By the time I reached the left-hand turn onto Bearcamp I had that "not quite today" feeling. I stopped at the little parking lot in JMF for a brief break and grinded up the Bearcamp acclivity before feeling a little better along the rolling Bearcamp run.
I turned left onto Pendleton and briefly stopped to adjust hat, helmet and glasses for the next half-mile of serious climbing. The gps read sections of 10-19%; I don't think Pendleton is that steep, but sources put its average gradient at 9.9%, so maybe so. I still felt alright coming through there into my stop at the gas station for some sustenance. Mind you, if the wife rolled up here at 30 miles and offered a ride home, I would have taken it. I didn't feel fresh and I'm pretty sure I had just done 30 miles into a slight headwind, maybe even spent a little too much energy, burning too many early matches in the name of "tempo". I ate some crap and drank not enough water and headed out for the return, hopefully with some tailwind to work with.
Shortly, along my early Blevins Gap run, I knew I was in trouble. You know the feeling, the lack of ability to turn the gear., the discomfort in the saddle, hand positions, sore back. "That" kind of day. I stopped at a spot I won't discuss, but one that is calling me for a stealth S24O. The first climb up Blevins went slowly, much more than usual. The second Blevins climb after the turn necessitated a quick stop to stretch the back. That Brook saddle on Seafoam is giving me all sorts of problems. Somewhere in there I walked a couple times, to stretch out and to just walk instead of riding.
By the time I hit the Lamborne bike trail I was officially cooked and uncomfortable. By the time I hit the short climb on Manslick I was searching for gimmicky short cuts through the neighborhood, where I found a nice tree at Kenwood Elementary under which I rested and maybe maybe napped for some minutes. This was 40 miles in, not 80 mind you.
I picked myself up and plodded through Iroquois and Southern Parkway, finally stopping at Dairy Kastle for a swirl cone pick-me-up in lieu of a coffee. I decided to suffer the shorter Audobon cut-through with the walk-able Illinois hill. I walked up Valley Vista a bit too. Cooked. In a way, my ride continued. Once home I didn't really answer the wife's questions and instead sat on the patio in a kind of haze, probably napping outside in the chair a bit. After showering I think I napped upstairs on the couch as well, all for a straightforward 50-miler. Heat? Humidity? Fitness? Bike choice?
I did it though, and later had a nice meal with the family. The day ended up fun, cotton ball clouds lit by the fading sun.