I've had the last five days off from work and it was promising to be a dream come true. Monday through Friday off in early July and the weatherman had been predicting great weather! I was really stoked and had several solo rides in mind, until reality set in. The weatherman was wrong, wrong as rain I might add.
Monday I managed two rides in around thundering downpours, and one of those was my short commute home. The total for the day was a measley 17.7 miles. Tuesday was a tad bit better, I squeezed 30 miles in between severe storms. Wednesday I just gave up. We ran some errands and went to the Drive-in movies that night. Thursday dawned bright and dry. I had a date with my bride and we rode along the Erie Canal, had lunch and rode back. Later Thursday evening I rode out for an Ice Cream and totaled 26 miles of dry, pleasant riding for the day.
Thursday night as I lied in bed awaiting blissful sleep I was feeling a bit let down as I had hardly gotten much bike time in during my five day break. I then and there resolved to do a major ride on the next day. The goal was to ride my second century with a stretch goal of twice my age (116 miles, 58 yrs. old). I shared my plan with my wife and we agreed to meet for lunch part way through the ride.
Friday morning at 07:00 I was climbing onto my bike (well, into actually as I rode the Tour Easy), the sun was shining brightly and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The rough plan was to ride loops. I have a couple loops I enjoy that would serve my needs well. One takes me West from my house through the town of Greece and is approx. 30-35 miles long, and the other takes me East through the town of Irondequoit and is just short of 20 miles long. I headed East and about three miles into the ride I crossed this pedestrian bridge over the Genesee River Gorge. In reality it's the Pure Waters waste pipeline crossing with a pedestrian crossing built on top of it. As you can see from the picture, it's a nice structure and is accessable by ramp or stairs from both sides. Just a bit of one of the access ramps is visible through the trees to the left.
From my vantage point on this bridge I also took a picture of the Veteran's Memorial Bridge which carries U.S. route 104 accross the gorge, though the early morning light gave me some camera exposure challanges. If you look real close and see my orange safety flag up there crossing that bridge then I would have been caught in some time warp thingy because it was hours later before I made my second loop through Irondequoit and crossed that bridge. Nope, I didn't cross that bridge until I got to it!
After completing one loop through Greece and two loops through Irondequoit, I phoned my bride and we met for a nice hot lunch (love those cell phones). I was at the 70 mile point of the ride so hunger trumped photography and I gobbled down my hot turkey sandwhich before I thought to take a picture to share. I'm sorry, please forgive me.
I now had a 30-35 mile loop left through Greece and tentative plans to close the ride at the century mark and then ride out for an ice cream in the evening to reach the age times two mark. Well things don't always follow the plan and around the 90 mile point I was becoming quite weak. I guess Gatorade will only take a body so far. I knew that if I didn't find an alternate energy boost I was going to fall short of my stretch goal, and I kind of had my heart set on reaching it today. ICE CREAM! Of course! I stopped at a lakeside burger joint that also serves ice cream and I bought a large frozen custard, sat down in their air conditioned dining area and feasted on the custard. Now around here, frozen custard comes in three flavors: Vanilla (my favorite), Chocolate (my sometimes choice) and for those who can't decide....
So here I was, 96 miles into the ride. My stomach was full, my body had cooled down (I hadn't realized how hot it was outside, we actually hit the 80's) and I was renewed. I proceded to head back into the west, away from home. I got my stretch goal of 116 miles, in fact I beat it by four miles.
I was home at 06:00pm. Total time out was 11 hours. I spent 45 minutes eating lunch with my bride, and 15 minutes savoring my frozen custard for a total of 1 hour sitting down and refueling. I stopped approx. every 10 miles to drink Gatorade or water. I'm guessing that I probably rode for 9 1/2 hours so my avg. speed was possibly a bit over 12 miles per hour, not really very fast but it got the job done.