THE TRAINING ROUTE
- Today we did the “Warrenton Ride.” We started in Louisburg, at Michelle’s infamous Rosie’s Steakhouse & Seafood Restaurant. We rode 25 miles to Warrenton and 25 miles back.
- On this ride, we had a “sweep vehicle” for the first time. The job of the sweep vehicle is to start off ahead of us on the route, perhaps stop at our first turn, and wait and point everyone to turn. They also then cruise back and forth along the route, making sure everyone is doing okay. If someone gets too fatigued to finish, or has a problem with their bike that they can’t fix on the side of the road, or needs assistance of any other kind, the sweep stops and assists. We had two volunteers today, so two separate cars sweeping the route.
WHAT I LEARNED
- The actual ride route has been announced:
Daily Mileage (these are approximations):
DAY 1: Opening to Camp 1 (Raleigh, NC to Warrenton, NC): 68 miles
DAY 2: Camp 1 to Camp 2 (Warrenton, NC to Richmond, VA): 115 miles
DAY 3: Camp 2 to Camp 3 (Richmond, VA to Bealeton, VA): 95 miles
Day 4: Camp 3 to Closing (Bealeton, VA to Washington, DC): 65 miles
- What a downward spiral in confidence the combination of cold, hills, headwinds, driving rain, and 50 miles can cause.
- Why the Warrenton hills are so “infamous.” There were many hills on this ride, and on the way out it was freezing, and very windy, and the wind wasn’t to our backs.
- How it feels to ride in the pouring rain. The first thing that happened was that my combination prescription/sun glasses became useless. I found myself looking through a one-inch viewing area delineated by water dripping off the front of my helmet, and my glasses resting on the end of my nose below. At first my attention was on my t-shirt, and how quickly it was becoming drenched on the shoulders. And it was already so cold. Suddenly, though, I had bigger problems. In an instant, my shoes were actually sloshing in the toe straps. I had on black tennis shoes, and as I put pressure downward on the pedal, I could see shiny lines all along the leather where the water was oozing out. My natural inclination when the rain started really driving was to go faster to get through it quicker. However, I learned that there is a significant cost to that inclination, that being that the faster you go, the more water your front tire spews up into your shoes, socks, and crotch. I was amazed at how instantaneously my concern about my wet t-shirt had gone south!
- That, in the country, on narrow two-lane roads, when a vehicle with a sign on it that says, “Oversized Load” blows its horn behind you a good ways, you’d better get off the road, quickly, and way off the road. Those mobile homes they’re carrying hang way off the side of the road.
- That “cross training” feels pretty darn good up a long hill at the end of a hilly, windy, wet 50-mile ride.
- My frame of mind. (See “HOW I FEEL SECTION” below.)
- Ascending the last hill of this ride wet, tired, and discouraged, a slight spasm started in the center of my front left thigh. I shifted into a higher gear hoping pedaling slower would decrease the throbbing. However, while I was pedaling slower, I was having to pedal harder, which indeed did not decrease the throbbing. Quite the opposite happened. At that point, I decided to bite the bullet and “cross train,” which actually felt amazingly good. I was close enough to the end of the ride that I considered walking the entire rest of the way. However, as I crested the hill my thigh felt fine, and I got back on the horse – so to speak.
HOW I FEEL
- This was a very discouraging day for me. In addition to the cold, the hills, the wind, and the rain, I found myself toward the end of the ride lagging further and further behind Joe. I felt like I was “holding him up.” We discussed this at the end of the ride. I told him that I thought as our rides got longer and longer, our age difference is bound to become a factor. Not to mention that he’s in better shape than I am, as he’s working out in addition to doing this ride. And, since we’ll have sweep vehicles for these long rides, there’s really no reason to “buddy ride” any more.
- At the end of this ride, pulling in to the starting spot, I thought about our second day of the actual ride. It’s 115 miles. This means, that if this were the ride, I’d have to get right back on this bike now and ride another 50 miles, and then 15 more! At this point, I just couldn’t do it. This, also, greatly discouraged me.
- Joe and I went into a Subway restaurant in the shopping center where we finished, and had lunch. By the time I got nearly to the end of my sandwich, I was shivering so bad from being wet, and then cold in the restaurant from the air conditioning, that I had to go outside to warm up.
Joe and I had lunch at Subway right after the ride. I was freezing, actually shivering by the end of the meal, and had to get outside to warm up.
I drove home from Joe's, and immediately took a two-hour nap. My feet were black from my shoes, through my socks. Those shoes definitely won't dry by tomorrow morning.
I went to Evening with Friends, and got there at about 7:55. It started at 8:00. Mark was working the entrance gate, just like last year. I made my $25 donation, and went in.
There were tons of desserts, and finally, after two years of running short, they did not run out during the night. There were a lot of riders there. I spent a good chunk of time talking with David Lee.
A few of the book club guys were there as well: Charles, Russell, and Mark. Now that I think about it, I'm surprised I didn't see Kevin there.
Jay, and some of the games night crowd arrived later on, as several of them had been at Jim and Brian's for a dinner before the gala.
I found myself anxiously waiting for Robert to arrive. I surprised myself, really, with the excitement building up in anticipation of his arrival and our "cat and mouse" game. Finally, between 9 and 9:30, I caught a glance of him. Then lost him.
The next time around, on the watch, I saw him, and followed him to the Krispy Kreme table. Just like last year, I said, "You're a beautiful man." I got all teared up; I was so moved. That really was a special night a year ago, and he's been a special man in my life this last year.
We left there at about 10, and he stopped by. We laid down for a while, and MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMed. He left after 11.