Today is the first day of summer. I started training outdoors in early March. My first century of the year was in early May. Since then, riding has become less stressful. Because I’ve already ridden the Six Pillars Century in early May, I feel confident about my riding. The Century was a pressure test that I passed.
Every year I get ready for an early century, then the rest of the spring brings me events like the SMECO 75 and the Patuxent Rural Legacy Ride (I refer to it as Pax.). SMECO is a strange distance, 75 miles is usually around the point in a century when I start to tire. I normally get a second wind before the end of a century, but that “in between” distance it feels like you finish just as it gets tough. Pax is a metric, and that is a perfect distance. Long enough to challenge, but it unlike a century, which asks you to push through a little pain and fatigue to finish, a metric can be comfortable the entire ride. Pax is a scenic and enjoyable ride with something for everyone. Most of my weekend rides have been between 50-60 miles. If I keep riding, I’ll be comfortable on all the Century Rides I’ve signed up for in the fall.
This spring has had a lot of wonderful moments. Here are some of them that stand out:
A steep climb on the SMECO75 ride, literally just before the first rest stop. It was a cool morning, and the sun was just lifting the mist. At the top of that climb, a memorable feature of that event, the light was shining down on the hilltop, while we rode the tree-lined climb in the shade. At the summit, a rest!
A recovery ride that included a ride across the Potomac River on White’s Ferry, with a meal stop in Leesburg, Virginia. Cruising downhill to the ferry, and feeling free on a cool spring day. I felt the speed and joy of cycling. A comfortable ride with friends and a day to remember.
Riding alone between the second and third rest stops at the Patuxent Rural Legacy Ride. Seeing a red jersey far ahead in the distance, and catching that rider – and passing! Sitting with a circle of friends sharing laughs and a beer post-ride.
Riding in the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve, and watching two foxes cross the road just ahead of me. One stopped and watched me as I passed. Some things you’ll see on a bicycle that you just won’t see from a car.
My summer will be busy too. I have to keep pedaling to be ready for fall, the season when I ride most of my centuries. It’s been a good year so far, and it’s only going to get better!