Topping off an excellent cycling season

Although I ride all year, I get especially excited about cycling season. For me, cycling season officially begins with a ride known as the Monster Cookie which takes place on the third Sunday in April, and it ends with the Peach which is held the last Saturday in September.

The Peach attracts about 1000 riders, but this year the cool wind and rain drove a lot of people away — I’ve never seen so few cyclists at a major event ride before. But I enjoy riding in slop, so I simply took my commuting rig which was literally built for such conditions.

I usually ride solo, but the wind was bad enough that I thought I’d be crazy not to make a few friends. So I started working with a local team around mile 45. The weather was relentless, and a lot of riders were bailing. But I was having a blast as was the team I was with.

Between mile 55 and 75, I didn’t see a single other cyclist aside from the team members. We thought we were off course, but the faint course markings which had been mostly washed away by rain indicated we weren’t. The feed station at mile 75 is normally very busy, but it was desolate when we arrived. The volunteers told us only 5 riders showed up before us, 4 of whom were still there.

During the final leg, the rain started letting up, but I’d worked a bit too hard fighting the wind when I was leading the group. At mile 90, I fell off the back on a modest climb into a headwind. The team support vehicle released their mascot, a pit bull named Ramses, to motivate me. And while that lifted my spirits and gave me a boost, I just didn’t have enough left in me to bridge the gap.

While I was enjoying peach cobbler and ice cream at the end, one of the team members came up to me, said some flattering things about my riding, and reiterated an invitation I’d been given earlier to ride with with their team. The whole day had been fantastic, but that really ended things on a positive note.

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