A few years ago we did a deal with Burley and I received a RunAbout-27-XL. It is a great ride. Not a perfect fit. Short in both the top tube and seat post. But large enough to get me around without too much size related discomfort. Built for city, durable tires, disk breaks, smooth shifting… it is the perfect commuter rig. The cycle shop that put it together side that “it would be the last bike that I would ever need to buy.”
Over the year I have been spending more and more time on the bike. What was once a great ride is now just a warm up. In the quest to find more adventure on the bike I signed up with a few friends to do the local tour d’organics. It was billed as a 50 mile recreational ride on the edge of the urban boundary into farm country. My friends had their touring bikes and I had the SUV of bicycles. Not the perfect rig for the ride, but I was confident that I could hold my own on the bike. The day was great. The rest stops at the farms had cool water, fresh fruit and our fee even got us an organic lunch. But after a long day of riding I had more than a little trouble getting up the hills on the last 10 miles or so. It was time to get a new bike.
I’m not much of an impulse buyer, in fact my wife would say that I am SUPER thrifty (and that is what she says in public). The idea of spending the required money to get a bike that fits my MediumTall frame took some time to sink in. I was unable to research, locate, test ride, research, ride, consult with experts, ride, comparison shop, ride and buy a bike before the next opportunity to go out for a long ride with friends.
A few friends of mine and I signed up for the Portland Century… I knew that I did not have the right equipment to do the full 100 miles so signed up for the 60 mile ride. I rode from home to the start point so added a few extra miles onto the ride. The weather was cool in the morning but I heard the forecast was for sunny skies and 90+ degrees later in the day. I froze some water bottle the night before and ate well to get ready.
I started out strong and did the first 40 mile at a great pace keeping up with the pack. Then we turned on to a riverbank trail and headed back into town against the wind. It was like going up hill the whole time. I lost ground to the pack and ended up having to change my pace to keep things going. I started to realize that I had not been drinking water at a good enough pace and started to feel it in my legs.
This was the first time that a Century ride had been organized in the city, so the signage was not as clear as we had hoped. We ended up missing the last rest stop and had to stop at a city park to fill up a few water bottles. I was starting to really crave some sustenance. Mostly sugar and salt to keep the body moving. When my odometer read 55 we stopped at a 7/11 for some bananas and Gatorade. It really hit the spot. I felt cooler and reenergized.
We rode back into town and I was looking forward to the finish line. What I was not expecting was the intense leg cramps that hit me when we had to stop at down town lights. I was very excited about being done and the lights seemed to intensify the leg cramps. My body just wanted to keep moving. We finally made it to the finish line after 67 miles on the bike.
Wow! I could have eaten an entire salmon and chicken, but was very happy to settle for a well roasted piece of both. It was a great ride and I was delighted to get a ride back to my house with a buddy. I showered and laid down… after about 20 min my body told me that I needed to get up and stretch out the cramps. The next 6 hours were pretty intense with short naps abruptly ended by a jot of pain from the leg. I finally worked out the spasms and got a good nights rest, but it was time to stop casually shopping and ready get to work buying a new bike.