For the first time ever Today I rode a "special event", ie. one that you pay someone for the priviledge of inflicting pain upon yourself. This was the "Harvest Homecoming Bike Tour" set in lovely Starlight, Indiana. It was not as hard as it might have been; there are some truly monster hills in the area and they didn't make us do them. It still was pretty tough. In my 41 miles I climbed 3200 feet, and -- yes, I know -- while some of you consider that a warm-up for bigger and hairier climbs, it was my personal record for climbing and hence for suffering. I had fun.
A few memorable observations:
1. Doesn't anyone out there take care of their bikes? In the first 5 miles there must have been 20 mechanicals. After harsh Darwinian forces had winnowed the weak, the lame, the un-lubed and the unmaintained from the herd, the rest of the trip was almost mechanical-free. It was pitiful. And the cyclists who rode two abreast and managed to tie up the entire road AND had bikes that sounded like combines need to invest in some Tri-Flow or something. And use it.
2. I'm not such a bad cycllist, especially on a quick bike pointed downhill. Going uphill still got me dropped by many, although I never suffered the shame of pushing my bike up, unlike many of my bretheren out there.
3. The intermediate lengths can be lonely. The joy-riders rode 25 miles and the hammerheads 65, leaving the 40 miler to an assortment of wanabes, poseurs, and low-to-mid level Freds. By mile 30 the 40 milers had become dispirited and disorganized, with no one trusting anyone else to even ponder the possibility of a paceline. Was it perhaps a cycling version of "Lord of the Flies"? Anyway, by mile 34 I began to get weepy and just wanted to be held. Maybe next time I'll ride the tandem.
And that is how I spent my day.