Long Odds

It seemed timely when the flyer came in the mail last week.  The Fauquier Free Clinic will be holding its 12th annual bicycle tour fundraiser in September.  The flyer described how there are several different rides one can choose from – all-paved distances of 12, 35, or 60 miles; or “mixed terrain” routes of either 20 or 30 miles.  It struck me that this might be an opportunity for me to further explore this bicycling thing, given my recent time and interest in it.

I don’t have a mountain bike or hybrid, so I immediately ruled out the gravel road stuff.  And of the paved rides, the 12 miler is simply a pleasant little ride for “recreational” cyclists – too short and too easy.  The 60-miler, on the other hand, is too long and too serious.  No way I’d be able to do that in a month.  Right there in the middle, though, is that 35-miler.  That might just work.

Or not.

Today I downloaded the route into my motorcycle GPS, climbed onto the Harley, and went to take a look.  I took my time, deliberately envisioning what the route would be like on a bicycle.  Imagining how pedaling it would feel.

It’s a beautiful route, I’ll give it that.  Mostly secluded, with rustic views all over the place.

Only thing, I don’t think I’d be looking at the scenery very much.

It’s not the distance.  Thirty five miles is pretty doable for most anyone with a modicum of fitness, after all.  No, the killer on this ride is the hills.  Lots and lots of them.  Enough that they morph that 35-mile distance into something probably closer to a 70-100 mile effort, were it a flat course.

To put that in perspective, cyclists often point to a “century” – a hundred mile ride – the same way that runners target a marathon.  Neither is something that one does lightly or without a great deal of training.

With a little more than a month until the ride, that would give me 8 weeks of training on my bicycle – starting from a base of zero.

Not very promising…

Rough Ride 35 Miler

Rough Ride 35 Miler

Here’s the link to the ride:  http://www.fauquierfreeclinic.org/rrr/index.htm

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