Every once in awhile you just need to go long all by yourself. Alone. SOLO. That’s what I did today. Now don’t get me wrong, I like a nice group ride as much as the next guy. But with all that’s been going on over the last few months with the opening of BELGIANWERKX, kids in college, etc., the long solo ride has been generally pushed aside. So I found myself this morning with no commitments, nobody needing me, nowhere to be. Quick, get on the bike and go! I didn’t really have a plan or a route, but in the back of my mind I thought it would be cool to knock off 100 miles. And since today was the T***100, why not do a Ridley100? So I climbed aboard the Ridley Helium SL and headed north & west. I had 2 rules for today’s ride, keep it in the small ring and enjoy the ride. Leaving Cedarburg, I spun easy towards West Bend/Newburg, with the Northern Kettle Moraine being my vague destination. The weather was great, mid 60’s, partly sunny, and generally light E/NE winds. As I neared Kewauskum and the kettles, the hills arrived. But I enjoyed them, just spinning up & down, taking in the wonderful scenery of the area. I rolled past Mauthe Lake, through New Prospect & Dundee, and around Long Lake. Then I got a little lost & disoriented. What direction am I going? Where’s the next town? It’s been awhile since I didn’t know where I was. And to be honest, I’ve missed that. But then I stumbled into Beechwood, and my inner-Garmin re-connected. At this point I was fully commited to 100 miles. So I criss-crossed back thru the New Fane area, adding a few more miles. Into Barton & West Bend, then a round-about route back towards Cedarburg. As I neared home I looked at the Garmin 510 and realized I was right on track for a century. 100.1 miles as I pulled into my driveway. And you know what, I feel great! I saw wildlife, smelled flowers, heard kids laughing and really FELT the road. This was exactly what I needed!
Now for the product reviews. The Ridley Helium SL is an incredible ride! It climbs like a mountain goat, descends with confidence and is such a comfortable all-day-in-the-saddle machine. The SRAM Red components perform flawlessly (though I need to change-up the brake pads when I throw on the carbon wheels). And I also need to mention the new Bell Gauge helmet that our rep Chris Newlin gave me the other night. I do love my Lazer Helium, but my odd shaped noggin doesn’t quite fit right and I tend to get headaches on longer rides. Not so with the Bell, perfectly comfortable for the full 6 hours today. Thanks Chris! Now I need to check out that Air Attack…..
To make a long story longer, I realized (again) today how nice it is to just get out and ride for a loooong time while drinking in your surroundings. Group riding is an entirely different dynamic, not better or worse, just different. It’s great to catch-up with friends, make new friends, engage in some hijinks and trade good-natured insults. But there’s nothing like piling up the miles while alone with your thoughts. We should all try to do that more often. See you on the road!