From the recesses of my gray matter today sprung a distant memory of the Polar Bear ride from about 7-8 years ago. Seems I had not been on my bike very much that year when the "oh yeah, I can cover 62 miles no problem" devil stood on my shoulder and delivered his message. I bundled up and hit the road with the lead group only to be dropped within 10 miles. I suffered greatly on that ride and and within the last 10-15 miles, as I'm struggling up a climb, I hear voices behind me shouting "watch out" and "on your left". Unbeknownst to me, it seems I had been doing switchbacks on a straight road climb. The voices came from a couple on a tandem bike and as they pulled beside me they burned this phrase into my soul. "I don't think I've ever seen anyone ride that slowly without falling over" then they set a blistering pace and disappeared over the top of the hill. There I was left alone and suffering and now having to deal with utter embarrassment from tandem riders for which I had no retort.
Last year was freezing cold but a more enjoyable ride with the lead group until mile 42 because as I blew my nose and grabbed for a drink the break occurred. Goodbye my two wheeled friends. The last 20 miles for me consisted of catching up to the fragments that the lead group had shattered into and occasionally riding with a few smaller groups until that backed off the pace. No accidents and no rest stops last year. Overall a great ride and Tracey Lewis and Cricket Butler hung in there as well.
This year, Scott George, Chris Wieczorek and myself plan on drinking all the hot chocolate and eating all the cookies as we work our way from rest stop to rest stop. Be sure to catch our tweets, FB posts and photos as we "Rock the rest stops" via POLAR BEAR. I plan on being so bundled up that I will be unrecognizable!