Sweet. And even figured the route just about perfect, a little margin for error but not much. The watch rolled over to 73 just a few seconds before I reached the bottom of the driveway. :-)
I've been thinking for a while about doing a 73-mile ride on (or about on) my birthday. What I was really thinking was I should do a 73-mile ride with 7,300 feet of climb. The reason was that the course was already there -- the 115K route of the D2R2
-- and the numbers were perfect. The course was clearly calling to me.
But there were a couple of problems. I really preferred to do the ride today, but first I had to drive my brother and his wife to the airport and I wasn't back home until close to 11. The 115K, lots of hills and mostly dirt roads, would probably take 7 hours or so. There really wasn't going to be enough daylight. And there are no places along the route to get water, so I'd have to carry a lot. And today was warmer than I cared for, and more humid too. It clearly wasn't in the cards.
But sometime this morning plan B popped into my mind -- I hadn't ridden around Quabbin Reservoir for quite a few years. Hmmm. Looked up the data. Last time was 2010, 4 hours 50 minutes for 72.8 miles, 3:59 a mile.
Thought about it a little, just a little, why not. Got organized, made a couple of little modifications to the route, one to put in a few miles of dirt roads instead of going over the top of the hill in Wendell, the other to fiddle with the route at the end to make sure I got to 73. The big change was in recognition of the day's weather, winds from the south at 15 mph or more. Thought a bit, decided clockwise would be easier than counterclockwise, get the headwind all the way down the east side of the reservoir where there should be occasional shelter from the wind, get the tailwind at the end, all the way back from Belchertown.
Off I went, said I'd be home by 5;30, it gets dark not much after 6.
Felt tired much of the time, especially the first part. Wondered a few times if I could manage it. But the miles kept going by. The wind was certainly there, pushing me around sometimes, but the last 19 miles with the wind mostly at my back were really fine. And I was home by just after 5. :-)
I am reminded, as many times in the past, of the old phrase -- "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." A fine way to celebrate my birthday.