On the spur of a moment… of a complete lack of clarity… caused by a laundry list of mental defects, I agreed to ride the metric century at Saturday’s Tour De Midlands with the pride of our nutritional product management division, Jose Texidor! Jose showed up in a pair of Pace riding shorts from the Roosevelt administration, clearly sending the statement “I don’t care how raw and mangled my backside will end up, I’m going to ride you into the ground” I pretended not to be intimidated, but I was. After spending the requisite 30 minutes watching volunteers run around in full freak out mode and saying hi to local shop owner Tim Malson, I stuffed a water bottle into a jersey pocket (the Pake doesn’t have room for cages) and set off on my 5 hour jaunt around not-so-scenic Lake Murray.
The opening 10 miles or so went by pretty quick. Lots of traffic and fast downhills split the group up and left lolly gaggers like us to fend for ourselves. After some cajoling, Jose pulled his shorts up around nipple level and did the standard jersey tuck. It was a good look but I didn’t have my camera ready to snap the incriminating pictures. We rode over Lake Murray dam (zzzz) and then continued north to the first SAG, 21.4 miles into the ride at an elementary school. A young woman manning the food table was wrapped up in a down comforter as she battled frostbite in the sub 70 temperatures. She made Emily Dickinson look like Survivorman. Jose and I left in good spirits and willfully wound our way westward towards the cultural mecca of Chapin. We discussed Puerto Rico and Jose’s refusal to pay 15 dollars for a pina colada. “Dude, I can go across the street and make one myself for half that!” He was clearly agitated and proving to be something of a tightwad.
Once we got through Chapin, traffic thinned out until we got back to the lake territory. Many trucks hauling jet skis and fat ugly tenneagers passed us. Things were getting danger-fied. Rodney danger-fied. After a few longish climbs (the single speed was taking its toll on Ole Bloggy), we rolled into SAG #2, mile 42.2. Located at a fire station, a garrulous young man (maybe 7 years old) made fun of Jose’s accent as he daintily ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I went inside the station to evacuate my bodily fluids. I looked into the mirror and said “Feelin’ fine pretty boy.” It was true, I was. I tugged at Jose’s ear and we were off. Around mile 50, Jose began to mention “cramping”. We pulled over and I gave him four endurolytes. Then a recumbent bicycle passed us. It was humiliating. We got onto highway 391 and had the benefit of some wider shoulders but with the occasional rumble strip. The sun was out and the lake traffic was in full swing.
(epic pain face, mile 66)
We made a left turn turn and Jose’s Garmin 800 freaked out. It had encountered a logical paradox it was incapable of resolving and thus nearly collapsed upon itself (the street’s name was palindromic, and contained two homophones). Jose jabbed the Garmin a few times with his peanut butter encrusted thumb and got it working again. Same thing happens at the event horizon of black holes. By now, Jose’s backside was extremely sore and his cramps were making incursions further up his leg. After the fabled traffic circle and the giant fireworks banner hung upside down, we rolled into SAG #3, 57.3 miles into the ride. Tim from Cycle Center was there and we chatted about the fight at last week’s race… in Darlington. A guy came up complaining of bum shifting so Tim had to spring into action. Hooray for Tim! He is a fine mechanic that has wrenched in Columbia for many a year. After SAG #3, it was only another 15 miles or so to the finish. Jose was starting to feel the earlier efforts but put on a gamey display as he pedaled squares up the fiendishly steep climbs that littered Cedar Grove and Windmill. Think Indurain in his prime. Reggie Indurain. By the time we got back onto highway 1, Jose found his second wind and rode hard to the line, pipping Bloggy for the win and bragging rights until next year.