Right on, ride on

Ceci n'est pas une vélo

Countdown to 30: New Acquaintances and a Metric Century

Posted by @teeheehee on May 4th, 2009

When I began my training for my upcoming century ride I recognized in the back of my mind the need for a contingency plan.

I had no idea how feasible it would be for me to build up to and actually ride 100 miles before June. I now think I am in a very good position to do that in the next couple of weeks, but I still feel it necessary to have a “fallback” ready.

For example: what if my bike breaks down? What if I hurt myself training and can’t do the ride? Maybe the weather will turn for the worst and blizzards will strike every weekend until June. (Hey, it’s New England, it doesn’t hurt to consider every weather possibility.) If something happens and I can’t do the full 100, how will I cheat/accomplish my goal and not bruise my precious ego too much?

Here is where I rationalize things and conclude that a one-off solution can be, under the right circumstances, considered a successful completion of task. If it comes down to it a metric century, which is to say 100 kilometers or roughly 62 miles, would “count” as achieving my goal if I found 100 miles to be out of reach.

Well, today I feel very good (and a bit weary.) Yesterday (Sunday) I achieved a major milestone in my training which accomplished my contingency plan by completing a metric century. Actually I managed to do a bit more and clocked in 68.35 miles for the day. Woo hoo!

View 68 Mile Ride, Rice Road Ride, part of Allendale Farm Loop in a larger map

I initially started with three routes in mind that, when stitched together, would add up to be somewhere around 65 miles total. This did not account for distances traveled from my apartment to the start of a route, from the end of one route to the start of another, nor from the end of the route back to my apartment. As it turns out I realized part way through my day that I could completely drop one of the routes while still managing to put in my desired 65-70 miles for the day.

The first route was the Rice Road Ride. It started in Arlington Center at the entrance to the Minuteman Bikeway and made its way to Belmont. This is where the Pocket Ride lied about the expected terrain. This ride was tagged to have “flat, gently rolling hills + some hills that roll less gently than others.” Well, maybe I’m just a weak little fledgling, but I found Prospect Street in Belmont so steep that I had wished I had with me some rope and climbing gear. It was steep and it went on for what seemed like an age. I had some worries that doing this hill taxed my leg muscles too greatly and that I would find myself depleted of energy later on in the trip, but thankfully that wasn’t the case.

About 3/4 of the way through the Rice Road Ride I took a rest stop and met a couple of other cyclists. We chatted and came to realize we were headed in the same direction for a few miles and they invited me to tag along. Quick aside: long distance riding isn’t like racing, it is important not to over-exert yourself or there is a good chance you won’t be able to finish the ride. If you can keep a conversation going then it is likely you are going at a good pace and aren’t wrecking your body rapidly. When we got to the intersection of Lincoln and Bedford they split off to go past the DeCordova Sculpture Park and on towards Walden Pond while I continued on my way back to the Bikeway. One thing that has surprised me above all during my rides is that I am not the only one out there, no matter how far from the more familiar paths I get there still are other cyclists to be seen.

As I was getting on to the Minuteman again to complete the Rice Road Ride it began to rain sparsely. The rain drops were quite cool but it never became enough to cause me to pull out my jacket, instead it was rather pleasant and, well, what one expects in Spring. I ventured on to the starting point of my next route: the BU Bridge.

By this point of my ride my cell phone had been complaining for over two hours that the battery was nearly dead. My iPod shuffle died about an hour before reaching the Minuteman. I was beginning to wonder if there was some force that was trying to deplete the energy from this ride, starting with my electronics and working its way towards my quite-tired legs. But that didn’t happen. Instead I started my second route and realized before long that I wasn’t going to have to complete it out of exertion, but rather because of distance. The maximum mileage I was striving to reach was fast approaching. The ride was going to have to give up next, and I still had energy to go on.

One hundred kilometers. My first century. I hit the mark and then I made a bee-line for my apartment, still five+ miles away. This beat all of my previous distance records and I still felt I had some more left in me to go on with. Until I got home and showered. It took about two hours for my body to realize that I no longer needed to ask it to do anything for the rest of the day; my body in turn decided I would not be able to do anything for the rest of the day. I ate (finally, something other than power bars) and watched the day turn to night, then I crawled into bed and slept like the dead.

Today my legs are still somewhat protesting how much I made them work yesterday. Lucky for them Pronto is in the shop until Thursday getting outfitted with a new chain and gears. Next weekend’s ride I will be cutting back to 50 miles, and the week after that should be the big push – with a couple of weeks to spare if all goes well!

Pictures: I tried to stay out of the camera’s way a bit more this ride, hopefully it’s an improvement.

3 Responses to “Countdown to 30: New Acquaintances and a Metric Century”

  1. Right on, ride on » Blog Archive » Countdown to 30: Sculpture Park Loop Says:

    […] Countdown to 30: New Acquaintances and a Metric Century […]

  2. Right on, ride on » Blog Archive » Countdown to 30: Century: Monument St and Dover/Sherborn Loops Says:

    […] Countdown to 30: New Acquaintances and a Metric Century […]

  3. KonstantinMiller Says:

    I think I will try to recommend this post to my friends and family, cuz it’s really helpful.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.