Monday, June 6, 2011

Mr. Metric!

Mary and I visited the kin down on Cincinnati this weekend. I brought the new bike with the idea of attempting a "metric century" -- 100 kilometers, or 62 miles -- on the Little Miami Scenic Trail.

Well, shoot. I did it.

Perfect day for the attempt: warm, very light winds (supposedly from the north). The trail, as I've noted before, is smooth and paved with asphalt. Just right for a fresh-out-of-the-box road bike.
Got on the Trail at Kings Mill and headed north. Most of the trail is fully tree-lined; it's like riding in a cool green tunnel. You get glimpses of the Little Miami River on your left. (See my previous post about this wonderful trail.)
A representative stretch of the Little Miami Scenic Trail.
The trail was littered with a lot of small debris from storms that had rolled through in previous days: twigs, leaves and the occasional downed branch. At one point, I had to stop and carry my bike over a downed sapling.

A fellow road-bike rider got in behind me about 10 miles into the ride. It took me a while to figure out he was drafting. That was a first! I was flattered.

The trail was busy -- turns out there was a triathlon in progress, sponsored by one of the local campground/canoe rental outfits. 
The town of Spring Valley was the turnaround point, 31 miles from the start. I had a most excellent chocolate ice-cream cone at the Two Scoops shop. And of course, the weatherman lied: the wind was out of the south, right in my face on the way back.
A rare opening in the tree canopy.
About 50 miles in, I really started feeling the distance. My shoulders started getting shaky, and my hamstrings began to bark. I stopped at the Morgan Campground/Canoe Rental HQ in hopes of finding a fountain Diet Coke. No luck there, but I bought a Clif energy bar and was offered free bottled water, courtesy of the triathlon. I gratefully accepted.

The last 10 miles was a true test of my endurance. I haven't pushed myself that hard in a long time. But the anticipation of reaching a long-time goal kept me chugging along. Four hours and 22 minutes after I started, I was sitting on a bar stool in the Train Stop Inn, celebrating my first metric century with a Rolling Rock and a well-deserved hamburger.

Next: a full century. I can do it.

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