For this month's 200K I decided to ride a permanent in Memphis. I made arrangements with Alan, the route owner, to do the ride on December 23. I was happy to find out that some other riders would be joining me.
The weather report for the day of the ride was for a high of 56 and a 30% chance of rain. At the 7 am start it was 45 but dry. I had spent some time before the ride debating what to wear. I decided on a long sleeve base layer, long sleeve jersey, tights, wool socks, winter cycling shoes, shoe covers, and gloves with liners. I also packed my new rain jacket and balaclava.
There were three of us on the ride: Alan, Terrance, and me. Alan told me that they typically end up separating on the road and then regrouping at the controls. This sounded good to me. We rolled out of the Qwik Shop in Arlington a little after 7. We were heading generally north so the wind was probably helping us. We reached the first control (the Gilt Edge Cafe at mile 31) around 11. Everyone was doing fine so we did stop to eat. I took off my gloves but kept the liners on. From here we headed east. We had a short pause in Covington to regroup. From here we headed southeast to Mason. The wind was becoming more of a factor.
We made it to Mason (mile 54) a little before 11. Terrance reached the control first, followed by me, and then Alan. We got something to eat and then headed back out. It has started drizzling so I put on my balaclava and rain jacket. I would be wearing these for the rest of the day.
We had separated again by the time that I reached I reached Somerville (mile 73). This was not a control but it was one of the last places to eat for a while. I stopped at McDonald's for about 15 minutes. Fighting the wind was difficult and I needed a rest. The bad part was putting my damp gloves and balaclava back on and heading back in to the rain.
I headed towards La Grange and wondered if I'd see the other two riders. I assumed that they were both in front of me. By this point the rain had finally soaked into my socks. I was totally wet but I was working hard enough that I wasn't cold. The high for the day did reach 57 but that was at 10:45 pm. I think that it was under 50 for most of the ride. I did catch up to Alan as he walked up a hill. He was having trouble with cramps. I got to La Grange (mile 89) at 2:30 and I ended up waiting for Alan because I was confused by the info control.
Heading west out of La Grange felt a lot better. I wasn't fighting the wind any longer. I caught up to Terrance at the control in Moscow (mile 98). There was a laundromat right next to the control and he was drying some of his clothes. I was still wet, but I wasn't cold so I did not bother. Alan ended up drying some of his stuff when he caught up to us too.
Moscow was the last control so we just has 30 miles to go. We left around 4 so I was hoping to finish by 6:30. As it got darker I tried to stick with Terrance because he knew the route. I didn't want to have to deal with reading the cue sheet. I also noticed that my headlight wasn't as bright as usual so we stopped so I could put fresh batteries in my headlight. It had been on most of the day and was wearing down.
Some of the last section was on hilly, curvy, 2 lanes roads. I was glad to have all of my reflective gear on. Most of the drivers were good but one or two passed us on blind curves.
Terrance and I made it back to the start at 6:18. Alan rolled in about 5 minutes later. It was a little tougher ride than I was expecting due to the weather, but it felt good to finish.