Monday, September 18, 2006

My century

On my last century (by "century" I mean a 100-mile bike ride -- no, this isn't a post on my last 100 years of life or a report on how the 21st century is going for me), I actually only rode 98 miles. The course wasn't quite as long as they said it was. I really don't like planning on riding 100 miles and only getting to 98 -- it's not quite the same as 100 is it? But as it was raining that day, and I'd been riding in the rain for 4 hours or so, I left it at 98. Today, however, when I got near the end and found I'd only rode 95 miles, I turned off the course to add some miles before heading to the car, in hopes of reaching 100. And then I did a few laps around the parking lot to make sure my bike computer reached the magic number, which it eventually did. So, yay! A real century!

Unfortunately, when I got back to the car, I found out that the Hobgoblin hadn't had a good ride. I won't describe that, as he has written about it, but rest assured that no crashes were involved, and he and his bike are doing okay.

As for me, I set out on my own, fully expecting to ride by myself the entire time, but somehow I fell in with this guy around mile 10 or so, and we rode the rest of the way together. It was nice to have a partner; often I don't find anyone who rides at my pace, but this guy did, and we talked off and on, which made the time livelier. And when I got a flat tire, he helped me change it. While I can certainly change a tire all on my own (I'd be highly embarrassed if I couldn't!), I'm not that fast, so I'll let someone faster help me out, so we can get back on the bikes sooner. After that, I had no troubles whatsoever. It was a beautiful day, sunny and in the 70s, maybe hitting 80, I'm not sure, and I realized that since it's probably the nicest day we'll see for a while, it was a very good thing I could be outside for most of it.

Now I think I've reached the end of my riding season. A century is a good way to end, a culmination of hours of training, a big event that requires a lot of effort and feels like a worthy accomplishment.

But don't think this means I'll be off my bike until spring -- oh, no! It means I'll be off my bike for a few weeks. My races begin in March, which means I'd like to start my serious race training in December to be ready for the March races, and I need to do 1 or 2 months of preparatory riding before serious training, which pushes things back to October. I have grand plans for training and what I'll accomplish at the races next year, although I realize that it's easy to make training plans for January and February when it's only September and still in the 70s outside and I've forgotten what it feels like to ride when it's in the 20s and snowy. This year I won't be wimpy about cold weather training, I'm sure of it!

We shall see.