Riding the century ride, that is.
We had promises of it being better than last year because the roads were NOT Alabama roads. And that was correct.
Still, 100 miles is 100 miles, and it was pretty miserable toward the end. Correction: It was pretty miserable toward the middle. From the middle to the end was a special form of hell all by itself. Correction: From the middle to 10 miles from the end was a special form of hell all by itself. The last 10 miles were heavenly. But I may be in the market for a butt transplant. (It isn't really the butt, but to discuss the actual anatomical location would be indelicate. To say the least.)
Our first 10 miles today were on a bike path that is shady and fairly flat, and naturally free of traffic, so those were pleasant miles. We knew we would also return by the same path, so as Rita kept saying, "We really only have to ride 90 miles, because those last 10 are like a gift." I finally told her that "90 miles" and "only" didn't belong in the same sentence.
There were times today when I thought I should make a point to hang out with Rita more. She's so positive, so upbeat, so cheerful. All. The. Damn. Time. At about mile 75, though, when she said in her best cheerleader-type voice, "Guys, we're three quarters of the way through, and it's the hardest three quarters!!!!!" I almost told her to put a sock in it. There's really only so much cheerfulness a person can stand, especially on a 100-mile bike ride.
Rita was kind enough to stay with us all day, however, even though I'm pretty sure she had to dial it back a few notches (most of her notches?) to ride at the pace Rozmo and I tend to keep. I thought it was because she's much fitter and about ten years younger than I am, then I found out she is the same age I am. I'm trying not to hate her guts. I didn't always stay right with them, but I was never far behind, and I always caught up.
Rita kept saying that at mile 55 we would be at the highest point of the day, and it was "all downhill after that." I didn't want to come off as a Negative Nancy (sorry to any of you named Nancy out there), so I didn't point out that just because we had passed the HIGHEST point of the day, that didn't mean we wouldn't still have to do some ups-and-downs. I didn't want to dampen her enthusiasm. Wait...yes I did. Only it's impossible to dampen Rita's enthusiasm.
There were some awesome fraternity boys manning a couple of the rest stops, and they were truly delightful. They were selling pink bracelets to raise money for breast cancer awareness, so naturally I bought one. Rozmo bought five. Overachiever. One of the fraternity boys also served as the designated driver for his friends last night, so he was operating on about 30 minutes of sleep. On the century day. And he was smiling the whole time. Gotta love him.
When we got back and went to get our precious, prized bandanas, I came out to find my water bottle on the ground. I didn't think much of it, until I realized the cage was broken. A gentleman (?) came over and apologized, saying he was the guilty party, he wasn't watching what he was doing and knocked my bike over. (That's almost akin to someone keying your car.) He saw me standing there with the pieces of my water bottle cage in my hand, but he didn't offer to pay for the damage. (I probably would have refused anyway, but still.) Only after I had the bike back at the RV did I realize that BOTH water bottle cages were broken, and it cost me $36 to replace them. I could have managed with one, but not with zero. I could also have had carbon cages for $100, but water bottle cages is not an area in which I'm inclined to splurge.
|This is Ken, Janet, and Janet's daughter Courtney. Until Friday, Courtney had never been on a bike ride longer than 15 miles. She rode 50 on Friday and 100 today. I bow down to her.|
|Rita and Rozmo. This was at the rest stop at the end of the trail at mile 10. It was also the rest stop at mile 90, but I was pretty much over taking pictures by then. They were still smiling, however. Especially the ever-cheerful Rita.|
|Me, Rita, and Rozmo with our bandanas. Right before I fond out about the idiot breaking my water bottle cages. I mean, the nice gentleman who confessed to knocking my bike over.|
|I hung my bandana up in the RV, and I can't bring myself to take it down. It may still be there next year when time for BRAG comes around in June.|