A SANS Ride: SANS Return, Sugar and Shade at the End

I work for a cybersecurity company called SANS. A few decades ago it stood for System Administration and Network Security but over time it just became SANS. I never thought of the “SANS:without” definition until I ran across a small company called SANS (no connection) offering samples of their new meal bars.

A tasty SANS meal bar

A sample of two was “free” – well, I had to pay $3 shipping, so they were $1.50 each. List price is $4/bar – not cheap. But, at 380 calories they are almost 3x the fuel of the fig bars I usually carry, so on a $/calorie basis not that bad. Plus, the more natural ingredients and the fact that the company donates meal bars to areas where starvation is rampant are good things.

My wife often drives from our house in Maryland US to visit her brother in Pennsylvania, about 75 miles north of us. A few times per year (usually during colder weather and when the sun rises later) I’ll tag along and she will drop me off about 2/3 of the way there, at a town in MD just south of the PA border called Emmitsburg. From there it is a 58 mile ride back to our house, mostly on fantastic roads with a few miles of gravel riding thrown in.

The first 25 miles or so are on great country roads, with almost no cars at all. There are a lot of small bridges and many “flood area” signs, but one of the “benefits” of the heat wave we have been in for 3 weeks is not much rain – no water traps or mud pits at the bottom of downhills reaching the bridge. The gravel stretches were in great shape.

For the first few hours, there was a nice overcast that kept temperatures in the 80s but not a breath of breeze. There is a convenience store at the 28 mile mark that I stop at, and their restroom was still open and equipped with an impressive array of hand cleaning technology. I ate the healthy SANS bar at that stop – pretty good!

As usual, I didn’t take any pictures on this ride but I was amused by a sign they had up and found it on the internet:

The first 4 or 5 miles from the rest stop is pure transportation, not a fun stretch – no shoulders, a high speed short cut for locals and weekend landscapers pulling trailers, etc. But, then it is back to some of the local mainstay cycling roads.

The elevation chart makes it look like it is all downhill from this point, but the terrain really just shifts into sharper rolling hills with a gradual loss of elevation – the pedaling up is slightly back end loaded on this ride, with the added bonus of the clouds going away and the sun’s unimpeded radiation bearing down full strength.

Doing this route in November or March, I normally just ride the last 30 miles non-stop, but at the 45 mile mark there is another rest stop opportunity. It was about noon, I had nearly re-emptied my two water bottles and I was feeling the heat. Stopped, refilled and just couldn’t resist two scoops of hand-dipped ice cream – totally blowing the “sans” aspect of the ride, and likely replacing every single calorie I had burned to that point – but it was damn good!

The downside of this route is that 5 miles from my house I have to go through one last stream valley and do the Havilland Mill hill stretch – a local favorite of the Strava King of the “Mountain” chasers. Two stretches of 8-12% grades that is kinda fun when I’m 5 miles into a ride, much less fun when at the 53 mile mark.

Reached our house at about 1:15pm, and the local temperature had just reached 91 degrees, about the same percentage humidity – I finished another water bottle in the final 13 miles. I’m glad my wife wasn’t home to see me come in – I was not a pretty sight…

Avid cyclist, sometimes touring cyclist. My main road bike is a Trek Domane SL6, my touring/unpaved riding bike is now a Jamis Renegade. I'm located in Maryland, about midway between Baltimore and Washington DC.

5 response to "A SANS Ride: SANS Return, Sugar and Shade at the End"

  1. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: July 30, 2020

    Mustn’t be easy finding 4 penguins around there

    • By: jpescatore Posted: July 31, 2020

      Even harder to get 4 of them to dance in a line…

  2. By: BobinVT Posted: July 30, 2020

    Sounds like a fun but hot ride. I’ve never liked the heat, but this year in particular I’ve been a total heat wimp. I’ve been getting my rides in early in the morning. Once the temp reaches the mid-80’s, I’m done. The SANS bars sound pretty interesting. I’ll have to give them a try.

    • By: jpescatore Posted: July 31, 2020

      While temperatures have certainly gone up over the years, here in the Washington DC area July and August have always been “ugh” months – usually just get out early for long rides or do shorter rides later in the day.

      But back in 2017 I decided to buy an indoor smart trainer and sign on to Zwift for winter cycling – it has made wimpier about doing short rides in the heat or rain. It is always October in the basement!

  3. By: Bill Stone Posted: July 31, 2020

    Not sans humidity. That’s what I remember about the metro DC area, and that’s what always knocks me over when I return for a visit in the summer. It’s kind of a joke to say “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” but there seems to be a lot of truth to it. I think I would have collapsed immediately in those conditions. Glad you made it home without transforming into a puddle of perspiration.

    PS: Don’t know if it’s true or not, but I’ve heard staff at the British embassy received “tropical duty” pay enhancements due to summer conditions in DC.

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