October sucked! There is really no other way to put it – I don’t think I’ve ever seen as cold and rainy an October as this one. I try not to be too much of a wimp when it comes to weather – wet is fine, cold is fine, wet and cold is a drag! The first 10 days of the month were mostly off the bike due to travel, and the three weeks since have been much more touch and go than I am used to or happy with. Still, I’ve managed to get in a good BugMan®-type ride each of the past three weekends, and while the first two were fun, I would have enjoyed them more had the weather been a little sunnier and the roads a little drier.
Well, November is here, and this weekend has ushered in truly spectacular fall weather – dry, sunny, mild, and with tolerably light winds. Best of all, it looks like it might actually stay with us for at least the next week or so. What a glorious weekend I had for weekend 3 of my Étape du Tour 2010 training plan. The BugMan route has gotten a little longer lately, as a bridge replacement on Hardt is forcing me to take a long detour from my house to pick up the route on Melrose, but I have taken advantage of that opportunity to incorporate a climb up Woodland Meadows (the easier westward climb – not the insanely brutal eastward climb!). Today’s route was made even longer still by flooding from the Meramac River on Marshall Road. I did not want to cut out the Marshall climb, so I detoured along Dougherty Ferry, added the short but sharp Highland climb up to Big Bend, then blasted down through Timberlake to pick up Marshall right at the foot of the climb (with the Meramac waters lapping just a few yards away). I ended today’s ride at 72 miles, with 12 big climbs and 4,600 feet of ascent in just over 4 hours. I felt good to the end, although it’s still a far cry from the 109 miles and ~14,000 feet of ascent (but only 3 climbs :)) that I will have to do in the Étape next July.
To the throngs of cyclists that I saw on the roads today, I have only one question – where have all you sissies been the past few weekends?!
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2009