I did the 30-mile bike ride Saturday, and I did not die.
The ride was in two parts, 15 miles to the parking lot by a soccer field, where we rested for 45 minutes or so, and then met up with people riding a century (100 mile) ride and rode the last 15 miles along with them.
The first half wasn’t too bad, though the heat was oppressive and inescapable. It was around 90Âº, with hot breezes. It was kind of tough, but I made it through ok.
At the rest stop, there was not really any cool place. There was some shade, but the breeze was still hot. There was a soccer field, where you could lie in the hot grass.
Bill’s family drove to the soccer field and brought snacks and water. I refilled my camelpack and ate chips to replenish salt and grapes because they were cool and sweet.
While we were waiting, a van pulled into the parking lot. It was marked as a Microsoft Live Local truck, and had an array of cameras on the roof. Microsoft and Google are both driving vehicles like this around, competing to make street-level panoramas. This bearded guy hops out of the van, goes around to the back, and thumps around for a while. Then after a while, he gets back in the driver’s seat and does donuts for a while. Then he tinkers some more and does some more donuts. Finally as we are getting ready to head out, he drives off.
Maybe he was calibrating the GPS, or maybe he was rebooting because his van had the blue screen of death.
Ben, who had done a few miles prior to the century, and thus was hitting 100 miles as he pulled into the parking lot, proceeded to set up a bike with a half-bike strapped to it for his daughter Lily to ride, and an enclosed carrier strapped to that for his son Matthew to ride in.
So not only did he ride 115 miles, he did the last 15 with 100 pounds of kids strapped to him. I mentioned Harrison Bergeron, but no one else had read it.
The second half of the ride was much harder. Although it had cooled down a few degrees and the breeze was no longer hotter than the rest of the air, the terrain was hillier. Also, the cool breeze, while nice, meant we were biking into the wind, making it that much harder. There were two spots where the hill was so steep I had to walk to bike a bit. I didn’t feel too bad, since a couple other people did the same. Had I known the second hill I walked up was only a few hundred feet from the end, I might have used the last of my energy and powered up it.
But I made it to the end, where there was a BBQ and I had a veggie burger, a hotdog, and a couple beers.
Next time, it better be a shorter ride, or a cooler day, I barely made it through this one. During the last half I had serious doubts about finishing, and considered giving up. Especially since it seemed to be uphill most of the way.
But I made it through, and seem none the worse for wear, though my ass is a little sore. I can see the benefits of padded bike shorts, but I’m not into the whole “spandex super-hero biker” look.