I had it in my mind that I really wanted to do a metric century ride before the end of 2015 and in light of having some time on my hands decided to go for it. Tuesday was supposed to be a nice day and about 55 degrees. But I should know better - in Kansas that could mean that the nice weather doesn't show up until today for instance. Regardless I had been doing so much to get ready that I just wanted to get this thing done. It felt like the universe was conspiring against me, but the reality is that I am often my own worst enemy.
The night before the ride I decided I needed to prep my bike. Word to the wise, don't wait till the night before to prep. This needs to be done several days in advance. I had gotten a flat over the weekend ride and needed to have that addressed so I ran up to my LBS and they got me squared away. When I got home I decided to switch out my handlebars to something better suited for the long ride. I've done this a ton of times with no issues but Monday night was the exception. I was almost done when I noticed a gap in the head tube that needed to be addressed. As I tore everything back apart I accidentally forgot to hold something in place and POW! I had pieces everywhere. I tried for about 10 minutes to fix it but had no idea what order everything went in. I grabbed a zip-lock and put all the loose parts in it, threw the bike on the carrier and raced to my bike shop. Thankfully the guys put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Somewhere in the craziness of trips to the bike shop and working on my bike I put my wallet in one of my tool box drawers. Well the morning of the ride I couldn't find my wallet! Panic city! I retraced steps, drove to stores I went the night before and just flat out panicked. Well about 45 minutes later I found the wallet (after looking in the freezer and all kinds of other unlikely places). At this point I was dangerously close to the start time for my ride. The ride I planned to do was an RUSA ride and is therefore timed. You have to declare a start time in advance and whether you start on time or not, the clock starts right at your declared start time. I decided to go for it and try to make it up in the ride. I started about 20 minutes late, but in the end it wouldn't have mattered if I had started on time as it took me an hour longer than the allotted time to complete the ride. You get 7 hours and 20 minutes to complete the 68 mile ride and it took me right at 8 hours. I'm not mad for not finishing in time. I'm proud of myself for finishing! It was both a great ride and a grueling ride. I won't bore anyone with to many details. I'll just give a few highlights and some musings I had along the way.
The ride is called LeLoup de Loop and starts in Olathe and takes you through Gardener, Edgerton, Wellsville, Baldwin City and Vinland before looping back through Gardener and then back to the start in Olathe. My trip log showed it at 69 miles and I burned over 8,000 calories along the journey. The scenery was spectacular and I wish I could have taken a little more time to stop and take pictures along the way but for so long there was a chance I was going to make it in time so I pushed ahead. The weather never really warmed up to the point I had expected, but it was still decent weather. The tough part was the WIND!!! Every time I was going south I was fighting a headwind. All this wind really got me thinking.
Wind is such a powerful force. In my case it was trying to work against me to keep me from achieving my goal. We often have forces that try to keep us from achieving something great. It could be other people who just don't think a task is worth doing, or maybe they just don't think YOU can do it. If I had turned around to have the wind at my back it would have been way easier than going on but I would have ended up back where I had started and would not have completed my task. Each uncompleted task makes it easier to give up in the future. Before you know it, you aren't even trying anymore!
I'd like to drive the route sometime, or leave much earlier and cycle it again at a much slower pace. I saw some great scenery and really wished I had taken time for pictures. Maybe the take away is that life doesn't always have to be a race. Stop and smell the roses. Take the pictures. Enjoy the surroundings. While I plan to do more rides like this I also plan to make more time for all the above.
With all other rides I've done this year, I'm now about 54 miles away from having ridden 1,000 miles in 2015. I will achieve this goal! Merry Christmas to all and get out there and do whatever you are being inspired to do!