The Headwaters 100 started out above freezing – which is always a good sign. Freezing temps and wind lead to frostbite…which nearly always leads to tissue death and amputation.
Nonetheless I got warmed-up and was building a decent average speed in the first 15 miles. After that we turned full-on into a biting north wind – the kind where you labor to make 14 mph on the flats. After 15 more miles my average speed was in the crapper, but more importantly I was starting to feel the early stages of hypothermia. Though my hands and feet were chilled, I was getting anxious as I felt my core began to cool off. While seriously considering quitting, I put my wind vest over my jacket and crammed a quick 180 calories into my mouth. I made it ot the first food stop and drank a big cup of hot cocoa: regaining my warmth and composure. Then the sun came out.
The 15 mile loop through Itasca State Park was achingly beautiful. The blood red and golden yellow leaves danced on the wind as the sky settled into a deep blue. The road through the park is through rolling hills: fast descents carrying momentum up the next hill, and out-of-the-saddle sprints to the top of the next hill. It’s like being 14 again and remembering why riding my bike is so stinking FUN.
By mile the lunch stop at mile 67 I had gained back a bunch of time and felt really strong. One of the special treats on this ride is the wild rice and chicken soup served at the lunch stop. I put down two cup-fulls of the stuff before hitting the road again.
I finished strong with 17.1 mph average speed and having climbed 2861 feet. However, the real epiphany was to come later.
Once in a while I actually learn something from my endurance riding. After I got home I was stewing because of some work that still needed to be done for Sunday morning. In that moment it occured to me that the beauty of my sport is that I don’t always know how I’m going to do…I just need to keep going. So I opened up my laptop and got to work. Wouldn’t you know it? I still had something left, and an hour later I was done.
Faith is when you keep going.