I had the pleasure of riding with the Clyde forum's Little Darwin this morning and afternoon on the Schuylkill River Trail. We rode from Audubon to Conshohocken and back, a distance of a bit more than 20 miles, followed by another two or so miles off the trail to the Perkiomen Cafe for lunch. The threatened rain held off, despite an at times forbidding sky, and the temperature reached 70 degrees.
I feel a bit guilty this evening for dragging Darwin down from his home to ride today. I'm so used to pushing myself hard I didn't realize that I was leading a demanding ride for my guest. We had scheduled 50 miles, from Audubon to Philadelphia and back, but this only Darwin's second ride in six months. Add in the fact that he's 80 pounds heavier than me, and we both saw it as a good decision to turn around early.
Darwin has a good sense of humor, and he seemed to spark me to wit as well. Since the return leg from Conshohocken to Audubon is on a slight upgrade, and today into a headwind, I pulled and Darwin drafted. This led to a lot of good natured kidding about pacelines. "We are a new entry in the Guinness Book of World Records - World's Widest Paceline" I said.
My new friend has big goals for 2008, including riding his first century. With determination and saddle time, I'm sure he'll get there.
Speaking of goals, to turn this ride into training for me, I rode from my home to the trailhead, 14 miles one way. Aside from someone in a red SUV screaming at me "Get on the sidewalk", it was an uneventful ride in.
Going home after seeing Little Darwin off was another matter. I rode strongly along the new extension to the SRT, and reached Phoenixville with energy to spare. However, the big lunch I ate at the Perkiomen Cafe - turkey hoagie with lots of onions, french fries, Diet Coke - soon enough made me queasy, and all the miles began to tell on me. I did poorly on the local hills on my way home, and the energy tank hit empty as I reached my driveway. Seven more miles and a fraction would have made the ride a metric century. Had it been two or three miles, I would have gotten back on the bike and secured the metric mark. But I thought about seven more miles as I sat in my easy chair, and didn't move.
54.48 miles total.