A New Milestone

August 7th, 2010

I finally hit a new milestone this weekend. After signing up for the Princeton Free Wheelers’ 30th Annual Bicycling Event my riding partner and I decided to do the 50 mile route. Two days before the ride we decided to switch to the metric century. He had done it last year and said it was pretty flat and shouldn’t be too difficult. Great, I thought. Come ride day we find out there are two distinct metric century rides being offered, flat and hills. We decide to do the hills. It wasn’t all that bad until the last 20 miles. I started to feel it and was slowing down with each hill. I told my partner to go ahead without me and I’d finish by myself. Then, around the next bend, was a mother of a hill…Agress Road in Millstone.

I had a few choice words for some of the hills early in the ride, but this was the hill that would expand my vocabulary exponentially! My legs were already shaking from the beating they took for the past 50 some miles and I started thinking about who I was going to call for a ride home, but I was determined. I needed to finish this ride and earn that extra notch in my belt. I shifted into my lowest gear and began the ascent. I looked up and suddenly this no longer seemed like a hill, no, it was a mountain. Maybe the ride was finally taking its’ toll on me, but I swear I could see snow caps at the peak. The first four or five feet weren’t so bad and I thought to myself I can do this. I took everything I had in me not to jump off that damn bike and started walking. I finally got to the top and was exhausted. I was too tired to coast down the damn hill, but I did, and it felt good.

Unfortunately every mile I road thereafter seemed like an eternity. I was starting to peter out, but I kept going. I got through Clarksburg, then Roosevelt, climbed one more bastard of a hill into Assunpink and then had a relaxing ride… until I came through the S curve. My front tire caught a stone just ride and it bounced my front wheel hard to the ride. I rode off the asphalt and onto the grass while moving at a pretty good clip. Two thoughts suddenly flash through my mind; what the dental bill wll be after twelve of my teeth become embedded in a utility pole, and if I should splurge for the Shimano 105’s after they surgically remove the Tiagra gearset from my rectum. But I got lucky this time and steered my bike back onto the asphalt without a scratch. I suddenly have an epiphany that it might be a good time to find religion. I finally get through Assunpink and ride past the horse farms. To quote a line from a great movie “I love the smell of horseshit in the morning, it smells like… victory!” I then see a fellow cyclist stranded on the side of the road trying to change a flat. I stop to help. He says he’s ok, but my legs starting telling me it’s be a real good idea to keep him company in case a bear, mountain lion, cougar, or any other dangerous wildlife should try to attack him. Luckily no bears came out of the house at the end of the driveway so I decided to be on my way and finish my journey home.

Suddenly every pedal stroke felt like it would be my last, but I pushed on. I didn’t break any speed records on the way back, but I made it! After the realization of what I had just accomplished I suddently felt re-energized.

I made the notch in my belt, had some lunch, then thought about that next milestone – the Century Ride!

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