It was a gorgeous day for cycling; when I set off on my ride it was mid-60s, and when I returned, mid-70s, low humidity, clear skies. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. So it’s good I decided to do a long ride: 65 miles, a little over 4 hours. The route takes me north, skirting a small city at the beginning, and then heading up into small towns and countryside. I had views of fields and woods and farms. I like riding from one town to another; somehow that makes me feel like I’m covering some significant distance (well, my muscles remind me of that too). After the small city, the only part of the ride that isn’t pretty, I rode through or skirted by six towns, and one of those I rode through twice, once on the way out and once returning. The town where I stopped to refill my water bottles was quintessential New England, with a prep school, antique shops, art galleries, pretty colonial houses, the white church and steeple, and the Appalachian Trail running nearby. I didn’t linger long, however; my muscles cool down fast and getting back on the bike can be hard.
I’m training to ride my first century (100-mile ride) on August 27 — this is an organized ride with a set route, food and water stops, and lots of people. I’ve done this ride 3 or 4 times before; I’ve planned to do it every year for the last 6 years or so, but sometimes other things get in the way — bad weather, fatigue, busyness. So that means I have two more weeks to train. My plan is to do 3 or 4 short, easy rides this coming week, to ride another long one, this time 80 miles, next weekend, and then to take it easy the week before the century. I’ve found that if I do at least a couple rides in the 60-80 mile range, I’m fine. There are two more centuries in September I’d like to do; one of them has a 125-mile ride that I’ve done once before. We’ll see about that one.