our bikes the night before. Luckily, they were still there. At this point, Richard had already biked for 35 miles. It can't have been easy for him to keep such a slow pace on his bike riding alongside Mike and myself for 4 hours, but he was a very good sport about it. Once we got on our bikes, we crossed the bridge into Decatur and to the nearest Waffle House, which would serve as our own little halfway aid station. Having gone through about 1.5 liters of water and about the same amount of G2 along with some sport beans, it was time to refuel and reward ourselves at the same time. I started with a large glass of Coke followed by another...and another. I know it's not a sports drink, but it just felt and tasted soooo good. Next followed a large breakfast along with some extra items. This is what our aid station served me: a big three egg ham and cheese omlette along with hash browns, 2 sausage paddies, two slices of toast, an extra waffle and a big cup of coffee, along with the before mentioned cokes. It was heavenly. After a short hour, it was time to put our helmets back on, swing our butts on the bikes and head back home. For our return leg, Ricahrd had scouted out a different section within the nature preserve on Google Maps called "the Eagles Nest Way" or something like that. It was perfect, with long shaded sections along vast corn fields. It ended up shaving about 2 miles off our course, but it added a new trail section to our trip. When we arrived at my car in Madison, Mike and I had completed almost 40 miles running and mountain biking and Richard must have had somewhere between 55-60 miles on his bike. Everyone's behinds were hurting, but it was a great training run and bike. Needless to say, this has become a favorite among our little ultra running group. If you ever are in this area, I strongly recommend you give this run a try. Just check out my Garmin Connect RSS feed on this blog or click here for details.

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