This past weekend I bailed on the NJ 600, electing to sleep in and then do a 100K ride closer to home. Most of the time, I talk myself out of bailing, but occasionally it seems like the thing to do. Despite the fact that the conditions were nearly perfect for the 600, and I expected the support to be excellent (NJ does an amazing job of supporting most brevets), I didn’t have the mental energy for the ride. There was no reason why I shouldn’t have finished it…I completed a much tougher 600 last year, but still the ride seemed like too much for this last weekend.
Instead, I rode Nigel Greene’s Philly to Phoenixville (and return) permanent. As chance would have it, there was a triathlon taking place along the Schuylkill River, so for several miles I rode among the cyclists, then alongside some of the runners, and for a short while I could even see slower participants still completing the river swim. Kelly Drive was closed for several miles so I also had the rare opportunity to ride on the road instead of on the meandering path with joggers, skaters and others.
Going through Manyunk in both directions presented an additional interesting challenge as a craft fair filled Main Street for several blocks. However, it was possible to ride up one block and then along Cresson St, a cobblestoned old-timey road that runs under…well, I’m not sure what it runs under, but the two sides of the street wind between rusty steel struts that support something above the road.
So I didn’t complete the 600. Maybe I’ll sign up for another later this year; we’ll see. I’ve now also spoiled my plans to do the California Central Coast ride in August, but I knew that when I made my decision not to ride on Friday. Now I’m adjusting and looking toward to the new goals that I will set for myself. And I enjoyed the permanent ride on Sunday among the triathletes stretching hard to reach their goals. I could see the determination in their eyes, pedal strokes, and determined strides. I love that feeling, too, when I’m riding a brevet. There is the acknowledgement and acceptance of the discomfort that you will experience but also the excitement and anticipation over the challenge and the as yet unknown events, feelings and sights that will appear as the day(s) unfold(s). Randonneuring takes reasonable physical stamina but more so it takes mental energy and courage. Congratulations to my riding buddies who completed the 600 last weekend. You did great. I’m also pleased with myself for adjusting my expectations and choosing the ride that, all things considered, provided enjoyment and allowed me to feel a sense of accomplishment.