The weather forecast for this weekend called for lots of light rain and some thunderstorms. Not exactly what I was hoping for two weeks before I'll be doing a week of 50 to 70 mile rides on BRAG, especially when my one attempt at a 50 miler this year was less than ideal. I had finished that 50, but bonked hard at about 40 miles and limped in the remaining 10 miles. I had planned on riding the Challenge of the Centuries in Hartwell, GA this weekend for a chance to get in 2 long rides in somewhat hilly terrain - good training for BRAG. But with the bad forecast, I decided to stay home and get in whatever rides I could manage during the 3 day weekend.
This morning was very overcast and high sixties heading for low seventees by mid afternoon. Forecast called for light rain with thunderstorms likely after 2pm. After oversleeping and having a good breakfast, I hit the road at 9:30. It was not raining but looked like it could start at any minute. I took along a rain jacket just in case. I picked a moderately hilly route with light traffic. I prepared for my nutitional and hydration needs by carrying two large water bottles with Nuun and water in one and Juven and water in the other. A flask full of CarbBoom gel was packed in a handy flask carrier that strapped to my stem with velcro. I forgot to grab a bottle of Ensure that I had planned to drink about mid ride.
I started easy and kept the pace moderate for the full ride. I felt pretty good and had no trouble on the hills. I finally ran into a little rain at about 20 miles. I stopped and put on the rain jacket but stopped again to remove it 5 miles later when the rain stopped. My gel flask was empty when I came into downtown at 30 miles, so I stopped at the bike shop and bought a hammer gel. I headed back toward home to get off the bike by 2pm when the thunderstorms were predicted. Since there was still no rain, I took a few side roads to add miles, hoping to get in 50 miles. Instead of limping home for the last 10 miles, I was finding as many hills as I could to get in more hill climbing practice. I got home about quarter to two with 51 miles on the computer.
I don't know if it was the better nutrition or if I'm just getting stronger, but I felt great after the ride. I'm feeling much better about being ready for BRAG now. I won't be trying to set any speed records, especially on the first two days when we'll be riding in the mountains, but the distance should be no problem. Hopefully I can get in some decent rides tomorrow and Monday to practice for the day after day riding.
No pictures today as I didn't want to risk getting the camera wet.