Last time I rode more than 50 miles was over Thanksgiving when I tried out the Allez and did the (Red River) Gorge loop for a 60 mile shakedown ride. Since then I've managed a few 30-40 milers, but nothing too long.
I'd been sick all week. I started out last Saturday overly cold and woke up Sunday with a fever. By Monday morning I'd hit 103º with no sign of my fever breaking. It did go down by bedtime, and I went back to work on Tuesday, though I shouldn't have.
I was still weak all week. Thursday I could tell I was on the mend, but still not 100%. Friday I felt significantly better, but still not 100%. I texted Jeff and said I'd ride Saturday, but that I might hold him back. I also suggested a 60 mile ride from Stanton to Owingsville and he was game.
By Saturday morning I was looking forward to the ride, but still not sure how I was going to fare. And I'd also remembered that my 60 mile route was contingent on a seasonal creek crossing short cut. If not for that the shortest possible out and back was closer to 70 miles. That just seemed like a haul in my weakened condition.
Jeff met me in Stanton after a 10 mile approach, and we headed off. I wasn't moving fast, but we kept a steady pace. I lagged up Cane Creek Mountain, but that was the most significant climb on the route. We dropped down into the land of 3G and were soon looking at the creek crossing. No dice!
"Well, we don't have to go all the way to Owingsville," I said. And we pedalled on.
Blevins Grocery, Preston
We traversed Science Ridge, cut over to Stulltown Road and on to Preston. That area is some of my favorite riding anywhere and it was easy to keep going deeper into a bigger and bigger ride. I knew I was writing a huge check that I wasn't sure I could cash. On we went.
The climb into town from the south was a long slog. Its not too long or too steep, but it's still a good haul. We rolled on through town and to the cemetery where we checked out the grave of A.D. Ruff. Then we pedalled back into town and back down the big hill.
Both of us decided it made sense to stop and get some lunch. The choice is Dairy Queen or Subway. Jeff, a vegetarian, suggested we go to DQ for fries. I knew I'd eat something stupid there so I suggested Subway and he finally agreed. It was good to sit down, fill our bellies with something warm, and then head back out on the road somewhat refreshed. It definitely felt colder back out on the bike after being inside, but the sun had finally cracked through the gray shroud of the sky and that helped to lift our spirits.
As we pedalled toward Preston I could tell my legs weren't snapping back. They felt hollow. I wasn't bonking, just losing the ability to fight anaerobically. I didn't think too much about it for awhile, but after it was obvious the sandwich hadn't recharged my guns I decided to stop and eat a Clif Bar and a gel.
On we plodded toward Jeffersonville. Jeff suggested that his wife could come get us there if need be, but by the time we got there we had just enough time to ride back and not enough time to wait for SAG (I had to be back to town by 3:00). We opted to take busier 213 instead of taking the longer Cane Creek route. It was good because that got us back to Stanton with two minutes to spare despite a slog over Morris Creek Mountain. Its still not as steep as Cane Creek. The farther we went the more and more empty my legs felt. No amount of food or water could stave off the fatigue.
I'm stoked I did 70 miles with so little preparation. I did more than a metric century and last evening i felt pretty darn good except for being drained, but I don't think that was necessarily because of the bike ride. I wasn't stiff or sore at least.
Jeff ended up riding back home and ticked a full century. He hadn't planned on going that far, and kudos to him for pulling it off!
Today Mandy and Jeff's wife and Mandy's dad rode the Gorge loop. Mandy had never ridden it before and she enjoyed it. She walked some of Sky Bridge Hill but we all insisted that was okay because not many people ride it all the way the first time.
Jeff and I worked on the mountain bike trail on his property while the kids played in the woods. Of course my son was the one to fall off a boulder. He's fine though. Made him walk it off. It felt good to do some work and not sit around and get sore and stiff today. I'm out of shape though. Swinging a rogue hoe for a few hours can really take it out of you if the heaviest thing you're used to lifting on a regular basis are paper maps.
So I struggled to knock out a 70 mile ride. I feel good for having done it, and it's a good confidence boost toward my Mohican and Leadville bids. Still got a lot of work to do, but I'm on my way.