Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Accidental Century

This morning, the hardmen of Rutgers met up to get in a good block of base miles. Inspired by our predecessors, like Eddie Merckx, Johan Museeuw, and Charlie Florek, we set out in mildly miserable conditions to ride to Frenchtown.

"The ride will be to Frenchtown, about 60-70 miles", said Jay. Jay lied.

So HardtailJay, NicknamelessMike, SpikyhairWill, and NinjaI rode. We rode an easy paceline on damp roads, working into the westerly headwind. For food, we had Accelgels and the road-grime being flung into our faces. As we neared Frenchtown, it started to rain, then pour. That was nice.

After almost 50 miles, we descended into town, where there was a bike shop and at least 4 coffee shops. Given the soaked chamoises and the crusty spandex that we were wearing, we chose the shop with the cheapest looking chairs, all but cleaning them out of their stock of pastries.

Jay pointed out that at this point, we were just across the Delaware River from Pennsylvania... so we had to cross the bridge, just to say "okay, we're in Pennsylvania" and then turn around.

We took a slightly different route home, cutting about 10 miles off our return trip. We passed the time by making fun of Ted (who'd slept in rather than joining us) and singing songs, often with modified lyrics ("I love tailwinds" rather than "I want candy", for example). Finally, we got home... having ridden 87 miles.

This wouldn't do. Sure, we'd only planned on 60-70 miles. Sure, we'd long since run out of food and drink. Sure, we had road-grime in our mouths, up our noses, and under our eyelids. But we couldn't go home without finishing the century.

So, having already ridden to PA and back, we rode a Monday Night Loop, probably slower than any previous Monday night recovery ride. When we reached River Rd, my computer read 96 miles. Will was feeling a little bonky, so he rode home, finishing with 98 total miles. Jay and I did another lap of the park, reinvigorated by the crumbled NutriGrain bar I discovered in my jersey. I'll confess, as my computer hit 100.00, I let out a little victory salute.

It would've been fun to ride with Blake and Chris, who stayed indoors to do the "Trainer Ride of the Century". Instead, we trained by riding a century.

Will and Don

Hardman Wrapup:
  • For riding 45 miles with a 60psi rear tire and a rubbing wheel without once complaining, Jay is a Rutgers Hardman.
  • For spinning an obscenely high cadence in a tiny tiny gear for the entire ride, Mike is a (honorary) Rutgers Hardman.
  • For doing the lion's share of the pulling, and for eating a spoiled gel without vomiting, Will is a Rutgers Hardman.
  • For tolerating Jay, Mike, and Will (and all of their terrible puns) for almost 7 hours, Don must be the hardest Rutgers Hardman of them all.