Last of the major rides conducted during my brief hiatus from this forum:
Little problems can ruin your day if you let them. Tim, his son Ian, and I all found this out today, October 14, at the Bucks County Covered Bridges Ride.
The three of us planned on riding the metric century. Shortly before Tim was to register he discovered his cycling shoes were at home, 90 minutes away. After some prodding Tim managed to find a set of platform pedals with toe clips to use. He then left his water bottles in the car, along with his food, as we set off on the 50 mile course.
Meanwhile, I was shivering under a base layer, jersey, sweatshirt, and t-shirt. Long fingered gloves would have helped me stay warm against the brisk autumn air. The temperature at the start was about 40 degrees. But they were back at MY house, alongside my climbing skills. I had to walk the first of many hills on this ride - see the elevation profile to understand why. I quickly fell behind my friends.
I caught up with Tim and Ian at the first rest stop, just in time to offer my multitool to help fix a problem with Tim's pedals. A couple of miles out of the rest stop, Ian fell, banging up both the rider and his four day old Surley Cross Check. Ian was bruised; the bike had to have the front brake loosened to the point it barely functioned. The brakes worked well enough that Ian, and his dad, thought he could continue.
Ian himself was barely functional for the rest of the ride. In addition to some scrapes and a bruised hip, he was suffering from the ride itself, never having ridden 50 miles before, let alone 50 miles on hills like these. I did feel a little quiet pleasure at holding up better on the ride than a man half my age. Father and son making a wrong turn at one point and adding 4 miles to their day didn't help Ian. It did help me, since I caught up to them at the last rest stop. Or more accurately, they caught up to me, arriving just as I was to leave. We left the final rest stop at 5 minutes to 2, and completed the final 12 miles of the ride by 3.
The 'suffering' on the ride was a price well-paid for such beautiful scenery. October is a glorious time for the nature lover in Pennsylvania....