Full Dress Rehearsal

The longest route along The Ride?may?occur about a week before the end. ?Around mid-October I’ll hopefully be leaving Montgomery, Alabama headed to Columbus, Georgia. ?It’s a distance of 86.1 miles.

This weekend I tested out whether or not I could go that far. ?I took off on Friday from Columbus,?Ohio (not Georgia) to Dayton, right at 90 miles:

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In my panniers I had everything that I’m taking with me. ?Fully loaded with clothes, electronic gear, tools, water, toiletries, laundry detergent, and assorted attachments on the bicycle. ?Time to see if I’ve got everything I need.

Additionally,?I wanted to test out other things. ?New speaker for the bike. ?I got it so I can more clearly hear GPS directional changes, but the fact that it plays music and audiobooks loudly is a bonus!

Oddly enough, the speaker interfered with the speedometer / odometer. ?I’m guessing it was simply “in the way.” ?It was between the sending unit on the front tire and the receiving unit on the bike stem. ?It was bulky enough and had enough of its own electromagnetic field that it caused the speedometer to go nuts. ?Moving the speaker to a lower position on the handlebars fixed the problem.

I wanted to check Twitter to see if it would do as I intend to use it: ?as a periodic, “Here’s where I am, folks!” system. ?Granted, when I’m in areas where I’ll get no cell service . . . well, it is what it is.

Weather-wise, it was a a close approximation to the temperatures I’ll be experiencing out west. ?On Friday, I was riding through 87 degree weather. ?On the way back, on Sunday, the hottest part of the day I was riding through was around 85. ?As always around here, the humidity was a killer. ?On both days, there were stretches I had to stop every few miles and rest. ?The heat was brutal.

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In addition to the heat and humidity, on Friday, I faced a 20 MPH headwind?the entire way. ?All 85+ miles.

The last twelve miles got the hills thrown into the mix, because, damn.

climb

These guys?came to my rescue, so to speak. ?Nice to know there’s folks out there like that.

Friday night, after the ride, my?adductors?complained?loudly?about the abuse I’d put them through.

Adductor-magnus

His abs are better than mine, but my butt is way cuter.

Left side adductors started to spasm, making it feel like someone was digging a set of knuckles deep into my left leg. ?That only felt better, if by comparison, when the?right?side started to shoot a pain like a rusty potato peeler being twisted into my leg.

That?really?worried me. ?I for damn sure can’t afford for my body to give out on me after a single 80 mile day. ?There are?a bunch?of 80 and near-80 miles days coming up. ?I’d planned on taking Saturday off (and I did), but I can’t afford to ride just “every other day” on the trip.

The more I thought about it, though, I realized it was just the wind that did me in. ?Fighting that level of wind for 12 hours straight just took a toll on my legs. ?Saturday morning I was fine. ?I could have got back on the bike and done another 80 miles.

Which is what I did on Sunday. ?Except I started at 3AM. ?I wanted to test out my night riding gear / lights / tail lights.

And:

My first seven to ten days on The Ride will be spent riding in the dark. ?Just to get around the murderous heat of the Mojave.

temp

Gotta tell you: ?I?love?riding in the dark. ?There’s something about being awake when most people aren’t. ?I don’t see too many sunrises, but they sure are purty:

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The trip back to Columbus took ten hours compared to the twelve hours it required on the first leg. ?Of that ten hours only seven and a half of?that?was riding time. ?Mainly because the wind was at my back instead of having to fight it.

The last five miles actually look me an incredibly long amount of time because I had to keep stopping. While the sun was in full summer mode and beating me with the heat, the thing that really did me in was, like a dumb ass, I forgot to Feed The Machine. ?The only thing I’d eaten since 3AM was Mickey D’s:

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I was running on empty. ?I wound up with some serious jitters as my body just ran out of fuel. ?I sincerely regretted having not stopped 45 minutes earlier at the Jazz and Rib Fest for some dead pig:

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With only 3 miles left to go, I had to pull off the road again. ?I’d remembered some “energy bars” I’d stashed away at least two months ago. ?I ate ’em all!

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That gave me enough juice to finish up.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the near 180 mile trip. ?I have to constantly provide myself with mental reminders to?relax?when I’m riding. ?(I have a tendency to hold on tight to the handlebars — that causes my shoulders and back to lock up). ?Just whispering to myself,?“Relax. ?Relax. ?It’s a Ride. ?Not a Race. ?Relax,”?actually does the trick. ?Wasn’t the least bit sore after the return trip and my adductors didn’t bitch a bit on Sunday night.

All the gear I took performed perfectly. ?The only thing I forgot to pack — that I noticed, at least — was a tire gauge.

My biking clothes did as I expected. ?(White shirt protected my arms, sandals kept my feet relatively cool, biking shorts kept chafing to a minimum.)

I even was able to do what we used to call in the Navy an “unrep” (Underway replenishment.) ?In this case, it was an electronic unrep. ?I have a battery unit designed to recharge up to four devices simultaneously. ?I hooked it up about mid-way on the first leg of the trip to my phone and to the speaker. ?The battery completely restored the phone to full charge and added more than enough power to the speaker to get it through the rest of the day.

I gotta give major kudos to Samsung re: the Note 4 phone I have. ?I’ve dropped that thing at?least?four times on concrete. ?Sunday I dropped it?again, but this time I did it from a bicycle moving about 15 miles an hour. ?It landed face down, hard enough to knock the back off the thing. ?I just knew I’d destroyed the phone.

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Not a scratch. ?I can only hope to be half as indestructible.

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