Katydid, Rozmo and I had already decided to ride the century today on BikeFest. For those of you who don't remember (and probably don't care in the first place), a century is 100 miles (or more) on a bicycle in a single day. I don't know whose idea it was to ride the century (again) this year, but I'd like to have a talk with her. Unless it was me, in which case I would like to sign up for some additional therapy sessions.
We were later leaving than we planned, because it's just so hard to get on that bicycle when it's cold. It's hard to dress for cycling at this time of year. It's uncomfortably cold in the morning, but you know very well that it's going to get quite warm by the afternoon. Or evening, if you happen to be out there that long. Personally, I'm too stubborn to layer very well. I figure I can suffer through a little while of being cold in the morning and not have to worry about removing layers (and where to put them) later in the day.
Where in the world was I going with this? Oh yeah....
So we were later leaving than we should have, considering we were planning to ride 100 miles. The last thing I did was put air in the tires, #1 because we needed it, and #2 because it was one more thing that would delay our actual riding.
Something went wrong with the valve stem, and we wound up with a flat tire.
We had extra tubes, but we decided to take it to the professionals instead of changing it ourselves, #1 because it was the back tire, and #2 because it was the back tire and it would have taken us roughly three and a half hours to change it.
The bike shop dude who changed the tire talks a lot more than he works. I accused him of charging by the word, and then I felt bad when he didn't charge us anything at all.
We finally left, only to discover after half a mile that we had no rear brakes. I didn't want to go back because #1 I don't like to go back EVER, and #2 we were already much later leaving than we wanted to be. I reasoned that we still had front brakes, and we don't use the brakes that often anyway. Never mind that I discovered the absence of brakes at a 4-way stop and we were extremely lucky that there weren't other cars at the intersection.
So back we went.
Willard worked on the brakes for another 15 minutes or so, talking the whole time. We finally left at 9:05 or something equally ridiculous.
Either of those incidents, the flat tire or the brake problem, would have been enough to make us change our plans for the route we were riding. We had by golly decided to ride the century, though, and none of us ever mentioned changing our plans.
So ride the century we did.
We didn't get into camp until 6:30 or so, but we still weren't last. CLOSE to last, but not last. The rest stops were closing (or closed) when we got to them late in the day, but the porta-potties were still there, and sometimes that's the most important thing. I was not in my happy place starting at about mile 75. I couldn't join Katydid in singing, and I couldn't even enjoy the music. After the UGA game ended (we listened to it on the radio on the bike), I didn't even have that distraction anymore. At mile 90 I knew we could make it (what other choice did we have?), but we still had to pedal those last 12 miles.
But hey, the reward for riding a century is large. We got a beautiful bandanna. It's all about the bandannas.