More Hills: the PPTC Spring Century

J and I on an unscheduled break. Photo by R.

I have a confession to make: I hate hills. I keep hoping that the more rides I do with hills, the more I learn to like them. But every time I approach a hill, my heart sinks. Oh no, not again, I think. But what can I do? Nothing but to spin up the hill, and then rejoice in the breathtaking descent that follows.

We got off to a slow start for the Spring Century. R realized, as we were approaching the start location, that he forgot his helmet. Luckily, we don’t live terribly far, so he drove back while I looked for a couple of folks we were to ride with, and chatted a bit with J.

The announcements were said, and the cyclists left in waves. Soon after, R arrived with helmet, and we were ready to roll. Although the sun was shining, it was a little chilly at first, and I admit I started out a little more quickly than was good for me because I wanted to warm up. The first climb, however, dispelled any notions of continuing at the pace. Okay, fine. I settled at a more comfortable pace, and happily, R, J, and I stayed together and kept each other company.

A few memorable points:
We were stopped at an intersection and watched the Police Unity Tour roll by– an impressive procession of motorcyclists and bicyclists. We waved to them as they rode through.

The midpoint rest stop had the best peanut butter sandwiches, that you could stuff with bananas and Nutella. Delicious! I think I have to make up these sandwiches for myself for future rides.

Somewhere around the 45-mile mark, I heard R run into the leaves on the shoulder, behind me. I turned around to ask if he was okay, and then found myself sliding into the shoulder myself– and then fell over, still clipped in. That was embarrassing. Luckily, because of the dried leaves, it was a very soft landing, and after I struggled to get out to get out of the clips, I righted myself and headed back up the hill, where J was waiting for us. The photo above was taken shortly after I fell, which explains the slightly sheepish look I have.

The last hill before the finish always seems to be the worst. Why does it feel like my bike stops working for the last few miles before the end? I know it’s me, but it always feels like I’m grinding up the hill. ugh. But the next thing I knew, we reached the end. Hooray! R, J, and I celebrated by going to a local pub and having a decent lunch– soft-shell crab sandwich for me, burgers for them.

We did 50 miles this time around. It was a beautiful, well-paced route and well organized. I’m grateful for R and J for riding with me– riding with friends always makes a great ride even better. Thanks, guys.