Today I was on the road before dawn. I wanted to beat the nasty Texas heat, and get back home in time to still have a fresh cup of coffee. I had planned a 60 mile ride to Fulshear, one of my only long routes that I've ridden in Houston, but better than many long routes I've ridden in Austin and South Texas.
With headlight and taillight flashing, I spun along at 18-20 mph, building cadence and working my way into the big ring. Sweat was pouring, bugs were flying into my mouth, but like most days on the bike, it was good. About 15 miles in, I got really lucky, and just like my last ride, I had a flat. Of course, it's no biggie, just that it delayed me for 10 minutes and gave my legs just enough time to stiffen. I rode on, passing a few roadies and one large mountain biker, and was passed by only a trio of strong cyclists riding in a paceline at about 23 mph. My ego was on solid ground, which helped my legs begin to loosen.
At about mile 50, the heat started getting to me. I poured water on my head, struggling to ride into a light 5 mph wind and hold 16 mph. I saw my rabbit in the form of a rider on a road bike wearing a sleeveless baggy t-shirt. Hah! Anyone that sloppy deserves to be caught! But he was riding like he was on mile 5 against my 50, and I couldn't catch him. Or perhaps he was simply a stronger cyclist. Regardless, feeling defeated and overheated, I slowed to about 15 mph. I drank more water. I was not feeling good, but I kept focused and rolled for home.
When I turned on to my street I was only at 59.7 miles. Round ups be damned. Hitting the goal mileage is important. My Garmin tracks to the hundredth of a mile; thus, the ride would not be over until I hit 60.00 miles. I rode about 20 dizzying loops around my cul de sac, hit 60.02 miles, and with goal achieved, called it a ride.