Tour de Shore

An effective way to maintain conditioning throughout the year is to pre-register for races. Once you register for a race, it is locked into your calendar and becomes a commitment to train. Spread endurance events periodically throughout the year and it evolves into a self-perpetuating cycle of conditioning, competing and motivation.

After the Double Trouble 15K trail run in July, I was intent to keep a streak of endurance events alive. My son came up with the perfect alternative to pounding my knees for a second consecutive race and asked me to join him on the Irish Pub Tour de Shore.

Outside the Irish Pub at 20th & Walnut Streets in Philadelphia before the start of the 2011 Irish Pub Tour de Shore

The Tour de Shore is a sixty-five mile bike ride that begins at the Irish Pub at 20th & Walnut Streets in Philadelphia and ends at the Irish Pub on Saint James Place in Atlantic City. I’ll never be confused with world-class cyclists who finish comparable distances in a fraction of my five hours, but it was five hours of endurance exercise just the same. Now, as I consider my first half-marathon since 2008, I am reassured after completing nine miles on mountain trails and cycling for five hours without the aching joints I’d suffered from years of pounding the pavement.

Crossing the Benjamin Franklin Bridge into New Jersey on the first leg of the Tour de Shore

Running or cycling for a cause also lessens the pain. The Tour de Shore was especially emotional. The Irish Pub Children’s Foundation is dedicated to supporting needy children throughout the Philadelphia region. The charity event serves a dual role supporting fallen police officers and their families through the Philadelphia Police Survivors Fund, the Daniel Faulkner Educational Fund and other organizations. Watch the Irish Pub Tour de Shore video to appreciate the full impact of the ride.

Families and friends join cycling enthusiasts and celebrities in a ride that crosses the Delaware River and ends with some cyclists diving into the Atlantic Ocean. The strong sea breeze that greets the riders as they cross the causeway the final miles into Atlantic City is no deterrent with the prospect of a large crowd, cold refreshments, hot food and loud music that wait at the finish line.

Arriving in Atlantic City to an enthusiastic crowd and festivities.

So mark your calendars for the remainder of the year. Look for local charity events online or search websites such as Active.com that have a range of capabilities to query events by sport and city. Lock periodic races and rides into your schedule and there will always be a challenge on the horizon. It will keep you focused, motivated and in shape. Chances are you will support a worthy cause and learn something about a charity organization.
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About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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