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It wasn't an epic ride. It was far too short for that. But it did have its challenges. There were opportunities to grunt up the steeper climbs with my windbreaker flapping and popping in the headwind like a flag straining to free itself from the pole. My glasses beaded up with rain drops that eventually dripped off the tip of my nose, tickling the tip as with a feather. As the puddle splashes soaked my feet, I fought to control the steering, zigzagging down those unpaved roads that had turned into muddy bogs. I was reminded of epic rides I've read about, but this wasn't one of them.
On rides like this I think about folks like Jan Heine, Kent Peterson, and of course Bill "Big Oak" Lambert. I think about their epic, long distance adventure rides, imagine myself being a fit randonneur, fast and never tiring. Like many of my racer wannabe cycling colleagues, I pretend. When I push off into the cold rain alone, I think to myself, "Ha! I was the only one hard-core enough to start today". When I turn to enjoy a tailwind, my legs turn fixed gear RPMs like a revved-up race motorcycle, and my breathing is rhythmic and easy. I imagine myself several hundred kilometers into a brevet with strength to spare.
But it isn't epic, and I'm not a well-trained endurance athlete. I'm only out for a solo Saturday morning ride. So when I get soaked and hungry, I simply roll back into my driveway, peel off my wet clothes, and have my lunch.