Saturday, much to my chagrin, was a rain out. It rained so hard at times, cycling would have been moronic. I spent the day on the couch looking at the radar for a glimmer of a break in the dark green, yellow and orange. There was hope in the hourly forecast at times, I actually jumped off of the couch twice and enthusiastically prodded my wife to grab her stuff and get ready… just to have the heavens open up minutes later.
In the end, I made peace with it. Sunday was looking fantastic and I had the easiest century of the season on the books. Pancake flat, only 800-ish feet of climbing in 100 miles.
Then I checked the weather one last time before watching Batman vs. Superman. In two hours they’d changed it from Partly Cloudy and 84 to a 50-50 chance of rain all day long. I didn’t bother checking again. Worst case scenario, I’d take the rain bike. No chance I wasn’t riding – at the very worst, I’d shorten the 100 miler to 100K and call that good.
On waking, the Weather Channel was still calling for ugly. I prepped the rain bike for duty but I decided to take my good wheels off the Venge, swap cassettes, and at least hope for a better ride on the lighter, vastly faster “good” wheels. After the bike was prepped and rear derailleur adjusted (an absolute necessity of a step btw), I loaded my stuff in the car and headed out to the meeting spot, fifteen miles away.
As we readied our gear, my friends and I decided on the 100k but we’d check the radar at the turn back point in St. Charles. If it was clear, we’d press on and do the full century.
I didn’t let any of our group know, the day before, I’d received a text from the fastest guy in the A group asking if he could hang with us for the ride. I explained the pace (19-ish mph) and said if he was cool with that, he was more than welcome. Usually this is a recipe for disaster – he regularly rides a century in four hours or less. If he took it to us, that would leave us stretched out all over the 100 mile course. I’m okay with a 4-1/2 hour, a few of the other guys, not even close…
Rather than drone on about another bike ride, I’ll just keep it simple. The better wheels made an astounding difference. The A guys kept perfectly to our pace and were a pleasure to have on the ride. I thanked them, twice, when they split for home. We did opt for the full 100 miles and yes, I was more than a little nervous when, at 35 miles, we decided to ride 65 more miles rather than head back with only 28 more to go. Damn. We did get wet but it was only a light rain for maybe 20 minutes. The rest was dry.
We also brought one of the guys, an older fella, home for his fastest century – ever. Chuck and I took turns pulling for the last ten miles to do it, we alternated between first and second bike the whole way home… except for the last half-mile. We let Jim lead the group home for his fastest century.
Little things like that matter. At least it did when my friends did it for me at DALMAC. I’ll remember that ride into Mackinaw City for the rest of my life.
Not my best time, but a great time was had by all. Oh, and if you know me, yes… I had noodle salad for dinner.