Thirty quick ones up into Leverett and over Cave Hill today. I forgot to take the cell phone for photo purposes, which worked out well, because I soon decided I was going to time trial the whole route. Without the camera, I forced myself to take mental photos of some of the striking stuff I saw. Verdant fields in the misty morning, the life-green crops popping more than usual in the suffused light. Slight wisps of moisture daintily caressing the slopes of Mount Toby. Peeks of steely-gray Connecticut River through the trees along Route 47, north of Sunderland's historic center.
The blessing of all the suffering I did on Memorial Day is that it seems to have added to my overall endurance and strength -- instead of simply exhausting me for a month, as all-out, desperate efforts have in the past. So, I rode strong today, and that's better than caffeine or antidepressants for the mood. Of course, saddling up the featherweight aluminum racing steed made for a feeling of superpowers, after all my steel and wide-tired Vaya-riding.
I was hesitant to take on a serious goal like the Tour de Quabbin so early in the season. All that climbing and mileage, before I was really ready for it...? Now, I'm thinking it might have been just the thing. Having recovered well and feeling rambunctious, I'm thinking century... as in, "imperial." As in the big One-Zero-Zero. Old friend Kenny says we did one together on our AYH West Coast tour, back in um, er, cough, cough... 1980. (?!?) That would have been with seriously weighty panniers, a cheap steel bike, and probably standard gearing, not to mention California grades. Never mind: if true, I hereby declare it an accomplishment of another lifetime. I was 16, strong, and worry-free; literally anything was possible. I plan to be much, much more impressed with my 2011 version.
Any ideas for what to call it? A medieval century? The Second Century, A.D. (After Domestication)?
One important note I forgot from last week's gravelly 35: On my way up silent, beautiful Pratt Corner Road, I startled a deer immediately at the edge of the woods, not twenty feet from me. You should have seen, and heard, his white-tailed rump bounding over the bushes.