I was kind of down Sunday about the way it is with my riding these days. I work every Saturday, which is the traditional big ride day, but that doesn’t really make much difference, all my “big ride” buddies have quit. Sundays are now my big ride day and for the last couple of years that big ride has more often then not been on a mountain bike trail, but that seems to even be hit and miss lately.
With the technological breakthrough STRAVA I can now see where all the riding is. I noticed that several people I’m following that came up for the Dirty South rides all rode the Suckerpunch Century in Murry Kentucky. I haven’t been able to do the organized rides like I used to and it made me sad. Sunday I had planned to drive an hour to ride a mythical group ride I’ve heard about in Carmi IL. but the plans fell through, mostly I chickened out. Instead I went shopping with Shauna. While I was shopping with Shauna I saw a guy with a brand new SUCKERPUNCH CENTURY ride T-Shirt. He might as well have sucker punched me in the gut.
I was fortunate enough to have today (Monday) off so I decided to purge the sadness with a long hard ride, like the good ol’ days. Want to hear about the good ol’ days: My old pal Terry would call me on Wednesday, or maybe Tuesday if he was really jazzed up, and we would plan out a route. Planning out the route was Terry telling me what route we would ride. These routes would require us to drive 30 minutes or so to get to “the good stuff” and then we would climb countless hills. Because Terry rode one day a week he would usually bonk out about half way through the 60 mile ride and be looking for a shade tree to recover under.
There was a recurring cast of interesting riders who would sometimes join us for these “sufferfests” like Dan with the 6000 dollar Trek bike or Don with the 60 dollar yard sell bike, (Don was faster then Dan) Ken who would come to the ride after doing an hour of aerobics and taunt us up every hill, even Joe, an 80 year old guy who mixed up secret performance enhancing compounds and handed them out on the ride. Eventually I went from just barely being able to finish to doing alot of waiting around for people to finish. I secretly wished for faster people to ride with. I eventually found some, not that I can ever keep up with Luke anyway.
So today to commemorate the good ol days I drove South to the hills and rode 60 hard miles, 60 miles made harder by the wind, the wind can be a real bitch sometimes. When I left the wind was blowing about 10-15mph from the Northwest. I started my ride by riding Southwest hoping to maximize the amount of side winds or something. Well the wind changed about halfway through the ride to the Northeast meaning the last 25 miles were all directly into the wind.
I started my ride by downing some Gatorade Prime, a 100 calorie before game marketing ploy. I bought this marketing ploy on clearance, so maybe it was worth it. I had planned out a 50 mile ride but once I was out riding I couldn’t remember the route so I just kind of made it up as I went along which ended up getting me on some gravel roads. It was a pretty tame gravel road that didn’t require a special edition “GRAVEL GRINDER” so my 700x23s had no problem.
I was having so much fun that I decided to just keep riding and ended up taking the rail trail as a lark. I realized with the strong wind from the North I could probably set a Strava KOM. I blew “The Godfather” of the Shawnee off the first place position. Sorry Greg. By the way, road bikes have no problem with the gravel rail trail.
The last 25 miles were mostly uphill and into the wind, at 40 miles the fun was over, at 50 miles I was wishing for the end to come, at 60 I was fighting cramps and wishing I had an electric motor to pull my fat butt up the climbs. I could have ridden more but it would have been against my will. After this tough ride my legs hurt, my back hurt, my arms hurt, my shoulders hurt, and now my head hurts. Essentially it was everything I wanted and more! Why don’t more people want to ride like, back in the day.