biking - red bike 8:16:12 108.76 mi (4:34 / mi) +8543ft 4:15 / mi
ahr:140 max:162 weight:138lbs
A long day on the bike, though not without its rewards.
I'd wanted to do a century ride sometime this year, but so far I'd been stymied.
First possibility had been at the Tour of the Litchfield Hills, but I wisely opted for 75 and even that was a little too much.
Second possibility was at the Kelly Brush ride in Middlebury, VT. I'd done the 100 last year. It has some hilly sections but nothing of great substance, and the 100 miles passed then about as easily as one could hope for. But this year Gail was interested in coming and doing the 25, and it seemed unfriendly to disappear for 6 or 7 hours, and so I happily did the 50.
Third possibility was 8 days ago, the Great River Ride in the hills to the west of us. But the forecast when I woke up was for rain, just not very appealing, and so I bailed.
But the course was still out there, the cue sheet was on the web (just incase the route wasn't well-marked), and the forecast for today seemed OK. So off I went.
It was a long day. The route was actually 108+ miles. The climb was serious, 7-8,000' depending on who did the measuring, and it certainly felt like that, or more. The legs felt tired to start and they never got better. I'd put on a long-sleeve shirt because I was worried about being cold up in the hills, but it just meant I was usually too hot.
And yet, I need days like this. Days with a sense of adventure. Days when you test yourself, find out whether you do or don't measure up to whatever goals or standards you have set. Days when you see how good you are at dealing with adversity.
And this day worked on all those levels.
That's not to say it was a lot of fun. For starters, several hours spent going uphill, just hard work and the legs getting more and more tired. Eight plus hours on the bike put the hands and the arms and the neck and especially the butt to the test. But they all more or less survived. And while part of the planning had been to make sure I knew several ways to cut the course short, I never really considered that.
And so there was a fine sense of accomplishment. Two days after my 72nd birthday, I will call it a ride to honor that day (though 72 miles would certainly have been enough for that purpose). And throughout the day I didn't feel like I did any dumb things. Brief stops at four general stores, usually for more fluids. No close calls. Paced myself up the hills reasonably well. Never missed a turn.
But I would not be honest if I did not also admit that there were many times I said to myself, I'm not doing this again, it's just too hard. Once is surely enough.