Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

50 Peaks, State 1: Delaware

Last Tuesday, I received an email from Brent:
“I have a plan.  It involves a long bike ride, probably 70-80 miles, though it could be longer.  It will be on roads, probably hilly.  I’m not going to say anymore.  Want to go?”
75 miles of hills?
On my mountain bike?
After a planned 18-20 mile run Saturday?
“Sure,” I responded.  “Let’s do it.”
Saturday came and went with no long run to speak of, and when we awoke Sunday morning, Brent said, “Ready for a 57.8-mile morning?”
“57.8?  What happened to 70-80?”
“That was just an estimate.  Google maps is telling me that our destination is 28.9 miles away.”
“Less than 60 miles?  Piece of cake.”
“Yep.  A leisurely morning ride with your ever-loving husband.  We’ll be back in plenty of time to watch the Vick-McNabb showdown.  What more could you ask for?”
“Where are we going?”
“I’m not telling,” he taunted.
Following a brief delay to repair a blown-out sidewall on my rear tire – a parting gift from last weekend’s race – we set off around 9:00, heading west out of the city and along the famed Main Line, renowned for its old money and older mansions.  
“Are we going to Bryn Mawr?” I asked, referring to my alma mater (which is definitely not 28.9 mile away, but with the winding route Brent had chosen, anything was possible).
“I’m not telling,” he replied.  
Well aware of the fact that I (a) like to be in-the-know, and (b) am a slave to my bike computer, Brent offered me step-by-step directions.
“We’ll be on this road for 1.4 miles, and then we’ll make a right on Haverford Avenue.”
“We’ll take this .6 miles, then have a short jog before continuing for 1.2 more, so 1.8 in total.” 
“We’ll make a left here, and then take the next road for 2.4 miles.  This is step #34 out of 41, according to google.”
I got the feeling that he may have been humoring me.
The ride was gentle to start, but the further south and west we traveled, the bigger the climbs grew.  Or rather, the longer and steeper the descents became – and we quickly realized that the ride home would be brutal.
We kept hitting familiar landmarks – The Head Nut, Ridley Creek State Park, Tyler Arboretum – but I still couldn’t quite figure out where we were heading.
“Are we going to an apple orchard?”
“I’m not telling.”
“Are we going to the trail outfitter?”
“I’m not telling.”
“If I guess it, you have to tell me.”
“So are we going to the trail outfitter?”
“I’m not telling.”
The singsong-y taunts were beginning to wear thin.
Finally, 20 miles from home, it began to click.
“Are we going to Delaware?”
“Yes we are.”
“Why are we going to Delaware?”
“I’m not telling.”
A few miles later: “We’d better not be going to Delaware just to say that we’ve biked to another state.  That would be really anti-climactic.”
“But wouldn’t it be exciting to bike to a new state?  We’ve never done that before – except in a race.”
“Well, I guess…”
“We’re not just biking to the state line.”
At Mile 25, it hit me.  We were biking to Ebright Azimuth.
Last week, inspired by a recent New York Times article about the highest peaks in New England, Brent and I decided that we would climb the highest peak in each of the 50 states. 
Ranging from Florida’s Britton Hill (345 feet) to Alaska’s Mount McKinley (20,320 feet), we’ll be traveling the country with our trail shoes and crampons, hiking our way into the Highpointers 50 Peaks Club (because, as Brent said, we don’t have enough goals in our life).
Delaware’s Ebright Azimuth is the second lowest peak in the U.S., located just over the border from Pennsylvania along a busy suburban street.  (In reality, the highest point in Delaware is located just behind the marked site, in a private trailer park – but the entrance to the park is highly guarded, so the National Geodetic Survey elected to place the point on the nearest public land.)
At 447.85 feet, it was little more than a speed bump, but the 57.8 trip to get there, not to mention the 4,915 feet of elevation we traversed along the way, likely made it one of the more challenging peaks that we’ll experience in our latest adventure.
When we pulled up, we paused to document the climb, and then turned around for home.

Yes, that loud squeak is my back brakes… time to get them checked out.
Peak Number One!
The monster climbs and whipping winds dampened our spirits a bit on the ride home, but we made up for it with stops at an old Quaker cemetery and a local farmstand that we’d spotted on the trip out.  And sure enough, even with the stops and the flat I got after a nail pierced my rear tire, we made it back in time for the Eagles-Redskins coin toss.

Go… Vick?
It was “Rib Weekend” at the farmstand, and Brent happily partook.

A Jonagold apple – a little more my style… I also ate my weight in candy corn following a brief pit stop at the Head Nut.
Ebright Azimuth – in the books!

6 responses to “50 Peaks, State 1: Delaware

  1. Denise October 5, 2010 at 8:37 am

    love the idea! sounds like a great way to spend your sunday!!

  2. The Happy Runner October 6, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    That's awesome! I kinda love that he kept the ride secretive.

  3. Laurie October 10, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Sorry to sound like a stalker, but I linked to your blog after a few clicks from the GOALS blog. I think you guys live about 6 inches away and my husband and I are basically always looking for people to train with. The Mr. sucked me into the bike/run/AR world many years ago but most of our friends, while great, generally hate the great outdoors/having a heart rate above 70/sweating/Gatorade. I am trying to find peeps to MTB/road bike/run/trail run/not be a lump with especially as it gets freezing out/dark out early/to be hibernation season. Please feel free to contact me (lauriestewart77(at)yahoo) if you ever want to train. I am primarily working toward an early November marathon right now but am up for bike time too.

  4. Pingback: Of Mistletoe Visions and Poinsettia Dreams « Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

  5. Pingback: Guest Post! 50 Peaks, State 2: Florida « Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

  6. Pingback: Fifty Peaks, State Eleven: Kentucky « Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

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