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Midnight Milestones - The Winner
By P. Stone
Date: 1/3/2004
Midnight Milestones - The Winner

MIDNIGHT MILESTONES - Are you ride enough?

After I finished my ride in sub-tropical paradise, I heard from several riders who braced the cold in North America to commemorate the year 2004. I ask you, how cool is that? Some of my non-riding friends still ďarenít 100%Ē after they tortured their bodies in a more traditional fashion, the vast consumption of various alcoholic drinks. But letís give credit where credit is due, it takes endurance to drink, even if it is a tainted sort of endurance.

I like the story of the rider who goes out not for glory or cash, but who goes out for the ride. Thatís truly a beautiful thing. I heard from Rich Harris of Dallas, PA, who fought through, snow and rain and 20 F temps to nail his first century of the year with his son trailing him in a support vehicle. Nancy Guth wrote in about her and John Guthís ride in Stafford, Virginia. They each rode a century beginning at 12:01 on the Quantico Marine Corps base, passing sixty-two deer, the FBI Academy and DEA offices.

Nancy described their ride:

Last night was a very special, crystal clear night in Northern Virginia in the pine forests of Quantico. John and I started our time trial loop (25 miles) strong and fast, but the cold air stung the lungs by the time we were high on a ridge, 10 miles out with nothing around but deer, wild turkeys, a few rabbits, and beaver slapping their tails to keep us alert as we passed their pond. We saw stars that we had not seen since the clear night riding through the hills of France, on our last 50 miles back into Paris on PBP. I did miss the aroma of the French cafe-the marine corps dining room just did not quite have the same tempting smells.

Our second loop, started at about 1:30 am, was the most difficult mentally. It was really cold, and I knew we had two more; we were not even half way. I kept myself motivated by promising a hot coffee and cookie at the van before loop three! Loop three, started at 4:45, was faster again because we knew we were half way, and it was so cold, that even with our balaclavas pulled way over our face, the cheeks stung (and I mean face cheeks and rear cheeks, as the night air was biting about 3 AM)!

We stopped for a ten minute break after loop three, sipped some hot chicken soup (love those instant soups. We always take a thermos of hot water, and have hot chocolate or soup handy. An ultra tip we used at Furnace Creek 508).

Our last loop started with a falling star streaking through the sky! We knew we were blessed and flew through the last 25 miles, enjoying a very faint tinge of dawn coming through the midnight black as we turned the corner to head back on the last ten miles of the first 100 in 2004! We pulled up to our van at 6:16 AM, tired but invigorated, and ready for breakfast!

Later we went to Washington DC and did 26 miles on the Hains Point loop with other DC area cyclists on New Years Day. Then we drove out to the eastern Shore and spent the next two days (our 16th wedding anniversary) cycling the Eastern shore.

Now that sounds like endurance proper. I want to congratulate Nancy on her winning entry and we will be sending out her new Spartacus wheels, compliments of Velocity Wheels. Second prize, the RAAM jersey is still to be determined.

P. Stone

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