One last short climb awaited me on old Route 7 before I reached Clarke's Gap and the mild descent on Dry Mill Road into Leesburg. The W &OD Trail took me through Leesburg, past my crash site of 1996, and into the ever changing countryside - not countryside any more - of eastern Loudoun County.
The hot dry wind blew into my face. I was in a hurry to complete the ride and had decided that the Century was enough for me on this day. I skipped the rest stop at Ashburn. My tired legs spun past Smith's Switch Station - a throwback to the railroad days. The new golf course on Broad Run looked parched despite the sprinklers. Redskin Park was to the left. The miles were slowly passing.
Steve and Stacy greeted me when I pulled into the Pavilion. "How was it?" Steve asked.
"Tough. Hot," I replied "This year was worse than last even though I biked 130 miles last year."
Stacy grabbed my hand and gave it a good shake. The pavilion was crowded with cyclists, some eating, others lolling about with their families. I noticed lots of small children.
I grabbed a cold water and a cold Mountain Dew. I needed a shot!
I sat briefly to gather my thoughts and my balance. Soon other Spiders appeared and we found a table. The food; salad, pasta, bread, and chicken hit the spot.
Stacy decided to ride with me since I was going home. I passed around copies of my biking book, Saved by the Bell. Jody looked fresh despite the heat and the miles. I guess after biking the RAAM a one day ride of 100+ miles was nothing.
After most of the Spiders left Stacy, Kevin and I discussed the ride.
"Look," I pointed across the pavilion.
Lou pushed his bike up to the table and slumped into a chair.
"What happened?" I asked. "I thought you terminated in Hamilton."
"I did, but I had to continue. It is the hardest thing I ever did," Lou said.
"Well, you did great. I didn't think you would make it."
"Good job, Lou," Kevin and Stacy said. Stacy offered his hand. "Way to go."
"Amy met me and brought water and food, so I had to go...." Lou was exhausted.
It was a tough day on the bike. I burned lots of calories, more than 6,000, climbed more than 5,500 feet, averaged 17.3 MPH and traveled more than 107 miles.
26 August 2008