Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bumpin' it old school...

Today's ride is a Century. Remember those? It's only 100 miles, and usually done for charity. The charity we'll support today is the Hands of Hope Clinic in Marion. If you look closely at the picture, you'll see that I'm wearing a wool jersey, and riding a steel bike complete with clips and straps. Warm up the "Way Back Machine" Sherman, we're going back to 1995.

Looks like a good turnout today. The weather is perfect, clear and mid 70's at the finish.

"You put your left hand in, you put your left hand out..." Actually, Larry and Mindy are giving directions to the hapless riders who don't read cue sheets. Apparently, last year several riders started from the square going the wrong direction and were angry that they got lost. Oh well... "you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around, that's what it's all about."

Meet Joe. He's a good friend with whom I'll ride the first 50 miles. He's only doing the 62 today, and after Creal Springs, the routes split for us. Joe and I (along with others) started a local bike club which is still alive today - (although on life support I fear.)

According to Thumper's mom, if you can't say something good, say nothing at all. But that would leave me with nothing to say about the SAG tables on this ride. They had a few bananas, which were mostly gone, and open bags of white bread (white bread!), jars of peanut butter with plastic knives stuck in them, and baskets of grapes which all the riders fingered. (Ewww) My wife had suggested before I left home that I should take my debit card in case I needed to buy something. Of course, she was wrong, I figured. She wasn't. Fortunately I keep a little folding money on the bike just in case. Looks like I'll be buying nutrition today.

Joe avoided the grapes and chose a banana. Good choice, Joe.

That's me. Old School. Having a great time today.

In case you missed the last picture, it's me again. You can never have enough pictures of yourself on your own blog, I say.

Joe said that he was hot, so I suggested we rest in the shade a little. He wondered if we had the time. "Hell!" I said. "This is not a race! We have as much time as we need to enjoy the ride." We stopped.

This is my favorite sign. It has no words, but the meaning is clear:

These two riders came out from behind me at the rest stop on Rocky Comfort road at about 85 miles into the ride. I hadn't stopped, since I didn't need any thing. For nearly 9 miles they tried to catch me. I noticed that they coasted on the downhills, meaning that they were spent. So I turned it up a notch and kept the distance more or less constant, and from time to time increased it a little.

I would watch them try to reel me in, then loose heart when I kicked it up a little more. Even when I stopped at the next rest stop to grab some water, they still were behind me.

But when I left the rest stop, they hadn't stopped, and they caught up and became "Ninja drafters". That's right, I saw them in my mirror, but they didn't say a word. Just silently let me do all the work while they rested a little behind me. I don't like Ninja drafters. So I began slowing to see when they would break. It was at 15 mph. They passed me without saying a word assuming that I was spent. I wasn't.

I pulled back up near them and kept the same distance for some time. They kept looking over their shoulder, assuming that I would fade. I didn't feel "fadey".

Finally I decided to pass Team Mack Ninja drafter. HE was spent. He was going slower and slower; and his form was gone. He was wallowing all over his bike like a fat man having sex. I dropped him without a word. I dropped his partner a couple of minutes later.

Two rules: don't ever try to catch me unless you're prepared to bring your "A" game and put it all on the road. You might catch me, I'm an old fat man with a beard. But it won't be as easy as it might look. And don't ever cuddle up behind be expecting me to do all the work without at least asking my name.

Looks they were waiting for me to finish. Cool. This is the way a ride ought to end!

Last word. After Joe split off from me, I briefly considered just giving it up. After all, it wasn't a RUSA event, it didn't count, and nobody would really care if I finished.

Nobody but me. I finish what I start if I can. And as it turns out, at the finish was a rider from Evansville who recognized my jersey. He said that he was a RUSA member as well as UMCA. His complaint was that there were no RUSA events in our area. I said that there would be now. We had a new region labeled IL:Marion on the website. And I was the new RBA.

I took a few minutes to outline my plans and dreams for our area, and he was excited about the possibilities. I figure he has friends at home with whom he can share this news and possibly we may get some riders from the Evansville area out of this contact.

The point is: if I hadn't finished, I'd have never met him. Maybe it won't turn out to be anything, maybe it will. But there'd have been no meeting if I'd gone home and not finished.

If you start - finish. Finishers will over time have more success than quitters.

Post-ride recovery drink. I've been thinking about it all day. Did you notice?

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