Already ship-shape for CAM Tour


May 30, 1999|By Nancy Menefee Jackson | Nancy Menefee Jackson,Special to the Sun

You expect an engineer in the Navy's shipbuilding program to be a bit regimented.

"I'm pretty structured and disciplined in what I do," admits William Dunn of Columbia.

Dunn, 62, carries that discipline into his fitness regimen, which is why, as he prepares for the 11th annual Cycle Across Maryland (CAM) tour this July, he really doesn't have that much preparing to do.

During CAM, which lasts a week, the 1,000 or so participants ride about 300 miles across the state. They camp at designated sites, such as high schools, and trucks follow them carrying camping gear, supplies and clean clothes.

This will be the 10th CAM tour for Dunn.

"For years, I was running, but about 15 years ago my knees told me, 'Stop,' " he recalls. He shifted gears to biking, and found he loved it.

He rides three to four times a week, anywhere from 24 to 50 miles, at a pace of about 16 miles an hour. He has a number of regular routes but prefers to ride among the rolling hills of western Howard County.

"It gets me off the saddle a bit, so I don't get quite as many saddle sores." He also enjoys the varying landscape.

"I ride a lot on the Eastern Shore, and it's flat and there's corn on one side and beans on the other. Then it rotates, and it's beans on one side, corn on the other."

A former masters swimmer, he also swims laps regularly and does deep-water running in the pool. While in the water, he'll do a variety of exercises, such as walking like a tin soldier or leap-frogging.

He begins every day with stretching exercises for his back and then leg lifts. When he gets to work at the Navy's Program Executive Office for Theater Surface Combatants in Crystal City, Va., he makes sure he takes the stairs to his 10th-floor office.

Sticking to the routine is what enables him to make time for biking. He rides Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and gets up at sunrise on Saturday to ride. "I'm an early person," he says. "When I go out at sunrise, I don't see too many people. When I'm coming back from my ride I see them starting out."

After all his solitary riding, he enjoys a chance to meet and chat with other bikers during the CAM tour. "It makes the ride go faster," he says.

He enjoys exercise because it makes him feel not just physically fit but mentally fit as well. "I'm tired, but more alert. It makes me feel good when I get back."

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