Every year in November our bicycle club, The Florida Freewheelers, puts on a great ride called the Horrible Hundred, offering a challenging collection of the Central Florida hills near our home in Clermont. There are generally three route options, ranging from 35 to 105 miles. Shortly after Kathy and I got our first tandem back in 1999, we did the short route, which was about all we could handle at the time. In the five or six years after that, I rode the 70 or 100 mile route every year on my road bike. Since that time Kathy and I have been managing one of the rest stops for the event rather than riding.
Yesterday we met Steve and Debi Katzman for what we expected to be an easy 30 to 35 mile ride. Instead, we let Tom Bargnesi, the Horrible Hundred event director for 2009, talk us into doing a test ride of the 35 mile route, which incorporates a couple of new route changes. Off we went, our two tandems and three very strong guys on singles. Consistent with our last two weekend rides, Kathy and I rode a brisk pace on the flats and handled all the climbs without any difficulty at all. We may be ten years older than the last time we rode this route on tandem, but we found it to be a great deal easier. I would stop short of calling it an easy ride, but it certainly was not very hard.
We are, without doubt, suddenly riding on a different level than we have for the past ten years. It is very, very nice to be able to do these rides, stay with the group, even on hills, and not feel totally wasted at the end.