Funny thing about us cyclists. We do our best to come up with reasons to ride. Just for the bragging rights and a patch, we will ride 200+ miles from Seattle to Portland in a day.
Or 150 miles and 10000 feet of climbing on a hot summer day.
But there doesn’t need to be a patch. Somewhere along the way some cyclist came up with the birthday years ride…
The theory is, on your birthday you ride your age.
Now this is all well and good if you are a 20 or even a 30 something and were born in the summer. With daylight savings time you can easily ride these miles after work if your birthday falls on a weekday. Plus the weather normally provides excellent cycling conditions.
However, I was born in November AND I am a 50 something. Because of this I have had to modify the tradition a bit. Come November, I look for a weekend day with as little rain as possible and crank out my age. Hell, there are no bike tradition cops ready to give me a ticket, so I think I am adhering to the ‘rules.’
Last year, the day before my birthday was on a weekend and it was an excellent day to ride!
I cranked out my 53 miles on the Lake Washington Loop.
This year, as we all know, I have move to the Oregon Coast. Normally in November, it rains a LOT!!!
This year’s weather is strange. We were talking to some old timers last night, who told us the winds haven’t shifted yet. Normally, this time of the year, it is coming out of the south, which brings the rains. We are still getting winds from the north, and the weather has been frosty, but gorgeous!
So, not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, I decided today was the day for 54 miles!
Now, there were a couple of challenges.
Fist off, it was in the low 30s when we woke up. That is some damn cold riding. I had to break out some serious layers to make it ok to ride.
The second was much harder. There has just not been a LOT of riding lately. Hell, in October I had only 118 miles total. 54 today would be almost half of last month in a day. I’ve been riding the couch SO much more than the bike lately.
OK, there have been beach walks. You just never know what you will see.
But beach walking doesn’t use the same muscles that cycling does. I knew this would be tough!
I was up, and made the Starbuck run early, and on the road at 730. As I said earlier it was DAMN cold, but luckily there has been no rain nor fog, so there was no ice to worry about. The plan was to head south on 101 to Newport, then down onto the Bayfront and back. I needed 54 miles and that’s all I planned on doing today. I knew I didn’t have the legs for more.
As I went, the sun came up, and it was a beautiful day. The skies were blue, as was the water, and it seemed like you could see forever,
I think the whales have finally migrated away, as I didn’t see any. But then, I was trying to focus on the ride, so I didn’t spend a lot of time watching for them.
I made a quick detour to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse because, well, just because I could! I love cycling here.
It is an amazing place to just sit if you have never been.
However, there was no time to sit today, it was time to ride! It was here I realized I hadn’t brought the big soft pretzel I bought last night from the Red Roof. I had planned on snacking on it during the ride.
So not only was I riding a lot of HARD miles, it was with no food…. Rookie mistake.
I made it into Newport and added a few flat miles along the bayfront. I was trying to make sure I had enough miles for this ride. Of course you can’t ride here without stopping to check out the sea lions.
I was 28 miles in, and it was time to head back. By now I had shucked the extra layers as the sun was warm. There were some spots, though, where the sun didn’t hit. When I went through these, it was like riding in a refrigerator. But it was too much of a hassle to stop and layer back up. It was just grit your teach and ride.
To get home, I had to go over Cape Foulweather again.
This is a long steady 2 mile climb. Last summer, when I had been riding and training, a double Foulweather wasn’t a big deal. Riding the couch, though, does NOT build your climbing muscles. By the top the thighs were burning.
I was VERY happy for the descent!
When I got to Depoe Bay, though, I realized I had made a mistake. I had turned around too soon…
I was not sure, if I took the direct, and easier route, to the house, that I would hit 54 miles…. So at Drift Creek road, I hung a right. This route adds 3 miles and some more climbs to the way home. The legs were now SERIOUSLY burning, and my stomach was wondering if I had forgotten it. It was a LONG extra 3 miles.
Our house is above the tsunami zone, which means it is up hill to get there. That last climb was hard, and I gave some thought to getting off and pushing….
However, I gutted it out, and in end I had 57.3 miles and 3310 feet of climbing. I have fulfilled the tradition!
The scary part is, the older one gets, the longer the ride. Next year I will be sure to ride more in October to keep the legs in shape. But today was an excellent day to ride!