The in-laws left Springfield in the late morning.  Dan had already left for his morning brick.  It was cold and raining by the time they left.  So I was left to wait and hope the rain stops in time for a long ride.  I flipped back and forth on the Weather Channel probably, ohhhhhh, a hundred times.  Watching the green blob slowly trickle from left to right across the screen.  The rain would stop, it was just a matter of when.  The later the day goes on the less motivation I have to train.  Riding for 3 hours didn’t seem all that much fun starting at 15:00.

Unfortunately that’s what I had to do.  Austin is only 4 weeks away so this time is critical.  The rain stopped just as I exited my driveway.  Amazingly, I was mentally prepared to ride in the rain.  I don’t know what got into me.  Mother Nature had pity on me and the only rain I had to negotiate was the spray from cars and my front wheel.

As I turned right onto Old Jacksonville Rd. there were only 30 more miles to go before I could turn around.  Riding to Jacksonville on Old Jacksonville Rd. is like waterboarding.  It tries to break you but builds character if you can make it.  There are no turns and no scenery.  Just long straightaways, bends, and 4-5 small hills.  The landmarks go like this:  the Farmingdale water tower, Berlin, the county line, the 4-way stop, the prison, Jacksonville.  That’s about it.

The sun was out by the time I turned around in the downtown area.  I took the opportunity to stop at Casey’s to take a nature break and remove my long sleeve base layer.  It was 62 when I left but probably close to 70 after the sun came out.  I traded the sleeves for a vest and got back on the bike.

I didn’t notice much of a headwind on the way there but I did notice the tailwind home.  What a relief.  I maintained around 22 mph all the way home just trying to maintain some power without extending myself.

By the time I got home it was 18:00 and I had 61 miles in.  Relieved and unbroken I felt somewhat empowered.  I sometimes relish long, solo rides.