Sunday, August 10, 2014

Epic Metric

Epilogue - June 1 2014.

Once again Your Humble Narrator participated in the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure.

Regular readers will recall the post-event narratives of the past 3 years: There was 2013's "108 Miles of Solitude". 2012's "2nd Century" and 2011's "Ride of the Century".

But the team failed to form this year. As a solo rider I questioned whether it was going to happen. And then. At about 8 weeks out, fellow 2011 and 2012 team rider Cerasela contacted me to get some training rides in and join her team. So with 2 weeks before the ride, the calls went out. And generous donors responded to the tune of over $1,400 in support of a cure for diabetes.

Cerasela was ready for the complete 108 mile ride. YHN was committed to only the Metric Century. However, the beautiful weather and team spirit called for something more epic. So the game-day decision was made to split the difference and ride the "Century Short-Cut Route", 88 miles, through the rural and rolling Virginia countryside.

The 2-member Ride For Health team rolled out at 7 AM. Cerasela hailed her signature, the musical "Pass-ing Left" along the route to Trail's End in Purcellville. She has explained to me it is the modulation of tone (lo-hi-lo) that makes it so effective. Somewhere southwest of there, the team separated and rode together in spirit only. You have to ride at your own pace.

At the shortcut checkpoint, there was only gratitude to turn east along a new route. I had sufficient recall of the route's southernmost 20 miles through Rectortown to last a lifetime. Much of the shortcut's ride experience was the same, but I was glad to bypass the "Beware: Extremely Steep Hill Ahead" section this year.

Somewhere around mile 50 an oasis appeared in the middle of nowhere. At an intersection of 2 gravel roads in the middle of a field, 2 cases of bottled water stood warming in the sun. If it weren't for the fact they were in the shoulder next to a route marker, one would have thought they just fell off a truck. But we were all grateful for the water, warm or otherwise.

As explained previously, it is at this point - about 3 hours in - that one needs to find the zen of the ride, because there is still another 3 hours + to go. Stop looking at the odometer! Stop looking at the clock! Keep Pedaling! Mercifully, it occurs. You lift up your head as you return into Purcellville. A sea of roofs once again on the outskirts of town. Civilization?

AND THEN. As I am casually looking around the neighborhood to continue my intentional distraction I traverse the Pothole from Hell, Purcellville's own Darvaza Gas Crater. I was amazed that I wasn't swallowed whole. Instead I received the most bone-jarring pothole hit of my career. OK, maybe I was just sensitive at 68 miles, but every time I see a pothole now I think of that one. And every time I hit one, I think "IDIOT! PAY ATTENTION!"

Glad I was able to ride, glad it was over, and glad it's only once a year. But hey it's not too late! They are sponsoring a 50-mile ride through DC in September! There are also 13 and 33 mile routes. If interested - here's the link.

Thanks once again to all who donated! Thanks to the sponsors, and thanks especially to FreshBikes, who attempted to fix my failed front shifter at mile 70. Visit them in the Mosaic District.