Wednesday, May 14, 2014

2010: Why do we do the crazy rides, for no sane reason?

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 night’s sleep, and wake up and do it again.  And yet here I am on a cold, wet, windy day, knocking off another century, to be sure I was ready.

Storm clouds ahead - how bad can it be?
There were so many reasons not to do this ride today.  And they were all reasonable.  I would be 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?).  I could knock out a fast 30 miles, return home to work at my desk, and grab more miles during the week.  There was no reason to be out riding in the rain.

But I had said on Facebook I was riding a century on the last Sunday of April.  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, the next year brought along my oldest son Tyler, then inviting friends along for the next 3 years, as the “Tour De Mulberry” was born. Now, with the first rain-out, it was full circle; riding alone, working to get 50 miles out so it would be 50 mile home.

Mulberry - 52 wet miles from the end of my driveway.
Alone I rolled out into the rain.  At 20 miles out, I turn around and start to head back, but the rain actually eases, and after just a half mile, I resume my my ride to the 50-mile turn around point.  Of course, the weather got worse after half way.  Yet 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 my body temp on a knife-edge, against wind and rain that found a new way under my jacket with every turn.

When I finally step off my bike, at 105 miles, almost 8 hours after leaving home, the act of stopping and stripping off wet clothing is enough to start a bout of violent 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. It was another personal challenge given and met. And it was a perfect.

(Since 2004, the last Sunday in April has been my final "training ride" for TOSRV, the Tour of the Scioto River Valley, a 2 day, 210 mile ride in Columbus, OH held Mother's Day weekend. As of 2014, I have ridden TOSRV 14 times since 1979.  And I have made the ride to Mulberry 4 mores times as well.  A version of this blog was originally published in April of 2010.)

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