Monday, April 23, 2012

Big Ride, Big Rain, Big Monday

From the time I reached home last Thursday afternoon until this Monday morning, I rode on my bike for about eight hours. Going into the weekend, I was more than 31 hours behind with my resolution to ride my bike for more time than I commuted to and from work in my car.

Saturday was the day for the inaugural (and possibly last, based on the number of complaints the participants had with the organization of the ride) "Lake Anna Century Classic." I had signed up for this at the end of January, and Saturday's weather called for a sunny warm morning with thunderstorms and wind blowing in after 2:00.

My plan was to be done before the rain!



Happily, I managed to get done just as clouds were rolling in.

Sadly, the rest stops were not as advertised. There were two adequate stops at 20- and 40-miles. Later I learned that later riders arrived at these stops to find the water supplies gone and no fruit or clif bar snacks at them.

A third stop was around 60 miles, and a small group of four of us got there to find other guys leaving. There was nothing there but a sign saying "rest stop" and a single porta-potty. I was depending on that stop to refill my water bottles and hopefully get more snacks! But about a hundred yards away was the only other structure in sight, a small church.

Being aware of my church and its security, I told the others that I'd go check it out, and maybe a door was left unlocked so we could get water. I decided not to check any doors, but I did go look for a hose connection. Most buildings have an outside hose, and this church had one. So I got to refill my water bottles.

None of the others wanted to refill their water bottles. Maybe they were afraid of trespassing or something, but my experience is most churches will happily let you take some of their water.

I feel bad for everyone else who didn't try looking for the hose at the church and had to go 15 more miles with empty water bottles. It was hot and sunny.

At the location where everyone thought the fourth rest stop should be, it was just a convenience store that was thrilled to have 200 bicyclists stopping there to buy gallon jugs of water and snacks. It was a self-generated rest stop. People bought gallon jugs and left them outside for other riders. It was nice. And lots of us went inside to get snacks. I bought a Coke and a Snickers bar.

Then to top it all off, the ride was only 96 miles. So instead of turning into the parking lot, I turned right and rode another 2 miles out and then turned around and got back just as my odometer passed 100 miles.
So I did the century, at least. And that was nice.

I achieved my goal of finishing, and managed an unexpectedly speedy average speed of 18.0 miles per hour when I was moving. Overall, I started at 8:07AM and finished at 2:08PM.

For the month, I am now holding on to a 24.3 hour deficit between riding the bike and commuting in the car. So there's about four hours of wiggle room to keep on track with my goal of running not more than a 7-hour-per-month deficit. I might make it, and I'm encouraged by the progress that was made over the weekend.

Next month there's "bike home from work day," but also a Saturday that I won't be able to ride due to a graduation ceremony out of town. But there's a holiday, too. But I'll worry about that when it happens.

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