Advice from the Jensie


It was chilly, if not cold, at the start. Just 52° (11°C) and pretty windy. There was a forecast of rain moving in in the afternoon. My options were a 100-mile ride or a 70-mile ride. Plus whatever distance I would be adding to and from the hotel.

I met Scott at the start

I was thinking about the century ride and whether I would have enough time to ride 100 miles and beat the rain. Maybe the weather would force my hand. But there was something else.

Massive start

I have been wearing the Whoop band which measures biometrics. Last night, and the two nights prior to that, my “recovery” rate has been poor. My body is not recovering the way I need it to and therefore a big effort may be hard to achieve.

Just random cyclists

I was out the door by 7:00 a.m. and was at the start by 7:20 a.m. I was ready to roll but wanted to meet a friend first. Scott lives in the area and we planned to meet at 7:30 a.m. But he was running late and we did not meet and get rolling until 8:00 a.m. I felt like everyone who was riding was already on course and ahead of me.

A “private” port-a-john just 10 miles in

As I pedaled the first 15 miles I didn’t feel right. The jump in my legs was not there. Or maybe worse, the enthusiasm I had for riding the bike was missing. There was a group of 30-somethings, probably four men and two women although maybe it was three and three, that went by me. It was a group that I might normally jump into (if they didn’t mind). But I didn’t have the energy to stay with them.

Rest Stop one (of one)

I didn’t need Whoop to tell me that. I was off. I felt it. I decided then to take the 100-mile ride off the table and do the 70-mile ride. But the weather started turning. There was some spitting rain already and I had to rethink my strategy.

Volunteer at Rest Stop one supporting UVA (he attended)

I remembered what Jens Voigt said when he retired. He loves riding his bike but the two things he will no longer do is suffer and ride in the rain. And I knew that even if I rode 70 miles, I would be suffering. And I would probably be riding in the rain.

Bikes at Green Mountain (Rest Stop one)

That made my decision easier. There’s something nagging about shortening the route as though one has failed. I had to put that out of my mind and convince myself that it was okay. But I knew that today, it was the right thing to do. This was the fifth time for this event. I have ridden the 100-mile route twice and the 70-mile twice so I knew the route and what I would be seeing or missing. Plus I had nothing to prove. My decision would have been different if this was my first event or first century.

Raining during lunch

I came to the 30-mile cutoff and turned. I would go short today. Well, it wasn’t exactly short. I added one extra loop around the lake and there was the distance to and from the event. So I still rode 45 miles.

Back to the hotel

But at the pavilion, as I ate lunch, I watched the rain come down. I knew it was the right decision for me on this day. I rode in the light rain back to the hotel. When I got back I cleaned my bike and then went to the hotel’s whirlpool. It was outside and still only 52° and raining, but it felt so good to slump all the way down in the water.

Relaxing in the whirlpool (photo from the prior day)

I wanted more miles today. But my body said no. Plus the thought of dealing with soaked shoes and soaked clothes while traveling was one I didn’t want to deal with. There will be other rides but Jens is right – no need to suffer or ride in the rain.

EPILOGUE – I felt very good about my decision today. It rained all afternoon and was generally miserable outside. The thought of soaked shoes while traveling was the worst. I could have washed my clothes but not much to do with the shoes.

Before it was Horrible


This was my fifth time coming to the Horrible Hundred. A great feature, and perhaps my favorite, is the “familiarization” rides held on Saturday, the day before the event. They are actually just no-drop group rides.

Before the ride

The first two years I joined the 8:30 a.m. 50-mile ride. It was their “A” level ride. The second time I rode it I decided it was too large for my safety and comfort and instead I rode with their “B” or “C” level (but probably B. Like Goldilocks, this one was just right.

Loving my Bici photo bike stand

Last year we had perhaps 20 riders and it was a really nice group. I was hoping for the same and even the same group leader from last year.

Downtown Clermont

I left the Marriott Fairfield Inn hotel and headed to the waterfront. I arrived at 8:45 a.m. while the C group was headed out. I waited a few minutes, looking around to see who might be riding. Some people gathered but they weren’t part of us. At 8:58 a.m. a guy wearing a “Ride Leader” jersey asked if I was here for the 9:00 ride. I told him I was and he said, “It looks like it will be the three of us.”

Dan followed by Don

Don was our group leader. I soon found out he lived in Woodbridge forty years ago. Our other rider was Dan. I found out the two of them rode the Trans-America Trail, from Yorktown, Va. to Oregon some time ago.

Blue Heron

Don had an eBike. He announced that we would take one-mile pulls and ride in a pace line. Since I was displaying kilometers I always rode at least two kilometers and sometimes three before pulling off the front. When we came to the hills Dan would trail off. Don said it was because he was 75 years old. Good for him. When we came to Cherry Lake Road Don told me to go ahead and ride back without them so they didn’t hold me back. I did ride ahead but when I reached the top I turned around and went back to Dan and rode up again.


It was a nice ride. It’s a very nice route (42 miles). I hope that with three people the event doesn’t decide to cancel it. If I go back I plan on doing this Saturday route again.

Christmas Trees in Clermont

I rode back to the hotel and was enjoying the weather. Rather than stop riding, I simply dropped off my Horrible Hundred t-shirt and then went to PDQ for lunch. After lunch, I rode back to the waterfront. I visited a decorating of the trees for Christmas. There I talked to Melinda from the Clermont Triathlon Club. She told me of a ride for C2C that I should look for. Maybe next year.

Clermont Triathlon Club
We approve except for the running and swimming themes

Relaxing in the whirlpool (Marriott Fairfield Inn

LODGING: Fairfield Inn by Marriott, Clermont, Fla.