Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Summer Millstone ... er, Milestone

In Monday's post, I was telling you that motivation for cycling lately has been lagging. Let's be honest, though: Whose wouldn't be in this heat? My old friends in middle Tennessee were suffering through 107 degrees this past weekend, and it doesn't look as if it's going to be getting any better.

But I know for danged sure that it ain't getting any cooler in southwest Florida for at least the next three months. Generally, July through September (also known as "hurricane season") is muggy down here, with the kind of heat and humidity that will have your cycling clothes soaked with sweat within an hour at even the easiest pace. It's the kind of oppressive heat that forces you to use insulated bottles and stop every hour to top them off with ice and liquids, just in the hope that you can keep your brain pan from getting so hot that it melts your helmet.

So, a couple of months ago I decided to plan for a summer goal. Originally, it was supposed to help me test my fitness for my upcoming tour of the Pacific Coast, but due to the nature of some other things beyond my control, it has become more than that. (Sorry about the foreshadowing -- I will tell you about the "other things" and all that in a future blog ... maybe next week.)

My summer goal? Quadzilla.

Quadzilla is normally a 500-mile bicycle race that draws a bunch of racers from RAAM and other UMCA events. My friends Jeff Bauer and George Hiscox did it in 2010, and Jeff said that the scenery is beautiful ... at least, the parts that he got to see during the day and/or that he remembers from sleep-deprivation.

Which is why I'm doing it the wimpy way.

This year, it's going to be four consecutive 200Ks, run ACP/RUSA style. That means that you get to sleep every night. In a bed!

Sure, it's a tough course. Apparently, you're usually either climbing or descending, since over the length of the full 500 miles you end up gaining over 30,000 feet. As most of my rides here haven't had even 300 feet of elevation gain, I'm kind of looking forward to that part.

Another part that has me excited is the weather. The normal high temperature up there this time of year is only 80 degrees, and oddly enough this is in one of those weird parts of the world where a temperature of 80 degrees actually means that it feels like it's just 80 degrees. In the evenings, the temperatures dip into the upper 50s. In Naples, we call that "winter."

You know what else has me excited? I've got some friends from Nashville that are coming up for this ride -- folks that I haven't seen in a long time and who might actually get to ride kind of slow with me and just enjoy the scenery and talk. That will be novel, since lately all anybody wants to do on a ride down here is hammer as hard as they can (and sometimes harder than they can) and get it over with. I would argue with that, but it's probably for the best because the scenery doesn't change much on the few roads you can ride on here, and it sure ain't gonna get cooler the longer we're out on the road.

Which brings me to the last thing that has me excited: New roads ... or at least they're new to me. I miss the fun of having some variety in my road choices, and can't wait to see something other than the same old palm trees, mansions, and beaches. (Okay, I know that sounded like bragging, but you really do get tired of paradise.)

Anyway, the trip isn't until the last week of July, so I've still got time to build some fitness before I go. I promise to blog from there, so you'll have some new stories to read and pictures of different places to enjoy. If we're lucky, you may also get a more energized, excited, and happy RandoBoy.

I think we all need one.

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