My training is complete, I have my base, and after 35+ years of this I know how to ride back-to-back centuries. If I can ride 70 miles, I can ride 100, get a good nights sleep, and wake up and do it again. And yet there I was on a cold, wet, windy day, knocking off another century, to be sure I was ready.
There were so many reasons not to. And they were all reasonable. I was riding alone. Dopler was showing a sea of green to the west. (What did we do before Dopler? We were crazier because de didn’t know? Or was ignorance bliss?). Knock a fast 30, work at my desk, grab more miles during the week. There was no reason to be out there.
But I had said on Facebook I was riding a century. I had completed this ride 5 years in a row. It was somewhere between habit and tradition. My door-to-door century, rolling out of the garage, and rolling back in 100 miles later. I had started it alone, then brought along a son, then friends for 3 years. Now, with first rain out, it was full circle; riding alone, working to get 50 miles out so it would be 50 mile home.
Of course, the weather got worse after half way. It was never a hard rain, never a full headwind, never too cold. I was dressed on the edge of hypothermia, not able to stop too long. The constant pedaling was balancing body temp on a knife against the wind and rain that found a new vent in my jacket with every turn. When I finally stepped off the bike, at 105 miles, the act of stopping and stripping off wet clothing was enough to start a bout of shivering that didn’t stop until I had been under HOT water for 5 minutes.
It was a totally insane day to ride. It will hopefully be my worst ride of the year. And it was a perfect.
(The last Sunday in April is my final "training ride" for the TOSRV, the Tour of the Scioto River Valley, a 2 day, 210 mile ride in Columbus, OH held Mother’s Day weekend. 2009 will be the 49th year.)