Century of cold

In my quest for 7,000 miles, I knew I had to get in at least one monster ride. Unlike many of my cycling comrades, who become saddled to their indoor trainers once seasonal temperatures drop to 50 degrees or below, I choose to ignore the cold conditions and keep on pushing the pedals.

So I got it in my head to do 100 miles in one day, and I was able to accomplish my goal. I'm no stranger to century rides, but not under such shivering circumstances. Here's an overview of my recent December Dash, albeit without the speed:

Dressed for success ... and cold temperatures!

— Fully aware of the limited daylight, I started out at 8:40 a.m.; the outdoor thermometer registered at 25 degrees, with a "feels like" reading of 19. Winds were a gentle 4 mph.

— I took my first break at 10:42 a.m., having been on my Trek Domane bicycle for two hours and covering 27 miles. I made it a point to schedule all my breaks at home, which allowed me to change into dry clothing. While there, I consumed hot tea, rice pudding, a banana, fig bars, and plenty of water. I was back on my two-wheeled steed at 11:14 a.m. It was now 36 degrees, "feels like" 30, and winds at 6 mph.

— The second break came at 2:05 p.m., having now been on my bike for a total of four hours and 47 minutes, with 67 miles showing up on my Garmin computer. My diet consisted of the same foods, but I added an Untapped waffle and ginger snaps. And more dry clothes. I hit the road again at 2:38 p.m. It was still 36 degrees, but falling to "feels like" 28, and winds at 8 mph. And the added bonus of snow flurries.

— I finished at 5:27 p.m. I covered the 100 miles in seven hours and 23 minutes, with the last 12 miles in the dark, mostly along the Kennebec River Rail Trail, with my array of trusty bike lights showing me the way. At the end, it was 28 degrees, "feels like" 28, and no wind. But more light flurries.

I texted my two "partners in crime" when it comes to cycling to inform them of my achievement. Scott wrote back, "Yikes! I don't know if we should congratulate you or have you admitted to a psychiatric hospital, but congratulations. That's amazing." Jon's response was, "Good for you, old man!"

It was my second century of the 2021 season, as I did another one back in early April.

So where do I stand now in relationship to my 7,000-mile target? Currently, I've got 6,756 miles, with 244 to go. I just might make it.

'Thought for the day'

"There are three ways to pedal a bike. With the legs, with the lungs, or with the heart." — Mandible Jones

From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)

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