January Century

Among my goals for 2014, I decided that I should do one century ride each month. Somehow, most of January slipped by when, this past Sunday, I realized there was only 5 days left in the month.

So, I rushed into it a bit. Sure, I had a few 2 hour-plus trainer rides under my belt but not much time out in the chilly air.

Mile Zero. I looked confident then.

Bundled, breakfasted, and with a half dozen well-placed heat patches, I wandered around, splicing together various routes, stopping too often to take selfies and futz with my underprepared bike.

Mile 12, Lexington Green. That is not a nose hair.

Early on, my mind bounced from wondering if what I was doing was possible, stupid or a dream.

Mile 15, Lexington/Bedford line. If I keep stopping at this rate to take photos, I'll be home by NEXT Thursday.

I also thought about summer. How I miss riding my janky old mountain bike on Wednesdays with Brian and Carrie.

Mile 28, Carlisle.

Nevertheless, I was comfortable enough and made good progress. Although I had some electro-pop pablum my daughter plays endlessly stuck in my head. "I could lift you up..."

Mile 33, Westford. Always on my mind. 

The thing about being heavily bundled up against the cold: you are loathe to stop to pee, it's such a hassle to un/re-bundle. Thinking about having a beer didn't help.

Mile 51, Hudson. A bit of warmth and a pit stop.

My meandering route caused the halfway point of the ride to be Assabet River Bicycles in Hudson. I rolled up and Doug, in his jaunty black knit tam, kindly showed me where I could refill my bottles and un-fill my bladder.

The bathroom door was white and the seat was still warm.

Meanwhile, Tom Stevens was on the sales floor busily de-ricketying a vintage Raleigh that had belonged to his dad. I love listening to that guy tell stories.

Next was the must sustained ascent of the ride, in Marlborough, this was also the beginning of my descent from good form.

Mile 70, Sudbury.

For some reason, I felt compelled to attempt a crossing of Route 9. Apparently, in Southborough and Framingham this is hard to do on a bicycle, so after two failed attempts, I turned northeast towards Sudbury.

Fortune was with me as this adjustment meant I got several miles of flat road that allowed a 21mph avg speed for a while. Briefly, I felt like a bike racer.

Mile 87, STILL in Sudbury. Delirious, breaking the rules.

Sadly, my speed euphoria caused me to forget to eat or drink for the next 15 or so miles. I began talking to myself, muttering aloud about aggressive Prius drivers and neighbors with smallbarkydogs.

Then I got a snickers bar and a chocolate milk. I also needed to turn the 4 miles I was from home into 13 to complete the century.

And I was running out of daylight. And battery power on my phone. Able to get a txt off to my wife with a white lie about being "in the neighborhood" and "I'll be home soon".

Mile 100.12, home. Eyebrows.

I hit mile 100 right in front of the funeral home around the corner from our house. Appropriate. Luckily my phone was the only thing that was dead.

The February century should be easier.