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 I would be adding the distance 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 have 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 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, that 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. My decision probably 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. And 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.