It's 12:30 on a Friday night. My roommates haven't even gotten back from the party they're at, but I'm trying to convince myself it's morning. I remember seeing 11:10 on the clock, so I haven't slept more than 80 minutes. Why am I doing this?
It's 2 am. I've been driving for over an hour, and the rain is getting heavier. I am theoretically going to start riding at 3. Why am I doing this?
It's 3:30 am. I'm riding west on Route 20. It's still raining. There are somewhere between 10 and 20 other people on the road with me -- it's impossible to tell as all I see when I look back are the blinding lights of who is closest. My handlebar lights show very clearly how much water is coming off my front wheel and going onto my gloves. I still have 180 miles to ride. Why am I doing this?
It's 6 am. I'm at a Dunkin Donuts in Lee, Massachusetts, lying on my back. On the floor of the men's room. With my feet under the hand dryer. Every time it clicks off, I kick it back on. Why am I doing this??
If you've read enough of my writing you might think this is all a setup for the juxtaposition -- some beautiful and/or triumphant picture with the caption this is why I am doing this! -- but you're wrong. I never found particularly good reason why I was riding 300k, starting in the dark, and in the rain.
There lots of little reasons, I guess, to do 190 miles on a bike -- 12 hours in the saddle -- aside from the saddle sores.
I learned that you can get free plastic bags from Dunkin' Donuts and cut them up to make windproof socks.
I practiced my over-the-shoulder-pic-while-riding shot, a la Thom P
I got better at it.
I found a bike shop before this tire came apart and killed me.
This over-the-shoulder pic might look like a blurry mess, but it was a 15% grade. I also learned that there's a reason real randonneurs don't have backpacks -- two days later and my shoulders are killin' me.
It never looks steep in pictures, but roads don't switchback like that unless there's a good reason.
Dad and Linnea complain less than I do -- or at least less publicly.
We hit the 300k mark. We were not at the car. Luckily, by this time we were pretty used to riding.
190 miles will get you from Boston to Albany -- or from Westfield MA, to Great Barrington, to Kent, CT, to Copake Falls, NY, and then back to Westfield.
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One thing I find quite interesting is how my calves are not sore, at all, from 12 hours of mostly L1 riding. My quads are destroyed. We all know you can't get fast riding slowly, but it's interesting to feel why.
After 500k of this stuff I can say with some confidence that randonneurs, on average, are weird people. I suppose my presence does nothing to change that.
I'd rather suffer 45 minutes on a cross bike on the weekends than do this, but there's definitely something to be said for a ride that makes even serious cyclists say, "damn."
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