Anyone ever have one of those rides where you find out that you're not even remotely as fit as you thought you were? Today was my turn; the most painful century I've ridden in years, with cramping, knee pain, constant hunger, and a rolling average of mumblemumblemumble.blush miles per hour.
Here's the route; basically, it ended up being Castle Shannon, Robinson, and Cranberry, with various and sundry exploratory stuff. Couple of new-to-me roads today; Backbone out of Sewickley was a moderately tough climb, and plummeting down Hitzel Hill on the other side of the ridge was a bit scary, due to gravel and debris. (Incidentally, I now understand why Oscar Swan refers to Hitzel Hill Rd as "a guaranteed way to make any Red Belt ride unpleasant"..) On the Gibsonia end of things, I took Meridian to 910 as a spur-of-the-moment detour; at that point, I was in enough pain that the only way I could see to salvage some pleasure from the ride was to at least ride a new road.
Ride troubles; by the time I hit Robinson, I was in trouble; felt almost like I was bonking, except that I'd been steadily hoovering down gels, Heed, and some semi-solid gas station food. I was also feeling chronically hungry; perhaps I should have stopped for a sandwich or suchlike. By the time I got to Cranberry, my right knee was getting dicey; I think my form went to hell due to the fatigue, so I started mashing more than was good for me. It's also possible that the cranks are just a fraction of an inch too close; I'd fit the P-38 to Lance a few weeks back, and maybe I didn't quite restore it to my preferred position.
On the bright side, I accomplished my goal; got February's century in for the Year-Rounder challenge, even if it was not my most shining performance. I am pleased that I managed to complete the ride without any apparent serious injury; while it's not the most glamorous of randonneuring skills, the ability to ride within the limits of a physical ailment without giving up or pushing too hard is a useful one.
On the down side, that was not the kind of riding that will get me through a brevet series. Yeah, I haven't done any long rides over the winter; yeah, the bike fit may have been a wee bit off; yeah, I've been sick for much of the last month, excuse, excuse, whine. Regardless, I have a lot of work to do for the season, if I'm going to do as well as I intend.