I've got the MS Tour De Farms coming up in a little less than 2 weeks and in preperation for this ride, 100 miles on Saturday, 50 on Sunday, I have been doing training rides. My ritual is to pour over the Map My Ride route creator for what seems like hours, only to come up with a small mileage route. Thats ok though, because what happens on that weekend in June, happens.
The same attitude goes toward the actual training ride. See, I was doing my longest ride yet, planned 41 miles, and got all set and ready to go. Drove to the starting point, and off I went. The route I took was mainly bike trails that are shared with pedestrians. It was busy that morning. Maybe I should have left earlier? Nah, thats ok. Enjoy the ride, I kept telling myself. Log those miles. Get time in the saddle.
All was going well, up until the first detour. I pulled into a parking lot, where the trail continued, and asked a fellow cyclist which way it went, just to verify I was on the correct heading. The young man pointed, and gave directions.
"Up that hill?" I asked, hoping he would say no, the smaller hill.
"Yeah, go up that hill, make a left, then follow the street to the church, veer left..."
This hill looked to be 45 degrees. I said thanks, pedaled off, determined to get my courage up to attack this hill.
My first thought, as I reached the bottom of the hill was that it reminded me of the bike race in Europe where most of the riders had to dismount and walk up. That one was a 30 degree incline. Airplanes dip their wings 30 degrees to turn. Ive had an hour's worth of flight time. I know 30 degrees.
So, lungs full, gears in the lowest, I set off to tackle this monster. The whole time I was pedaling, I kept thinking that this hill was nothing like that hill in Europe, and if they had to dismount, then I could do this one. I kept thinking that, all the way to the half way point.
I made it this far, just keep going.
Nope. Not happening. So, dejected, I dismount. I swear, I could hear a snickering as I unclipped. No one was around.
So, here I am, fat guy in spandex, walking his bike. Walking. His Bike. The clip clop of my cleats echoing off the houses as if to taunt me. Sort of like the local school bully shouting derogatory remarks to you as you walk by. The last thing I needed was to slip and fall. I didnt though.
I reached the top of the hill, and stopped just short of the intersection to catch my breath. Swung one leg over and clipped in as to prepare of a valiant launch. Off to my right, I heard the distant chatter of a male's voice. I look, and 2 cyclists were flying up the roadway, an obvious easier route than the one I took. One of them was saying how he had seen alot of people walking their bikes up that hill.
He rode right past me while saying that. Then he and his friend chuckled. By that time, I had gained momentum and was not too far behind them. I laughed too and said "Yeah, that thing about killed me!" The found that humorous as well. At least they were laughing with me at that point!
So, off I ride, determined to finish my ride. Along the way there were detours and misroutings, only because I didnt trust what my equipment was telling me. Then came the headwind on my way back to the starting point. Not only was it gusting to 20mph, but I was rerouted in a northly direction when I wanted to go south.
After figuring out where the heck I was and which way I wanted to go, I was 2 miles from where I needed to be. I turned around, rode back to the bridge I was detoured under, and walked up the hill. It's a reoccuring theme.
I saw 2 cyclists pedaling up the roadway as I reached the top. One gentleman stopped and asked if I was ok. I said yeah, and told him my situation. He said he was headed in the same direction, and that his third partner was where I was in the detour. I told him what happened to me and they waved him around.
After small chat about the new bike he had ordered, I said my so long and pedaled southward. I can see my destination ahead and could not wait to get back on that trail.
I cross the entrance to the tollway, and ride under the bridge of the path. I am looking for an entracne to the path and cant find one. I wasnt about to go back east by crossing the 4 lane road. Again, I dismount, number 3 I believe, and walk the bike up that hill to the trail. This one wasnt so bad though.
After a few more obstacles, like power company truck in the middle of the path, I was able to get back in motion. Then, the battery on my phone is in the yellow, so I had to shut that off. Five miles out from the end.
Needless to say, I got my 41 miles in. Plus and additional five miles. So, forty-six miles is my longest ride to date. This ride taught me that no matter what you encounter, you will never be fully prepared. You can make adjustments and work around situations, but to be prepared, is nearly impossible.