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My Buddy’s Birthday Ride – One to Remember


September 2019

Last year on my buddy Mike’s birthday ride, he had a heart episode (he went in to have a stent put in a fourth artery shortly thereafter), Jonathan got stung by a bee at the halfway point, and had a severe reaction (just hives, thank God), and I hit a squirrel – dead nuts, square in the ribs.

Yesterday, our luck was much better. Mike’s ticker is fixed, Jonathan had an itchy afternoon but was no worse for the wear, and while that squirrel managed to run to the side of the road, I have a feeling he didn’t last very long after. Sadly, most of our normal group had other things going, so it was just Mike, Diane, and me. We picked Phill up on the road and Greg met us a few miles after that.

We picked the Assenmacher 100k for our route, because it’s almost four miles more than 100k, and Mike needed to hit 69. Greg was our horse and took most of the first… um, carry the three… 57 miles up front? It turned out to be a perfect morning. A few clouds here and there, but wonderfully sunny for the most part. Warm, even balmy for this time of year, temperature, and calm winds rounded out another great morning for cycling.

We hammered (hammered is really not the word – there was no hammering going on, we kept it at a smooth 21-23-mph… the uphills were easy, at worst, and there was a very nice flow to our ride, but how do you put that into an adjective? The proper word escapes me) cruised (thanks Omil – see comments) out the miles, quickly raising our average from a meager 16-ish mph when we met Greg, to a quick 19.8. Our first stop for the day was at 30 miles. I didn’t need more than a restroom break and to eat the banana I had in my back pocket. It certainly wasn’t a long stop and we were off again.

From that point on, we simply had a nice ride. We didn’t stop again, which in hindsight was a mistake – 70 miles is too far with only one stop, for me anyway. We hit headwind at the 50 mile mark and it got a little ugly for a bit. Greg kept the speed at 20, which was good for me, but we were too far to the right with a headwind off our left shoulder, meaning we were all in the ditch. Mike and Diane were in the pain cave and off the back in a hurry. Greg eased the pace up and I moved out left to give Mike and Diane a draft. I had my radar on the bike, so I could move right whenever traffic was picked up. The headwind went on for thirteen miles and I was getting hungry. I’d survived the trip, and it was starting to heat up, on two small bottles of water and a banana. I could have downed a gel at that point, but left it in my pocket.

The final seven miles were fairly easy, around 20-mph with a crosswind. I was tired but I was up front for much of the trip home. It was Mike’s birthday, so I figured I’d give him a break. He came up for a pull somewhere in that slog home, for a mile or two, and I took the rest. I was tired and a little dehydrated when I pulled into the driveway – enough I had hot spots on my feet (this only happens when I’m undernourished and dehydrated) and didn’t even bother to check my distance before I stopped.

I turned my computer off at 69.98 miles. Oops. I was inside the house before I realized what I’d done. I contemplated going back out for the last two hundredths, but decided against that foolishness. I added “good enough for government work” on the Strava ride description and took a shower.

All in all, it was an uneventful but incredibly enjoyable ride – exactly as it should be, considering the previous year’s events… The most interesting conversation of the day went to eBikes, and I’ll have more on that at a later date.


  1. The Omil says:

    Perhaps ‘cruised’?

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