While I had ridden a lot of 60 to 80 mile rides, since moving to Colorado in 1992, by 1997 I had not actually ridden a full 100 miles in a day, since moving away from the flat-lands of Ohio. And, when I signed up for the yearly Elephant Rock ride, I wasn't really planning on riding one, then.
I had promised to loan my titanium-lugged, carbon-tubed Specialized Epic road bike to a customer, so I planned to ride my DiamondBack Avail, set up as a cyclocross bike, to ride the 60-mile loop. I showed up at the start line, and found Carol, Dave and a couple of other people we were riding with. They had all decided to attempt the 100-mile loop, and asked if I was game.
"Sure," I said. I was in the best shape of my life, at that time, and willing to try anything on a bike.
Off we went, climbing the hill on Highway 86, heading out of Castle Rock.
The ride went fine, but I was beginning to feel the miles as we rode the rolling hills through the Black Forest area. I was actually getting quite a bit more fatigued than I had anticipated, but I plugged away at it. All of my friends were rolling along, okay, and I didn't want to be the sissy.
By about the 80th mile, it was becoming obvious to me that the ride was a bit more than I had anticipated. I couldn't really figure out why I was so tired, but I was determined to continue on.
Finally, we were making the final climb, on Motzenbocker Road (this was one of my favorite parts of the old E-Rock course), and I mentioned to Dave that I was feeling a bit worn out.
"Well, I don't doubt it," he said, looking at my bike.
"What?" I asked, following his gaze and trying to figure out what he so pointedly staring at.
Then, it dawned on me. I had just ridden my first (hilly) Colorado century ride...on 35c knobby cyclocross tires.
Oh, well. You gotta run what you brung, I suppose.