When I go out to ride, most of the time I end up nowhere. I ride out my driveway, do one of the different routes I’ve learned over the years, then end up back at home. I cover miles but don’t end up anywhere different than where I started.
There’s a different feeling when you actually ride to somewhere.
Last Saturday I rode from home to Wooster (Ohio), where my son would be playing in the band at the College of Wooster’s football game. Google maps helped me find a route of (I hoped) mostly back roads. I estimated 4 hours. My teammate Tris would meet me along the way, and ride with me for part of the trip.
As I started out from home, on roads I ride all the time, it felt different than the usual training ride. It’s hard to put a finger on it exactly. Something about the utility of using your bike to get somewhere — somewhere that’s 70-some miles away. Something about having a specific destination that’s at the end of the trip. Something about navigating a long route you’re not exactly familiar with.
It’s a great way to spend a Saturday. I love riding at this time of year, when the racing season is over. There are no worries about riding too long or hard, or not enough. You can just go out and ride.
Tris met me about 1:30 into the trip and rode with me for another 1:30, much of it on one north-south road (Medina Line) that seemed to go on forever, and had more traffic than should be allowed on a road that doesn’t appear to go anywhere.
The route took in parts of 2 race courses: the Silver Lake Metro Park in Doylestown, which the Summit Freewheelers did maybe 10 years ago, and the Milk Race course in Orrville. Iit felt very odd just to be riding, not racing, on the Orrville course.
In the end it was 4 hours, 5 minutes over 78 miles and three packs of Gu (side note: I’m always amazed at how close we can come to our time estimates, even if the route isn’t known exactly in advance).
The best thing about a ride like this is how good something to eat tastes at the end. I don’t think it even matters what it is. An overcooked hot dog at the football stadium tastes awesome. The worst thing: my legs were pretty well overcooked for the ‘cross race the next day. But it’s the off-season now; it’s all just fun.