In 2007 I discovered BikeForums.net, and dove in with no reservations. Many connections continue even now: Fifty+, NorCal, Women’s, Tandem, Racing — so many ways to connect to so many people! To this day I maintain the connections, whether through BikeForums, Facebook, Twitter, real life, and any combination of the above.
So on Saturday a BF/FB/real life friend, her teammates and SO, and a fellow from our local LBS Sunday ride met at the start of the Foxy’s Fall Century to ride the Metric Century (61.4 miles). I’ve done it twice on my road bike, and twice on the tandem. Because this was in honor of my birthday on 10/21, we opted for the tandem and the Metric (we lacked tandem saddle time for the full century).
In near-ideal conditions we set out with arm warmers and smiles. We passed other tandems, other tandems passed us, and when we pulled into the first stop we had a decent train behind us.
We left with mixed messages about some of our team: some went ahead, some were behind, but we all agreed that we should ride before we cooled off too much. Rollers, a hill, a downhill were next, and we both were dropped and dropped riders. I admit my ego enjoys passing single bikes on a hill climb, especially when they kvetch about it. Riders have seen the profile; if they can’t climb, they should train more.
We caught up with the friends who got ahead of us on the downhill; there is nothing like at tandem team bombing a downhill they know intimately, chip-seal be damned. My captain was awesome in his handling of the bike, as well as his responses to my nervousness. At one point, turning onto Putah Creek Rd. from Pleasants Valley Rd., we had nearly 40 bikes, including 2 tandems, in our train. Yes, that’s an ego ride, pulling so many others. It’s really fun and sometimes really taxing.
At lunch we were offered $20 to pull from Winters back to Davis by 3 riders who’d been part of the tandem train for the previous 2 segments. Our friends weren’t ready to leave, so we declined, although we were flattered to have been offered money for what we do naturally. I wonder if we can monetize that for when we’re retired?
The ride back was flat and mildly head-windy; we modified our pace, yet a few of our original team were dropped. It happens. We arrived after 61.4 miles feeling pretty frisky. I remember arriving at the finish on tandem & half-bike after the Imperial century feeling beat-up and tired. We had no regrets on riding the Metric. And it was more than my age, which was the ultimate goal.
We ride the roads included in this ride all time: they’re local, accessible, fun, and easy to access, whether we choose hills or flats or a combination. What made this special was that Mike, with whom we know from our LBS shop ride, had only ridden 45 miles before today, and he learned how to draft; we rode with out-0f-town friends; we drove our bike to the startt. We shared the road and experience with many cyclists of many different abilities and rides and attitudes, and it all worked just fine. We had a blast and I was very happy to ride my age in miles + some, and to have enjoyed it so much. I wish everyone could enjoy their version of this ride.