I was supposed to ride a 200 Km [124 miles] Brevet this weekend. Instead I had a lively bout of stomach upset. Yes, it was ugly through Thursday evening, and I believe I’ll never eat 3 week old cottage cheese again.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
A brevet is a long distance unsupported bicycle ride with several checkpoints along the way – so everyone knows you were actually there. The ride I had planned for Friday started in Grand Marais, MN and looped up into Canada before finishing in Grand Portage. I’d been planning this for months.
As it turned out, I didn’t get out of Bed until 9 that morning, and though I felt a LOT better, it’s not a wise idea to start a 200 Km ride at, say, 11 am. After eggs, potatoes and sausage with an Imodium chaser, I still felt relatively decent – so I got dressed and hit the road at 11 am for a 50 mile spin. It was a really good ride…quite fun, actually. It reminded me of something I’d misplaced in my pile of training goals: it’s okay to go out and have a blast.
All summer my cycling schedule has had the final word. You ride every flipping day at training camp. You ride every day after driving out to Colorado for one the most amazing mountain tours on the planet. If it said INTERVAL on the training calendar, I went out and did intervals. But on Friday morning I crossed out the next conquest, and scribbled in the word ENJOYMENT.
I worked my way up the north shore of Lake Superior, taking in the rocky shores and basking in liquid sunshine – soaking up everything that makes this such an achingly special place. At mile 32 I began the steady pull up Mont Josephine, rolled across the summit, and descended 6 miles without touching my brakes…it was like flying. I took a long break to sit in the sun and munch Cracker Jack at the last convenience store before the Canadian border. On the return trip I lingered at the summit pull-out to snap a few pictures and enjoy the view out to Isle Royal.
On this day I remembered all that is supremely fun and rewarding about cycling.
Yup, had a super-size Nutty Buddy ice cream after the ride, too.