Annual eppstein uhen architects ride yesterday –– 102 miles of bicycling bliss.  Wish I could say the same for my bike and for the other riders in the lead group with me.  There was only 1 small group of 20 mph riders this year, and no 22 mph group.  In years past, there were 3 separate fast groups that went off before the general population took off at 18, 16 and  .  Our group had: me, all around nice guy and 3 time Ironman competitor David Staab and racer and ToAD organizer Billy Ochowicz along with about 9 or so other riders.  When I saw one of the riders lining up on his TT bike with a sleeveless uni-tard (heavy emphasis on the TARD) and his Ironman tattoo and number still on his bike, I figured it would be an interesting day… especially since he was carrying about 30-40 extra pounds of what looked to be bacon and cheeseburgers around his mid-section.  Clearly, he’s never read “The Rules”.

We got off to a nice easy start and headed west into the hills of Lake Country.  It was chilly and overcast at first, but as the day wore on, the temps climbed and the sun eventually came out for good.  Perfect weather for a long ride.  I started on the back, making sure we didn’t drop anyone.  After the first rest stop, I was feeling pretty good, so I decided to go to the front and help Billy and Dave with the pulls.  It became a familiar place for the rest if the ride, with most riders getting more and more gassed after the halfway point. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel since I hadn’t done 100 since the Bone Ride back in May.  Fortunately, I felt stronger with every mile.  The hardest part was stopping at all 5 rest stops.  It makes for a much longer day than just plowing through and hitting one or two to re-hydrate.  At 75 miles I felt like I had just started and we had to regroup after each of the hill climbs.

I made it through 100 of the 102 miles before a nasty tear in my tire finally blew.  My good friend George Washington slipped in and fixed it so I could finish off the last 2 miles.  Kind of anti-climactic.

At one point early on, I noticed that the white line on the side of the road looked pretty fresh.  I crested a hill and saw the line painting crew right in front of us.  That’s when I realized I had just ridden through a fresh coat of road paint.  Today’s project – removing paint from my bike and kit…

I’m thinkin’ of just leaving it and bringing the whole splatter look back from the 80’s, since my bike and kit are perfectly matched now…

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