A recent thread about rating rides go t me thinking about some of my favorite rides. I quickly realized that some of the rides that I remember most fondly were rides that on the surface would seem to have been terrible rides. These were rides where I had to overcome some sort of difficult challenge to continue.
What were your best "worst" rides?
For me, the hardest challenge was a 200km brevet earlier this year. It was about 45 deg F and very windy. It was an out and back route with tailwind the first half. On the way home, the headwind kicked up to 30 mph with 40 mph gusts. If that weren't bad enough, the cold wind aggravated my dry-eye syndrome (I learned later) with the effect of causing my vision to slowly cloud up. It was like riding in fog and the longer I rode, the foggier everything got. In the last 20 miles, I literally had to navigate by looking down at the white fog line on the road. Fortunately, I paid close attention on the outbound leg and was able to identify the turns from large, barely discernable, landmarks because my vision got so bad I couldn't read the cue sheet, my cycle computer, or even street signs. The hardest part was riding down a county road that had no fog line. All I could do was ride slowly and steer by the contrast between the road and the grass shoulder.
I considered stopping, but I was alone on the course and didn't know when another rider would come by. I could have called my wife, but it would have taken several hours for her to drive to my location. I did eventually make it back to my car where I had to sit for about half an hour before I could see well enough to drive down the street to a restaurant. After another hour or so in a warm room, my vision cleared up. But those last 20 miles of riding were some of the hardest I have ever done. But I did it, and got credit for completing the brevet. I certainly wouldn't want to do it again, but that ranks up pretty high among my favorite rides.