A SUNNY DAY, A FLAT ROAD, AND A TAILWIND – that’s all I could ask for to complete my cycling distance goal for the year. Unfortunately, for much of Friday’s ride all I had was the first one. Not that I should complain overmuch; how often do you get late November days in the mid-50s around here?
Needing just over 50 miles to reach my goal of 1,000, I put together a sort of “grand tour” of the area towns I have ridden to over the past year. Starting from home in Ann Arbor, the route went south to Saline, then west to Manchester, north to Chelsea, east to Dexter, and the last hop home. The wind was out of the south and west at roughly 100 miles per hour, with gusts to 200.
I reached Saline and swung west on Austin Road, anticipating a relatively flat leg – after all, isn’t farm country supposed to be flat? Not west of Saline. I think when they flattened out the farmland, they tossed all the hills into the road. That plus the wind made for a punishing 15 miles; every now and then I turned around for a little bit just to feel the wind pushing me forward for a change. But as I have found out on many long rides, it’s amazing how far you can go if you just keep going, and somehow or other I made it to Manchester.
After a break at the Coffee Mill Café, I headed north. Finally the wind was at my back, and did it ever feel good. My average speed jumped from 12 MPH to nearly 20, and I got to Chelsea in what felt like almost no effort. M-52 has also been resurfaced since I last traveled on it, with a nice wide shoulder / bike lane in place of a narrow, broken-up one. It’s really nice to see Washtenaw County becoming more and more bike-friendly.
So, with a total of 1,001.8 miles, I am closing my cycling season for the year. I couldn’t help thinking that resetting my goal from 800 to 1,000 miles back in September seemed a stretch, but if I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have been riding today. Instead of sitting around on the couch, I got out in the sun and (relative) warmth, and burned off a couple thousand Thanksgiving calories. (A stop at the Gourmet Chocolate Café in Chelsea put some of those back, but I think I still came out ahead.) Now on to reaching my running goals for the year.
P.S. Check out my niece Heather’s most recent posts from Thailand, which has suffered terrible flooding. Click on the “Heather and the World” link on my blogroll on the right hand column.