I went for a spin this past Tuesday with Jon, my partner in crime when it comes to cycling. As it turns out, it wasn't just another ride through the backroads of Maine. He announced that if we traversed 30 miles, it would give him 5,000 for the season.
Mind you, Jon's accomplished this high mark in other years, but never this early. I remember him observing a few weeks ago — while on a ride, of course — that the only people you see out during the middle of the day were women with children and those of us lucky enough to be enjoying retirement. We are fortunate, indeed. And thus able to pile up mile after mile after mile.
Let's put into context just how far 5,000 miles is. If one goes from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, in a straight line or "as the crow flies," it is a distance of 2,543 miles. So technically, Jon is just 86 miles short of riding a bicycle from Portland to Portland ... and back. Now that's a long way on two wheels.
I jokingly questioned him on his mileage accuracy. Mostly, because his bike computer is often on the blink. But I also reminded him I "never" count the miles that are obtained by going downhill or with the wind at my back — and wondered if he did the same. Needless to say, Jon quickly dismissed my bizarre and false proclamation.
Anyway, I asked him how it felt to reach his goal. He said, "It's no different than before. But actually, it's a relief." Well, as far as I'm concerned, it's a great achievement, especially for someone in their early 70s. Way to go, my friend.
Challenge in review
A couple of passing thoughts concerning the Cadillac Challenge that I participated in earlier this month, now that I've dried out and thoroughly cleaned my bicycle:
— Jon and I both agree that stopping the century ride after 83 miles was a wise move. We were completely soaked, and with temperatures in the low 50s, we could have been in real trouble if we had continued for the remaining 17 miles. I was so glad we came across an exit off the national park's one-way Loop Road, otherwise the outcome could have been very different.
— The traffic situation also was quite uncomfortable at times. The majority of vehicles passing us, a high percentage displaying out-of-state plates, didn't allow for much distance between themselves and us. Possibly unaware of Maine's three-foot spacing law — although it shouldn't matter — it was very dangerous, especially in the wet and rainy conditions.
— Going into the ride I mentioned I wasn't worried about the physical part. So how did the mental part go? It was fine; I was eager to get cracking at 6 a.m. Even when the rain started flooding off my helmet into my eyes and the spraying from my tires drenched my feet and legs, I never once said or thought, "This is bull----!" I just enjoy riding my bike no matter what.
Anyway, be safe. And remember, even though it's getting colder and darkness is coming earlier, some of us are still crazy enough to go for a ride. Also, to everyone offering kind words and prayers over the loss of my mom, I thank you.