What could be better than waking up before your 4:30am alarm clock rings knowing you have the whole morning to ride bikes fast? Today is Ken’s birthday and to celebrate he has a hall pass from his very busy family life to take off until lunch. We’re putting the time to good use by meeting at 6am and heading out for 100 miles.
It’s a distance I’ve done many times and thoroughly enjoyed. It’s the first time Ken’s doing 100 miles, so he’s really not sure exactly what to expect. I’m hoping to take advantage of this fact and enjoy some easy spinning later in the ride.
We’re both very different riders – I am a tall power guy and he’s a shorter aero guy. I ride brute force and he rides super smart and tech efficient. It’ll be interesting to see the match up and how we work together on a long ride.
Ken’s got the route all planned out (thank you!) and we roll south to the Seaway and along in the early morning gloom. It’s predictably windy from almost all points on the compass, and we hustle along to out manoeuvre a ship working its way up the lane to the lift bridge we need to cross.
This time we make it before it arrives, saving a good 20, 30 minutes even.
Onto the south shore, which is one of my least favorite parts of the city we navigate the neighbourhoods of rough roads and uninspired landscapes. It’s pretty fast from here to the city limits, and before we know it we’re heading into farm country. The kiss start to fall away and we take turns pulling at the front.
I swear there’s no draft when I’m behind Ken – he is able to keep a crazy low profile, like that Praying Mantis pose that got outlawed some years ago. We keep a steady 21/22 mph pace and before we know it have knocked off a third of the ride.
We stop at a corner gas for a quick snack, well I snack on the plentiful junk food. Ken has a peanut. Efficiency seems to extend to gastronomic processes too. Think Tesla vs Hummer. It’s funny. I finish off my snickers bar and coke and off we go.
I’m glad we stop because next up is Covey Hill, which isn’t too bad, but let’s face it, not exactly overrun with food options on this Bank Holiday Monday.
Ken’s got other plans for fueling on the ride. As we’re riding along past another seemingly endless corn field he decides to make a quick stop. Jumps into said field, jumps back to the road with two ears of corn looking decidedly triumphant. Ready to eat he proclaims. It makes a good picture two corn ears like military radar in his jersey pocket, but they don’t last long. He proceeds to peel, shuck, whatever the right word is the corn as we’re rolling along at 30km/hr! I got a great video of this in-motion vegetable preparation seminar. He takes a couple of bites, declares it unfit for raw consumption and throws it back. Unlike the fish this corn can’t swim back to his plant, so presumably remains on the ground for some lucky mouse.
Covey Hill turns out to be somewhat more challenging and my lack of aero anything starts to hamper forward or upward progress. My efforts become likeable to pile driving in the sand and speed bleeds out fast. Ken zips off up ahead on the road. At this point I let it be known I rode hard MTB yesterday and pulled the Martin Swiss group for the best part of a three hour ride the day before. Clearly resting and enjoying seafood pasta is the more sensible form of preparation.
The views from the top (which are near impossible to capture on a phone camera) are impressive. It’s a solid effort to get to the top and I’m somewhat irritated that my gps registers only half Ken’s altitude. Maybe he did it twice and I just didn’t notice.
There’s a great long and almost dead straight descent into rollers which we blast down, grins at the ready.
At mile 66 it’s time for the 2nd pit stop – this time at a small Depanneur for more junk for me. Red Bull, Ice Cream. Ken has two peanuts.
I’m suffering now, and Ken’s doing all the work, cheerfully announcing just how few watts he is actually doing. It’s pretty funny now, but only on reflection!
Past more tidy towns and neat farms, and endless signs for non-existent garage sales we roll, sometimes 26, sometimes 21 mph. Its clear my best 100 mile time is about to be set. By the time we get back to the seawall Ken’s in full TT mode racing some dude who made the mistake of whipping by us, and I’m eying up the older lady on the tricycle as my pace buddy.
One last suffer fest across the ice bridge directly into the wind and were finally done. At 100 miles I pull over, save the ride and we congratulate each other. Just a whiff under 5:30 is pretty impressive. I know we can work a 5hr TT into our palmares soon, but it’ll have to be flat and no damn wind!!
So the end result of a TT specialist and a MTB racer who cross trains long distance and likes Brevet distance a lot is that we both got a hell of a workout, a great ride and both achieved some nice personal bests. I’m already planning the next ride, just make sure you bring me cake next time ok Ken!
Next up will be my aero training session, where I learn all things aero to help me become like you, Mr. Aero. Look out MTB friends.
Thanks for a super fun morning Ken. The post ride beers went down really easy!