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Summertime's coming and **the mind** is challenging me again

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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

Summertime's coming and **the mind** is challenging me again

Old 04-23-12, 07:25 AM
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Summertime's coming and **the mind** is challenging me again

Okay, not strictly a "long-distance, ultra-cycling or rando" post if we're talking about individual rides, but the total distance involved suggests this is the appropriate sub-forum rather than elsewhere.

A year or so ago I got a wild hair and rode 30 consecutive metric centuries in 30 days - something which was a major factor in my switching from DF's to a trike to a LWB. For some reason, there was no super-duper feeling of accomplishment afterwards; more of a sense of "okay, been there, done that, now what?".

Now I'm really not sure why but I'm thinking of doing the same kind of thing this summer. This year's variation is "100 centuries in 107-110 days". I must have a death wish or a major streak of masochism, right? This past Spring has been similar to last year in that I've been off the bike for a bit - more of a mental issue than purely physical ones like last year.

Last year, my knees felt slightly worn out after 21 days and I'd have appreciated a day off then. So, I'm thinking 7-10 days riding as desired/required, 1 day off and then continue.

I'm retired so available time is not an issue. Daylight is increasing so little to no night riding is required but I could do so to minimize riding in the afternoon heat or just for variation in the routine. My bike's in shape so that's not an issue. My body, well, I'm in no worse shape than I was last year at this time and 40 "extra" miles on a LWB is really fairly easy compared to time on a DF or trike.

One "problem" I ran into last year was mostly riding the same route daily - booooring which is it's own challenge. There are maybe 4 routes I could use for this year's deal, limiting the scenic similarities to some extent. Another consideration is that I did it all only in May last year - limiting the heat/humidity challenge somewhat. This year would encompass all of May, June and July with temps and humidity historically rising as the challenge progresses.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-23-12, 08:46 AM
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Why don't you leave home and go on a bike tour instead? Lots of riding, variety of scenery, no need to just accumulate boring miles.
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Old 04-23-12, 08:54 AM
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Can't tour. I have to be at home each night - eldercare requirement. But I've managed to negotiate daytime time off this summer where a sibling will take care of my Dad while I ride; previously, I had 90% of the responsibility for his fulltime care.
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Old 04-23-12, 09:13 AM
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Has randonneuring lost its appeal?
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Old 04-23-12, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Dudelsack
Has randonneuring lost its appeal?
It's been a like-dislike relationship for me. I want to ride WHEN I want to ride, not on a scheduled-by-someone-else schedule - even riding permanents/populaires requires adhering to a pre-arraqnged schedule as opposed to hopping on the bike at noon instead of 6am. Paperwork, limited as picking up and turning in a brevet/permanent control card may be, isn't my thing. Riding in a group has limited appeal, though it has been quite beneficial at times. And truth be told, I like the idea of riding from my door as opposed to riding/driving to a start point - at a time of my choosing as opposed to having to leave at 04:30am to get to a 6:30am scheduled start.

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Old 04-23-12, 11:28 AM
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It's a nutty idea, but go for it if floats your boat.

If you like competition, I think the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association has a most-centuries-in-the-year contest. A 100 rides won't win it by any means, but ought to put you right up there.

Riding from your front door limits your choice of routes, which promotes boredom, so keep an open mind there.

Some of the local randos have gotten into gravel-grinding, riding cyclocross or mountain bikes on the unpaved roads in the area. That opens up some new areas for you, and gets you away from traffic.

Personally, I'd enjoy it a bunch more if I had other people to ride with a good bit of the time.
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Old 04-23-12, 02:41 PM
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+1 on gravel grinding. I read in the latest "American Randonneur" that there's a small but growing club of people who accumulate 10km+ each year -- if there's a permanent or populaire in your area, that might be something to attempt.
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Old 04-23-12, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by valygrl
Why don't you leave home and go on a bike tour instead? Lots of riding, variety of scenery, no need to just accumulate boring miles.
+1

If I were even remotely interested in doing something like that, it would be my inclination to do something like ride across the US in one direction and then back across Canada or something like that.

Even with the restrictions the OP has, I'd be inclined to try to get in several short tours ... cycle out a couple days and back a different way.

And even if I couldn't do that very often, I'd try to come up with more than 4 route options locally. I'd be exploring every single paved road around in every possible direction. Of course, around here if you tried to do 100 miles a day for weeks on end, on a whole variety of different routes, you'd also be doing some serious climbing.
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Old 04-23-12, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
+1 on gravel grinding. I read in the latest "American Randonneur" that there's a small but growing club of people who accumulate 10K+ of rando miles each year -- if there's a permanent or populaire in your area, that might be something to attempt.
That's 10,000 kilometers, not 10,000 miles, by the way.
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Old 04-23-12, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
And even if I couldn't do that very often, I'd try to come up with more than 4 route options locally. I'd be exploring every single paved road around in every possible direction. Of course, around here if you tried to do 100 miles a day for weeks on end, on a whole variety of different routes, you'd also be doing some serious climbing.
I'd probably also do what Rowan and I do for our centuries ... toss the bicycle in the vehicle and drive 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, or whatever away, and ride from there. That increases route and scenery possibilities.

But then, I get bored if we do the same century route 2 months in a row!!
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Old 04-23-12, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by drmweaver2
TLDR:
As far as permanents go, you can arrange to start them at anytime you want. Which means noon if you want. That's kind of the point. Also, randonneuring is not only about doing brevets and permanents. I've done more 300 kilometer rides just hoping on the bike and heading out on my own for the day than I have 300k brevets or permanents. Heading out on your own and putting together new routes would be more in the spirit of it all as well. Just don't forget to share the good ones.
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Old 04-23-12, 09:35 PM
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Centuries everyday take a toll on your body.

Reconsider to 100 miles every other day.
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Old 04-24-12, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by robertkat
As far as permanents go, you can arrange to start them at anytime you want. Which means noon if you want. ... Heading out on your own and putting together new routes would be more in the spirit of it all as well. Just don't forget to share the good ones.
As far as the former goes, not quite.
RUSA - Rules for Permanent Riders -Article 3. In addition to the other registration requirements, to participate in a permanent a rider must propose a date and time to start the ride, and it must be agreed upon by the route owner. This will be the official start time, and it must be strictly adhered to.
So, you not only have to agree to a start time with someone else **ahead of time**, you have to pick up the control card beforehand and turn it in after each ride. And, like brevets, you have to leave within an hour of the agreed upon start time or the ride "doesn't count" for RUSA purposes.

As for your second point, I already said I don't like paperwork. Now you're suggesting I suffer the indignity of having to mess with route owner paperwork if/when someone else decides to ride one of my routes? Technically, isn't there a requirement to report DNS's? So even if someone else decides not to start their own ride, I'm stuck having to do "paperwork", right? I think you misjudge the extent of my dislike of any and all such paperwork.

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Old 04-24-12, 10:54 AM
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Put a unique twist/benefit onto your crazy idea and that will help to propel you even further without trying. What do I mean by that???

Let me tell my simple story that isn't so simple anymore....by a long shot.

Last spring I knew I wanted to make a long road trip back to Ohio to visit family for the first time since 2004. The trip got cancelled last year thanks to Hurricane Irene so the goal is still on the books for this year. I knew the only way it was going to happen was by bicycle. I hadn't driven in over a year and was on the verge of getting rid of the car altogether and going totally to pedal power for getting around. I knew I needed to build myself up to doing longer rides. As I started thinking about it I came to realize that I don't think I had ever put together two back to back days of 50 miles or more. Sure I had ridden 200 milers but I had never ridden two days back to back of at least 50 miles. I knew I needed to build up my mileage. I was hoping to get myself built up to doing several days in a row of 100 miles or darn close to it.

The week leading into Memorial Day last year I took off for a nice 123 mile ride. I had just did my first 100 miler in 15 years a couple of weeks earlier and I think this was the closest back to back 100 milers I have ever ridden. I was already thinking about a particular 200 miler I was hoping to do and knew I pretty much had to do before the kids got out of school for the summer. Once the kids were out of school the seacoast(where the ride was headed for) is pretty much a mad house the remainder of the summer. I was hoping to get a nice 135 and another 150 miler in before doing the 200 miler. I got home from the 123 miler and saw the weather forecast and knew I couldn't turn my back on it. 6 days later I closed the gap, quite nicely, and rode the 207.8 miler(still my longest to this date). 5 days later I did another 123 miler, totally different route from the first 123 miler. Toward the end of the ride my bike started acting up and I was forced back off the bike once again and back into pretty much only doing errand running and no pleasure riding.

As I was at the bike shop swiping tires at the start of the initial 123 miler an idea for another 200 miler hit me and with it the idea of something even wilder and wackier. The idea was to see if I could ride at least one 100 mile day per week for an entire year. I knew from the previous winter that it should be doable with some reworking of the errand running strategy during the winter months. As I thought about the idea I figured I would start it on the July 4th weekend with a 200 miler up to the White Mts. The July 4th ride didn't occur and instead waited until July 27th. With it the start of the weekly 100 mile days also got delayed. I have 39 consecutive weeks at the present and this week, when it occurs, will mark the 40th consecutive week that I've had at least one 100 mile day throughout the week.

Thanks to keeping track of mileage...NO THANKS THAT IS...shortly after starting the consecutive week streak I started noticing I was putting back to back impressive days. Instead of never being able to put together 50 mile days I was now finding myself putting together 70 miles days like they were going out of the style. Somewhere I totally lost all sense of normallcy(sp?) Sometime in early September I stumbled into adding up mileage. I noticed I was starting to accumulating some unbelievable mileage. I saw I rode 1500+ miles in August. I was shocked. I figured that was a once in lifetime opportunity...LMAO I also noticed my 60 day average(whether I had ridden or not) was getting very close to 50 miles a day. Heck I used to never have even been close to putting 50 mile days back to back and now my 60 day average was almost 50 miles a day. I knew I was off my rocker. I made it a goal to try to hit the 50 mile a day for a 60 day stretch. I knew by looking I would almost be guaranteed to lose it within a week after I achieved it because of the 200 miler I did up to the White Mts at the end of July. On Sept 21st I did a 120+ mile ride and finally caught up to the 60 day average. I was totally surprised I managed to pull it off. Well, to make a long story short, I still haven't lost the stretch. My 60 day average has been over 50 miles a day ever since Sept. 21st last year. I still don't know how I've pulled it off. The idea of ever making another 1500 mile month, YEAH RIGHT, OOPS. Every month since August 2011 has been over 1500 miles. Last month was 1789. I just recently crossed the 50 miles/day for 300 day mark as well.

More recently I started thinking about where I have been riding at. I started to realize that I was covering a lot of the state of New Hampshire. 97-98% of the miles I was riding was always staying within the state of NH. I decided to pull out a map and mark all state highways I had ridden on. I started to see I really had covered a massive amount of the highway in NH. I decided to go for yet another challenge...ride all the state highways in the state of New Hampshire west of Interstate 93 within a one year time frame. I had already been going to different areas to see countryside I haven't seen in the past or seen in quite a long while and now I figure this will make it so I will end up riding through pretty much ever town in the western half of the state. Yes, I plan on doing all rides roundtrip from my house, one day. I don't own a car anymore so I have no other options for how to get around. My rides do vary in length from 100-250 miles and I'm just letting this crazy idea of trying to ride all the highway miles in western NH feed my concept of trying to keep at 1500 miles/month for an entire year and to ride at least one 100 mile day/week for an entire year.

You can make numerous different challenges come altogether so they feed each and keep on propelling each other forward. Having one goal that is extremely lofty doesn't go as far as easily as when you have multiple goals that are egging each other on. I have to say that is the one thing for me that has been making it quite simple for me to accomplish all the goals that I have right now. Every goal feeds itself...but it also feeds all the other goals at the same time. It seems like any time I come up with a new goal that it always seems to fit right into the mix and continues to feed on all the other goals I already have. The thing I know I have to dread is the simple act of achieving the goals. As they start getting accomplished that I know I'm going to be in REAL BIG TROUBLE. I'm pretty safe through the end of July. After that...OUCH!!

Who says you only have 4 different potential routes. Who says to ride 100 miles in a day that you only have to ride 100 miles. I'd be willing to bet I could give you numerous different challenges that you could go for without even really trying that could help you propel yourself to 100 100 mile rides in 110 days. Unless you are that slow of a rider stop looking at the obvious and start looking for the less obvious but more challenging goals that can propel you toward the end of the summer.

Do I think your idea is crazy? YES!!! I'm nuts, but you got me beat. Good luck!

I just hope none of you wears off on me. LOL
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Old 04-24-12, 12:40 PM
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That's an impressive Goal to aim for. Centuries do take their toll, and you should give your body time to recover. Only taking off one day in 10 doesn't sound like enough for your body to recover properly. You don't want the whole experience to be a slog, so I would suggest adding in more recovery time and try and get as much variety in your routes as possible, or at least set different goals from time to time. Boredom is likely to become a factor after a while as well if you don't have enough variety. You wouldn't want to complete this goal only to find that it drives you off the bike for 6 months...
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Old 04-24-12, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH
That's 10,000 kilometers, not 10,000 miles, by the way.
D'oh! Fixed.
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Old 04-26-12, 07:57 PM
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Completed back-to-back (yesterday and today) 100 mile rides in 8.25 and 8.5 hours respectively. Flat courses both but faced 50 miles of 15mph headwinds on both rides (without the corresponding tailwinds!!!). Feeling pretty good. Don't know if I will continue or not.. but the Easy Racers GRR makes a huge difference in comparison to the DF and trike.
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Old 04-26-12, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by drmweaver2
Thoughts?
Originally Posted by drmweaver2
Now I'm really not sure why but I'm thinking of doing the same kind of thing this summer.
So if it wasn't particularly satisfying last time around and you don't know why you want to dedicate even more time to it this year why bother?

Why not come up with something you know you are actually stoked to do?
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Old 04-26-12, 11:42 PM
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why bother? Ever heard of a "wild hair"?
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Old 04-27-12, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by drmweaver2
why bother? Ever heard of a "wild hair"?
Sure. I might go listen to a country band even though I don't like country. But, before I would decide to spend more than a quarter of my year riding what sounds like a lot of the same roads day in and day out I'd want to have a better handle on my motivation and potential enjoyment than you express in your post at the top. If I had that sort of time free to spend riding I would come up with a plan I knew I would enjoy and that at the end I would look back and be stoked about.

Originally Posted by drmweaver2
A year or so ago I got a wild hair and rode 30 consecutive metric centuries in 30 days - something which was a major factor in my switching from DF's to a trike to a LWB. For some reason, there was no super-duper feeling of accomplishment afterwards; more of a sense of "okay, been there, done that, now what?".

Now I'm really not sure why but I'm thinking of doing the same kind of thing this summer. This year's variation is "100 centuries in 107-110 days". I must have a death wish or a major streak of masochism, right? This past Spring has been similar to last year in that I've been off the bike for a bit - more of a mental issue than purely physical ones like last year.
If your OP had stated something like "gosh I had a blast riding my 30 days x 100kms last year, but I want to really expand the challenge and enjoyment by trying 100 miles x 100 days this year" I'd at least understand why you'd attempt what you are suggesting. Sounds like you may well finish this years "event" and get off the bike at the end and say "Meh - what was that all about?"

Anyways it's your life and you could spend it circling your block for the 100miles each day if you wanted. I don't have to understand it, but you asked for our thoughts and I gave you mine.

BTW - here is a link to some info on Peter H's 48 day/15000km around Oz ride:

https://users.tpg.com.au/pheal/AroundOz/CheckPoit.pdf

Although his ride was equally "wild hair" the key difference in my mind is he had a reason to do it and he was pretty sure why he wanted to do it.
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Old 04-27-12, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by vik
Sure. I might go listen to a country band even though I don't like country. But, before I would decide to spend more than a quarter of my year riding what sounds like a lot of the same roads day in and day out I'd want to have a better handle on my motivation and potential enjoyment than you express in your post at the top. If I had that sort of time free to spend riding I would come up with a plan I knew I would enjoy and that at the end I would look back and be stoked about.



If your OP had stated something like "gosh I had a blast riding my 30 days x 100kms last year, but I want to really expand the challenge and enjoyment by trying 100 miles x 100 days this year" I'd at least understand why you'd attempt what you are suggesting. Sounds like you may well finish this years "event" and get off the bike at the end and say "Meh - what was that all about?"

Anyways it's your life and you could spend it circling your block for the 100miles each day if you wanted. I don't have to understand it, but you asked for our thoughts and I gave you mine.

BTW - here is a link to some info on Peter H's 48 day/15000km around Oz ride:

https://users.tpg.com.au/pheal/AroundOz/CheckPoit.pdf

Although his ride was equally "wild hair" the key difference in my mind is he had a reason to do it and he was pretty sure why he wanted to do it.
+1
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Old 04-27-12, 08:39 AM
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If I were to want to do 100 centuries in a summer (incidentally, the most I've done in a year was 30 centuries), and if I were forced to remain near home for them all, I think I'd have to do something to make them interesting.

For example, I might try to visit a different tourist attraction for as many centuries as possible, with the goal of really getting to know the area where I lived ... and areas further afield.

In combination with that, I'd try to ride every single paved (and maybe a few gravel) road with a 50 mile radius of where I lived. And then I'd start putting the bicycle into the car and driving out 50 miles in different directions to ride from there. And if that started to get boring, I'd drive out 75 or 100 miles and start riding from there ... with the goal of not only seeing all the tourist attractions within a 100 mile or 150 mile radius of where I live, but also a second goal of riding every single paved road within the same radius.

Once a month or so, I'd try to make a weekend or long weekend of it, and do a cycling tour. Sometimes from home ... sometimes I might drive out 100 miles or so, and go from there.

I might be tempted to approach it from a tour-guide perspective ... cycle, take photos, then do a write up about what it is like to cycle that particular route (the good and the bad). Put it all into a book and try to publish it. Lots of cyclists want to know what a particular area is like ... this is your opportunity to find out every single little detail about what cycling is like in your area over your 100 centuries ...and then to let cyclists know.
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Old 04-27-12, 03:37 PM
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Motivation is a totally intrinsic thing - often extremely hard to accurately verbalize. Pete Heal's article on his ride/record is all well and good, for instance, but "setting a new record" doesn't describe the feeling behind the desire for accomplishing that. What's behind the desire?

Also, consider his final comments:
reflecting back on the journey now it all seems like somewhat of a dream. I can't believe I was out there pedalling those distances for all those hours, every day...I never felt I wouldn't get to the end of the trip. It just didn't seem to be a super human effort- just an average bloke with a commitment to succeed
This kinda suggests he had a bit of an "oh well, what's next" feeling afterward.

Obviously, it's an impressive accomplishment that few can even dream of attempting. Otoh, why the need to set a record?

Comments noted.
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Old 04-28-12, 02:04 PM
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Another century with sub-9 hour total times - so 3 100-mile rides and 1 metric century in 4 days, something I've never done before. So, I guess this IS a viable "challenge" for me as I'm not sore at all (somewhat surprisingly considering how little I've actually ridden this Spring). I'd never have considered trying it on the DF, especially with as little training/general riding as I've done this year but the faired Gold Rush cruises comfortably and the solo aspect means I'm neither pushing myself to ride someone else's pace nor acting like an anchor for them (a negative ego thing).

Route familiarity will probably breed at least some boredom/contempt but I'm going to mount a small radio with an external speaker (vice using headphones) and hopefully that will make a difference.

I'll take tomorrow and Monday off for family stuff and start this challenge Tuesday, May 1st (just for ease of calendar-tracking) then see how it goes. If/when it's no longer at least relatively enjoyable... I'll re-evaluate.

Last edited by drmweaver2; 04-28-12 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 05-01-12, 12:48 PM
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Day 1/ride 1 - 105 miles. Dead flat route - winds: 6-14mph ESE - temps: never above 84F. Total time: 7:45. 2 very short stops to retrieve snack from rear rack bag and swap water bottles. Used a small am/fm radio with an external speaker mounted on my handlebars for probably 50 miles - major factor in warding off boredom on this very familiar route. Spent an hour last night doing overdue mechanical preventive maint/tuning: cleaned chain, adjusted brakes, adjusted derailleurs and dripped a drop of thinned oil into the cable housings, checked tire air pressures, double-checked tightness of all bolts, etc.. These all probably made some difference in comfort, speed and "stuff" as I rolled faster without even thinking about it. Then again, maybe it was just adrenalin - though that probably wore off after the first 15 minutes.

Pre-ride mental and pysical condition: mentally energetic and physically recovered from previous rides with no residual knee or muscular soreness.
Post-ride: totally not sore. Go me!
Not too bad for 4 centuries and 1 metric century in the last 6 days, but only this century counts for this "challenge".
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