A can use some reassurance here...
Tomorrow is the beginning of our annual men's retreat, held in Middletown, MD, at a conference center perched on top of a serious climb. It's ~55 miles from my home, and I've invited another rider to come along with me. The route includes ~22 miles on MUP, which helps. After that, it's gradually "up" over backroads to Harpers Ferry, WV (~11 miles more), then on MD state highways with wide paved shoulders for the next 21 miles). The last ~1 mile is a horrifically steep climb up to the conference center.
Here's the concern: My buddy is 50-ish, in generally good condition, riding a fine 1980s Univega with upgraded RX-100 group throughout. His crankset is compact. Wide cassette gives fairly wide 14-speed gearing. I've checked the bike over completely last weekend. Wheels are true, brake pads are good, cables are new. Tires are new. Fit is good. He's not ridden much this summer, maybe a few times for a total of 40 miles or so.
I think that he can make it, but here is my plan in general:
- pull him as much as he finds comfortable
- maintain modestly high cadence and lower speeds
- take breaks every hour or 10 miles or so, whichever is convenient
- encourage small snacking and hydration, especially at the breaks
- stretch at breaks, discuss what worked in the previous 10 miles, plan for the 10-miles ahead to reassure him
- not hurry and keep the tone positive and light
I'll have the snacks, spares, tools, maps, locks, etc., on my touring bike, so he won't be loaded with anything. Temperatures will be comfortable in low 60s with partial clouds.
Is there anything I'm overlooking? Will this work? I'm allowing six and a half hours to arrive. I'd like some input from the collective wisdom and experiences. Thanks in advance, all.