It feels like the weather’s finally broke and we can get on with spring. When I woke yesterday morning I expected a big group for the ride. I was shocked when only two others beside my wife and I showed. It did make some sense, several of our friends headed over to the west side of the State for Barry-Roubaix, the largest gravel road ride in the USA, but I still expected six or eight.
I’d pulled out the big gun for this ride. I’ve been riding the Trek since last fall and have it dialed in excellently, but I was missing the easy speed of the Venge. Apples to apples, and both bikes at the very top of their operating ability, the old Trek can’t hold a candle to the Venge. Literally and figuratively. The 5200 is an excellent and comfortable bike but 14 years of technological advancement in carbon fiber is simply too great…
Final tally notwithstanding, we rolled at 9am, Mike, Chuck, my wife and I. The conditions, for the end of April, were stellar. Sunshine, 41° (5 C) and virtually no wind. We kept a lively but easy pace for the first six miles or so before turning dead into what little breeze there was. Holding 19 wasn’t all that hard but my wife was suffering a late night, little sleep and tired legs, so we kept the pace low for her. She left the group at about the ten mile mark to head back… our daughter had to prep for her first high school prom (! DUDE!) so my wife wanted to get back to her.
I’d dressed a little under for the temp because I knew it would warm up soon enough but I struggled against the chill on the upper body for about 45 minutes, and then… boom, I the warmth of the sun on my red long-sleeve thermal finally cut through the cold. Apparently my friends felt it too because it went from quiet to lively talk about how great a day it was for cycling all within ten minutes.
We all took turns, over the course of the next 35 miles or so, expressing how much fun it was to be out in good, warm weather. I wish I could put it into writing, how enjoyable it was, the relief, to be out with two of my good friends like that, after one of the longest, coldest winters in Michigan history (the longest since 1874). I felt like our planned 50 just wasn’t enough – a stark contrast against looking forward to being done after 25 or 30 miles in the cold.
We stopped into the bike shop to say hi to everyone on our way home and they were hopping inside… People milled about all over the shop. Everyone in our group, everyone, has a high-end bike. Be it a Specialized, Trek, Giant or even a Merckx, we’re all sporting top-of-the-line stuff so we like to line our bikes up along the outside window as free advertising for the shop owner and eye candy for the shoppers (who are usually inside looking for a leisure bike of some sort). Several stopped to ogle after completing their purchases.
After our greetings we headed out and threw a leg over the top tube for our final five miles to home, but horror of horrors, I discovered I would be shy of miles! On the first perfect cycling day of the year, a day that was finally warm enough that you didn’t have to worry about sweat killing you because it sucks heat out of your body 25 times faster than air, I simply couldn’t come up short of our planned 50!
I chose to stick with Mike and Chuck to Chuck’s house (Chuck lives just over two miles from my house) and rode Mike home down another mile toward his house (Mike lives two miles from me as well), then took it back to my place. I pulled into the driveway with 50.12 miles. Perfect.
I had a couple of delectable pulled pork sammiches for lunch, with slaw and Devil’s Spit barbecue sauce from Famous Dave’s (it’s hot, but not as hot as the name suggests, it’s a spectacular spicy BBQ sauce), watched some of the Tiger’s baseball game and took a 30 minute nap.
I’ll tell you, it’s nice to be back on my “more mileage” schedule. This week, after this morning’s 50, I’ll top 200 miles for the first time since last fall. Everything seems easier when I’m on that schedule. My body works better, food tastes better (and certainly does less damage, heh), and my attitude and outlook on life are better. Folks, life is better.