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36 Miles in One Day!

Posted Sep 11 2009 11:33am
The other day I was thinking about one of my first "long distance rides"
years ago and how things have changed since then. I thought I' d share
it with you because it still kind of cracks me up.

Back in 2003 Jenny' s sister was in town and they decided to spend the
day in Seattle with the kids doing the tourist thing. Since Jenny
wanted to hang out with her sister I got the pass not to go with them.
With everyone gone I packed up my Costco mountain bike complete with
full knobby tires on the bike rack and headed to the centennial trail.
I think this bike weighed 3 times what my current bike weighs but it
sure was steady in wind storms. In the past I had ridden this trail on
family bike rides but the farthest we ever got was 3 or 4 miles up the
trail before heading back to the car. Of course back then I would pull
a bike trailer full of kids who didn' t know how to ride a bike.

This time was going to be different though. There were no kids to pull
and no time constraints so I was going to find out just how long this
trail really was and where it ended up. I was totally prepared for
whatever would came my way because I packed a fanny pack chalk full of
one entire water bottle! Yep, that was it and away I went no spare
tube, pump, or food, I was ready to go.

As I rode along I was having a heck of a good time because I was heading
into the great unknown. This trail could have gone all the way to
Oregon for all I knew. As I was riding along I could see in my mirror
(it was a big fat bulky one) another rider who was slowly approaching
me. We were heading up a slight incline and no matter how hard I
pedaled he kept gaining on me. Eventually, he passed me and I shook my
head in disgust. How could a road bike pass me going up a hill? I was
on a mountain bike for heaven sakes shouldn' t I be faster on hills? I' m
normally not much of a competitive guy but that day I found out that
getting passed brings out the competition in me. It was like someone
was challenging me to a dual or something.

I ended up making it to the end of the trail which happened to be in
Snohomish. As I looked at my speedometer it said 18 miles which was a
personal best and I still had to ride back to the car. I celebrated by
sitting down on a bench, digging in my fanny pack and drinking my one
bottle of water which of course I hadn' t touched yet. After I polished
off the bottle of water I headed back feeling fully hydrated. On the
way back I spotted another cyclist up ahead of me and I was bound and
determined that I was going to pass him. I put my legs in overdrive and
spun those knobby tires as fast as they would go until I crept up and
slowly passed him. I have to admit I felt quite a sense of satisfaction
to have passed him even if it was really slow. What I didn' t realize is
he would be following me for the rest of the way so if I didn' t want him
passing me back I would have to maintain the same blazing speed. I' m
sure my blazing speed was all of 14 MPH but having never ridden that far
before and lugging a heavy mountain bike equipped with knobby tires I
was really hitting my personal red line for cycling.

There was no way I was going to be passed though so I pushed it for the
rest of the trip back to the car. As I arrived I couldn' t believe I had
just ridden 36 miles. At the time it seemed like I had ridden the
equivalent of a marathon and as I hopped in the car I wondered what all
of the white powdery crystals were that were all over my face. They
even had a salty taste to them.

On the way home I picked up a salad at the store to eat for lunch
because since I had ridden so far I must have turned over a new healthy
guy leaf. When I got home I polished off the salad in no time flat and
then began to eat everything else in site that I could get my hands on.
I had a hunger that just wouldn' t quit and to make matters worse I was
super thirsty. Wasn' t one water bottle good enough for a 36 mile ride?

Over the years I' ve learned a lot about cycling that I didn' t know then.
I still occasionally ride the centennial trail but that 36 miles doesn' t
seem nearly long enough these days. I bring a lot more things with me
like a spare tube and I actually drink which I' m riding. I even
occasionally let people pass without it bothering me (occasionally).
Even though things are a little different today it' s hard to match the
feeling of accomplishment I felt that day. 36 miles in one day!

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