- I really only like to do 100-mile rides if they're supported, with, like, formal rest stops and stuff. My preferred distance is about 60-70 miles...
- ... and while I could have gone for that option, weather reports were iffy for today (although they improved as the day approached, and the day is supposed to improve as it goes on; it's about noon as I write this), and I am just SO DONE with riding long distances while I'm wet and cold, because...
- ... my 61st birthday went by recently. I've had to do a bunch of (expensive and painful) dental stuff, and even though it's just dental stuff, it's been a memento mori, and...
- My pal Francisco promised a ride from Kim's today at 8:00. That's about 32 miles (plus the six-plus miles to and from the shop from home) and none of the usual route is more than about ten miles from home.
Finally, at about 7:56, up rode this gentleman:
...who introduced himself as Umberto, and who had enough English so that we decided we'd wait to see if anyone else came. I mentioned that Francisco had said there would be a ride, and, as he lives above the shop, I expected him to appear... but appear he did not, and, at about 8:05, we left, figuring we'd see some more people at Johnson Park.
We did see some more people (the roadway was closed for a road race, but the ranger let us ride though anyway, cautioning me not to run over any runners), but there were no cyclists waiting a the old town lot. Se we decided to do the usual route anyway.
We took off down River Road at a good clip... and Umberto just kept it up. At first, I was with him, but my energy started to flag. He assured me that the pace was OK for him, and kept a lookout for me through Bound Brook and down Elizabeth Ave. I did my best to keep up. He mentioned that part of Elizabeth Avenue was a "mini-uphill", but I'm not persuaded; I think he wanted to make the old guy feel better.
And he apparently wanted the company. So he kept just in front of me (or, sometimes, WAY in front of me, until he looked back and let me catch up), and I rode my tail off like I haven't in a long time. We sprinted through Johnson Park at about the posted speed of 25mph, cruised through Millstone, and picked up the pace again on Canal Road, where we stopped for a while at the parking lot at Six-Mile, so I could put my lungs back in.
There we met a newbie who's just bought a bike. It turns out he's moving to Princeton soon, so I told him about the Princeton Freewheelers (as he had been told by the folks at Halter's), and he said he'd join.
I chatted with Umberto a bit; it turns out he's Brazilian, and speaks Portuguese; he's only got a little more Spanish than I do, although he admits that Romance languages are similar, so he has a head start.
He gave ME a head start on the way to Coppermine, which we did about side-by-side, due more, I think, to his politeness and my gearing (I have a 46/34 on the front and a 11-28 on the rear) than to any hill-climbing prowess I might possess. At the top of Coppermine, the average showing on my Garmin was 18mph, and by the time we got back to the shop, it was 18.1.
My ride page, though, shows 17.8 (I think that's high), because I was so out-of-gas on the ride home that I might not have broken 15mph, even on the downhills. Still, I was home early, and took the time to rinse several pounds of road muck off the bike, clean the grit out of the brakes, and dry the chain preparatory to a re-application of lube, which, I expect, was mostly gone by the time we topped Coppermine.
For the rest of the day I'll be ether aching or napping. While I'm grateful for the deference shown by Umberto (I really am), I got some recuperatin' to do.
So what did you do on this grey day?