These past three weeks have been rather amazing for me.
First, on July 3, Mrs. Road Fan and I biked 32 miles in blazing heat, toward Detroit on a totally new (to us) road. The uphill was deceptively easy - uphill but with the wind. All around us were long views of rolling farmland interspersed with forests and streams. On the difficult way back, we were both in need of more water, and Mrs. was looking a bit pale. We stopped at a convenience store for water, a rest, and ice cream - no pie at this shop! I had a few better 20 milers in between the rainshowers.
The week after that, 7/10, we got out to Chelsea, MI early for the One Hell of a Ride, an extremely-well organized annual day ride put on by the Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring society. We chose the 65 mile route, which if we finished, would be the first age ride and the first metric for us each. The weather was fantastic, sunny and moderate with light breezes, and the selected roads were real smooth for our area. Scenery alternated between small towns, state forests, farmland, ponds, lakes, streams, families of water birds crossing the road, the odd curious and courageous deer, and local LEOs guiding the bike stream across some difficult intersections. Watering/snacking breaks were spaced 12 to 20 miles apart, with at least Gatorade, water, and fruit at all stops, and bagels with peanut butter at some, and a full lunch buffet at one of them. For $30. We (I'm an AABTS member) do this every year. We finished the 65 with surprisingly good freshness. Mrs Road Fan rode her Cannondale hybrid with a B72 saddle, and I rode
my Woodrup now in touring dress, with a Selle Anatomica Watershed Clyde. Both saddles were amazingly good. So that was our first age ride and first metric!
The following Friday I had a very good job interview, and picked up some visitors from Colorado, my cousin and a co-worker. We planned to ride the Shoreline Michigan Upper Peninsula tour the next week. First ride was Sunday in St. Ignace, MI (at the northern foot of the Mackinaw Bridge), just a warm-up circling Mackinaw Island. We did that tourist-style, just putting along looking at teh scenery and stopping at teh points of interest. If it hadn't been threatening rain we'd have taken teh central island road over the middle, which has unique foliage and some climbing. As it was we had lunch, strolled the shops, pie/coffee, then rode the ferry back to St. Ignace in time for dinner.
Sunday the tour began with a flat leg east to DeTour, MI, a small shoreline town allowing access to Drummond Island. A fairly hot but easy 57 miles, so it was a near-metric for me AND a second age ride. Stopping at a grassy harbor in Hessle, MI, I got a phone call that I have a job offer based on my interview (back into automotive engineering, as a product safety analyst for automotive electronics products). The company emailed all the paperwork I had to submit, but I couldn't read it on my iPhone. Forwarded it to Mrs. Road Fan, who at home could open the .pdfs. Dinner, ice cream, and a stroll in DeTour.
The next day (Tuesday) was inland and hillier, taking us north 67 miles to Sault Ste. Marie ("da Soo"). Some hills, a lot of flat, straight, agricultural roads. Population here is rather sparse, so the roads were in excellent shape, while old. Good breaks and routing, but lunch was at the 50 mile point! We stopped for sandwiches in a small town diner, and skipped the formal lunch stop. With 15 miles to go to da Soo, a storm came over the western horizon, so we hauled north at 18 mph (after 50 miles already!) for the last 17 miles. Strategy was good, we had drizzles on the road in da Soo, but the center of the thunderstorm was booming away behind us. I am SOOOO glad I could find a Watershed saddle! Camping was at Lake Superior State College, which is a college with a GREAT kitchen.
Wednesday was a rest/recovery day. I had some quad pain, but good knees and strength. My cousin (on-topic at 64 yo) and her friend (ditto at 68 yo) were likewise feeling decent. We took a side trip over the International Bridge to da Soo, Ontario to set foot in a foreign country, then on return toured a freighter, watched the locks work, and found ice cream. Dinner was at a local Greek restaurant, then we had a second dinner at the University upon return. Distance cycling IS hard work!
Heard from Mrs. Road Fan in the eve: paperwork for my job has some problems, and it will be risky to leave it for the next week since they are offering me an 8/2 start date. She agreed to come up to Soo the next day and take me home. I left my cousin and her friend to finish the Tour and, and left them my car at St. Ignace so they could drive home. They made it fine around the rest of the loop, and on the drive back to Ann Arbor. With all my paperwork submitted, I'm now on track to start work Monday 8/2. Back in the saddle again!
To boot, for our 25th anniversary I bought Mrs Road Fan a used steel Terry Classic, her first drop-bar road bike. On some trial rides she is adapting to it very well, and loves both the improved ride and zip.
With what I've learned about what riding I can do in a day (67 miles was not too hard!), with one 75 miler and a few 40-milers to work up to it, I should be able to do the Assenmacher 100 in two weeks, 8/15/2010. I'll probably take some of the extras off of the Woodrup for that one, and I'm going to spend some time on my much lighter Mondonico to see if less weight (about 9#!) helps me. So far that's the plan.
Anybody want to join me?