Having nothing better to do today, I rode out in quest of a century. Final tale of the tape 102 miles in just over 7 hours rolling time.
In some ways this was kind of audacious, since I've only been commuting 4 miles each way per day on the fixed gear lotus, but I felt I could do it. For this ride I used The Little Red Rocket, and switched back to clipless shoes. After the mustache bars, riding the ergo drop bars was a little weird, but nice for reducing hand fatigue over a long ride. Ditto power-grips to clipless pedals - but I wanted the ease and surety of clipless and had never taken my sneakers with the power grips over a long ride.
The route I chose went out beyond Leesburg VA. Things started well, but I had to keep the reins on for miles 1-30. Not having done a longer ride in quite awhile, I took things easy, and ended up going pretty strong for most of the day. I've done this before, and let me tell ya, miles 40-50 are the worst - little jumpy hills on a steady climb that beg you to burn out your reserve. This was no different, and I resisted the temptation, spinning up them at whatever speed my cadence gave me. Overall, this was a pretty successful strategy as I still had some gas left in the tank when I reached my building. Not much, but some.
I mostly ate and drank as I rode because I started late and wanted to finish while there was still daylight. Munchies were: one candy bar, one burrito, one small bag of cookies, one piece corn bread, 1 juice, 2 gatoraids, 3 liters water. I still have my one-handed-bottle-spin-into-backpack chop.
There was all kind of interesting activity on the trail - hawks, gophers, snakes, cardinals, and people (including, I suspect, some fellow centurions, based on where and when we passed each other going out and back). I saw one dead bunny (mangled under a wheel, no doubt) and another decided to run alongside me for awhile. It was going 16mph for 4 seconds before cutting off the trail. Overall, the day was pretty gorgeous and the majority of my fellow riders appeared happy to be on the trail.
For a number of reasons, this was a *much* needed ride; for some reason the physical activity of riding is great for musing over issues and questions. We'll see how I feel about it when I wake up tomorrow. as I ended up with pain in both knees and tightness in one calf for the last 25 miles or so. One knee flared up and then died down entirely - weird. That one felt like a swelling under my kneecap, the other one that didn't go away felt like a sour thread on the back of my knee. The calf I'm not worried about at all. So, in addition to finding someone who can give a decent backrub, I could use a legrub as well. Unfortunately I have nothing to bribe anyone with. However, I am currently in the endorphin zone; idly moving my legs feels very nice indeed. Now I should go clean the road gunk off them.
This will very likely be the last century I do in DC (or really, out of DC), and it was a nice way to close things down.