My century

The good news about my century ride: it rained only about half of the time! Or maybe it was 2/3. I was chilly, but not dangerously cold! I had only one awkward run-in with an annoying guy! My neck and shoulders are killing me, but I can still move!

Actually, for all the rain and the temperatures in the 60s (60s make very nice riding weather — when it’s dry), the ride felt okay. It was only in the last 10 miles or so that I started to get impatient to get back to the car, and I know from experience that the last 10 miles of whatever length of ride I’m doing is the time I get impatient to finish up. I rode pretty slowly for me, averaging 14.5 miles an hour, although I think part of the reason for that is my reluctance to take the downhills fast when it’s pouring rain and the road is slippery. I learned all too recently what it’s like to scrape the pavement. That and I struggle to climb hills, needing stronger quad muscles. And since most of this course was either uphill or downhill, I wasn’t going all that fast ever. Do you know how badly rain can hurt when it hits your face when you’re going downhill at 30 mph? Pretty badly, I’ve found.

I rode most of the way on my own, and while having another rider along with me can make the time go faster, I like being able to keep my own pace. Riding 100 miles is stressful enough, but to try to keep up with another rider or to ride slower than I’d like and thus be out on the course longer, just adds to the stress. And until the very end, I’m not bored in the least; I’m happy to look around me, to think whatever I want, or, more often, to think nothing at all. I get into a meditative state when riding, where the most that’s in my head is a song. I think this is one of the things that keeps me riding so much — it lets me escape my brain for a while.

According to my heart rate monitor/bike computer, I burned 3,331 calories on the ride yesterday. Just think of all the eating that allows me to do! Okay, it’s because I believe that cycling equals more opportunities to eat that I’m not skinny. That, and genetics.

The encounter with the annoying guy: I’m riding along and two guys pass me (we ended up passing each other over and over again throughout the day), and one of them turns to me and says, “How old are you?” I get annoyed and say, “Hey! How old are you?” He takes a while to answer, appearing to think that he’s justified in asking me but not required to answer the question himself. He expresses amazement that I’m out doing the ride and I seem so young. This makes no sense to me. I figure since I’m out alone, I’m better off not being completely hostile, so once he tells me his age, I tell him mine, and things pretty much end there. I just make a point of not riding near him again.

The next century is three weeks from today. I’d like to do it, but I’ve already decided that if rain is in the forecast, I’m not.

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