This is normally our first hundred mile ride of the season… a road trip down to Kentucky.
Till yesterday, I think my longest ride of the year was 63 miles.
However, we did get some good news. Things are opening up a little bit so we set up a little, ahem, ride. Technically, we maintained 6′ or 2 meters, but no guidelines were released on cycling so we delicately, taking into account the advanced age of some of the participants, invited people who would pose the least risk… and we had a real ride.
65-miles of drafting, laughing, joking, good-old-times cycling. We also split the 12 invited attendees into two groups.I’ll reserve the politics for another post and another time, because for the purposes of this post, it’s a celebration of a brief respite of normalcy.
I had a tough time with this – I wanted very much to open it up to everyone but the optics of a 40-person pace-line in the midst of all of this political hoohah would have sucked. That said, we didn’t get crowded by one pickup truck the whole ride and were often greeted with waves and encouragement. Shocked is a good word.
The ride was fantastic – it was simply nice to cruise with a decent group of friends again. We had laughs and held a really nice pace. We stuck together for the first fifteen miles or so, but split when the pace quickened on a freshly chip-sealed road. We went from a nice 22-mph to 25 on the mainly worked in gravel topping – provided we stayed in the tire lines created by vehicles. Wandering outside the paths would result in kicking up an abundance of loose stone. Once we’d split up, the pace really picked up with one guy taking the brunt of the work up front. He’s training for an Ironman so he simply sat up front and pulled us around the route. We each took a few miles here and there but it was largely a one man show at the front.
He, however, had a tee time to make so he kept going when we stopped for our second break 46 miles in. While we were bummed to lose our main horse, the pace moderated and we didn’t drop much at all.
We finished the 100 k route and three of us went on to grab a bite to eat and Subway before heading out to get us to 100 miles. We dropped a couple of tenths taking a slow roll to lunch but afterward, picked up right where we’d left off.
I held in great right up till the 102 mile mark (I rode to the ride, so I had five miles more than everyone else). I could hold a wheel, but my time pulling was done. Chuck and Mike still had a half-mile or so needed to cross 100 miles so they split left to chase up a hill and extend the route while I took a shortcut back to the parking lot.
With 104 miles showing on the Garmin, I was toast and more than happy letting a little time bleed off my average. I was just a shade under 20-mph and my tongue was dangling precariously close to my spokes.
And just like that, I was done. My first century for the year. And a century thoroughly enjoyed with friends.
How I missed real cycling. It was a treat.