You ever have one of those days where you know what you ought to do, but for some reason don’t do it? And pay for it later? That’s what happened to me today…I’ll get to that later.
We left the house a little before 7:00 this morning to ride what we planned as a 60 miler. Mike was with us, and we started out in fine spirits in the comfort of early morning. After crossing the river and starting toward Mentor, Pam and I got cut off from Mike by an old fart going way too slow in a pickup truck. He actually pulled out in front of Mike, but Mike had enough momentum coming down a hill that he passed him. As Pam and I came barreling down that same hill on the tandem, I was tempted to do the same, but by that point we were approaching a blind curve and I knew I couldn’t. Before all was said and done, we were following this truck at 10 mph where we should have easily been doing 25 and the road was beginning to point up into a nasty climb.
When the guy finally got out of our way, we saw Mike stopped half-way up the hill with a derailed chain. Rather than stop half-way up, we thanked him for waiting on us and kept climbing. As we crested the hill, I just kept going thinking that Mike should be along shortly, but he never materialized. Finally, we stopped to wait for him at Highway 60.
When he finally caught up, he kind of sheepishly admitted that first his chain was stuck, then he managed to do a slow-motion, clipped-in tip-over trying to get started on the hill. Darn! We missed it!
We continued on through Elm Grove and circled back to Rogersville, noting that there were a ton of cyclists out on the road this morning. Like us, they were trying to beat the heat. Before we got to Rogersville, Mike started noticing that his back wasn’t feeling so great. He was struggling a little bit on the climbs and we wondered if he had tweaked something when he fell.
At Rogersville, Mike decided he probably didn’t feel up to continuing the full distance with us and would turn for the house. Pam was eager to finish the planned 60, so we reluctantly rode on without him.
One road we hadn’t ridden on a couple of years is White Oak Road, which runs between the old highway and KK a couple miles east of Rogersville. This is a fabulous little road, with lots of nice rollers that just suit the tandem. I highly recommend it if you’re local, but not a lot of folks go out there. We did today, and really enjoyed it. Surprisingly, we did see a couple other cyclists out there today.
After enjoying White Oak, we connected with B Highway to Northview. It also has a bunch of nice rollers, but it also has a couple of pretty big climbs out of creek and river crossings. After one of them, we saw this:
Can you see it? Probably not. In the field just below the tree-line, there is a little ant-line of something. Here, maybe this will help.
It’s still not much better, but maybe you can see it’s a line of turkeys. We could pick out two hens, and what looked like 22 young birds. They were just marching across the field towards the woods. They were actually the second turkey sighting of the day. It’s been a good year for seeing them around here.
At Northview, you begin what is essentially a seven mile climb to Strafford. When you get to that point, you’ve got to decide between two obnoxious choices for a road. You can stay on the south side of I-44 and ride good pavement with a lot of traffic, or you can go to the north side and ride on crappy road with not a lot of traffic. We chose the latter, but by the time we got to Strafford, we were both tired of being on that outer road with the interstate traffic howling in our ears the whole time. To make matters worse, we were fighting the wind at the point as well.
We stopped at the C-store in Strafford to refuel. That’s where I made my mistake. My original plan was to get a chocolate milk, a Gatorade, a small Snickers and a banana. But…I saw Pam getting a Pepsi, and it looked so good to me that I decided to swap my Gatorade for one as well.
Well, that was when I should have known better, but did it anyway. The heat was building, I was sweating, we were riding against the wind a bit, and we still had 18 miles to the house. I needed that Gatorade instead of the Pepsi. When we got about 7 miles from home, I noticed my mouth was extremely dry and it didn’t feel like I was sweating as much. At about 4 miles from home, I felt what was obviously the first twinge of a cramp in my right leg. From that point on, I had to be very careful about the way I rode to keep it from cramping on me.
We made it home without incident, but I told Pam that I didn’t think I had another mile in me today!
Here’s the GPS track for the day. We had to circle the cul-de-sac a couple of times to get the full 60 miles, but we did it. That’s our longest tandem ride of the year.