Just last week, I was aiming to get to 4600 miles. The weather was starting to get cold… down to 30 degrees at night… and I figured I was winding down for the season. I decided to skip the Red Flannel ride on November 2nd because the morning was much too cold. Instead, I rode the final 40 miles to 4600 down in the valley later that afternoon when it had warmed up. I figured I was probably done after that. I was going to put my bike on the trainer after that weekend.
But then, the week days were moderate. I logged another 40 miles between the Tuesday and Thursday night rides with ABC. And then, this past Saturday. Beautiful weather befell NE Ohio. I had planned to ride at least 40 miles. But as I was getting my bike ready to ride around 12pm, it suddenly occurred to me how fortunate I was that the weather was so beautiful this late in November. A funny idea came to my mind…. How about your route to Hiram on this fine day? my mind urged. And, well, the next thing I knew, I was headed off down my favorite roads to Hiram–Old Mill, Mennonite, Chamberlain, Winchell. Straight through the tiny town of Hiram Rapids, past the old church, and up the big hill on 700 into my old ‘hood of Hiram College. I went up the street past my old dorm, though Bankcroft and Dean past the post office… Ahh.. Beautiful weather. I refilled my water bottle in Hinsdale Hall and sat underneath the arch for about 20 minutes remembering my life as a student over 15 years ago.
I then rode on down 306 to Wheeler Road, past the Hiram College Biology Station. Into Garrettsville. The backroads–Hankee, Asbury, then 303 to Cooley. Gray, Peck, and the beautiful–if not bumpy–Lake Rockwell Road. I felt so good riding. It had been several weeks since I’d ridden more than 40 miles; I was surprised I still had a 60 mile ride in me. It must have been the weather that filled me with the inspiration to keep going. I just wanted to ride and ride and ride.
From door-to-door, my route to Hiram and back is 60 miles. Since I was so close, I figured I mine as well complete a metric century. So once I got into my neighborhood, I rode an extra 2 miles to get that 62-mile ride. The ride secured me a 4700 miles for the year. A new record–beyond the 4600 mile record I initially set–that I’m going to be hard-pressed to beat next year. Oh well. How grand!
So. I don’t know exactly how many days I have left to ride. I’m definitely in bonus round. It could snow tomorrow and I’d take out my skis. I don’t care what happens now, but I’m so glad that I’ve managed to pull in this many miles this year. I am not going to make it to 5000, but I’m sure proud I’ve made it this close. I just don’t know where I get all this energy.
It’s days like Saturday that make me feel so good to be alive. The entire time I was riding, I couldn’t help but think about how fortunate I was to enjoy such unusual November weather. A rare treat. I wore shorts and a short-sleeved jersey and I felt so comfortable in the warmth of the sun. You just can’t let days like that pass you by. I ignored some errands I had to run and I shirked the writing I wanted to do. But in exchange I got wonderful peace of mind. Pretty soon the winter weather will be upon us, and though I can ski, I can’t ski every night. The last bit of warmth is a rare treasure to appreciate. It’s a memory I can hold onto in the dark, cold of winter until I can ride again.