This past weekend, I participated in a bicycle race. Despite only having one other teammate in the field, I felt as though our chances were good. Sure, no one was competing against us and our task was seemingly simple – ride 100 miles without actually going anywhere, raise money to fight cancer, and enjoy a beautiful June day in Boston – but challenges remained. I’ll get to those in a minute.
First, I must introduce my teammate to you (well, as much as is possible given that I haven’t fully introduced myself). Despite my charm and wit, the only person I could cajole into joining my 100 mile march of mind-numbing, uh, ecstasy was my better (and decidedly more feminine) half. She was decidedly against me referring to her as the Reluctant Cyclist and insisted that any reluctance to cycling she harbors is purely meteorological. So, for the purposes of this blog, she will be the Fair Weather Cyclist.
We chose an 0.83 mile loop adjacent to Boston’s cruise ship terminal for its lack of traffic and elevation change.
As soon as we arrived at the course we got right to work. The first order of business was acquiring a mountain of quarters to feed this bad boy, the CITY TOILET:
As the laps ticked by, the stiff headwind took its toll. As we discussed in the team bus before the race, I would be on lead out duty and I would be starting the lead out from mile zero. Despite the blustery conditions, the weather remained reasonably fair just behind my bespandexed backside.
As mile 50 approached (the agreed upon feedzone location), the winds seemed to shift. The laps ticked by with increasing rapidity and we posted our fastest lap time. This turned out to be a cruel mental trick as the mere thought of food made us ride faster. We had also been joined by bicycle-wielding friends who brought us bananas, cheer, and a most important break from the monotony. We enjoyed a much protracted lunch break.
Well over fed, we reluctantly climbed back upon our steeds (you can actually get off your bike in the feed zone when no one’s chasing you) and quickly found out that the headwind had, in fact, not been lessening and we were stuffed and lazy.
Lap times soared. Moral was low.
The same potholes were avoided, the same wind was fought, and a tiredness set in. I began to drop the Fair Weather Cyclist with increasing frequency. Despite being pre-race favorites we were cracking under the pressure and monotony.
You see, the Fair Weather Cyclist had never ridden more than 67.5 miles before and around mile 85 she admitted to me, “I’ve been on the edge of tears for the past three laps.” She was only half-serious but the serious half of her statement was telling – the wind and monotony were taking their toll.
We devised a new plan. We’d continue on our course until mile 92. Then we’d take the scenic route home and surely we’d be beyond 100 miles. As we turned on to our street, my eyes leapt out of my skull. We were less than a quarter mile from home and we were at mile 98.7. A large lap of the neighborhood ensued and we ended the ride at 100 miles and not a tenth more. We are proud winners of the “Seeking refuge from headwinds in the music playing CITY TOILET” division.
Thanks to the Fat Cyclist for coordinating this event, although in my humble and self righteous opinion, he went somewhere on his 20 mile course. I know we’ll be back at it next year, but only if the weather’s nice.