Things got off to a good start: I arrived early enough on Friday to take a short spin on the road bike to ensure its readiness for Saturday's big ride. And Saturday's ride was big indeed! The Fools Classic was a monster, covering 79 miles of seldom-used and even less-frequently-maintained country roads. The ride featured more than 5,000 feet of climbing and about 20 miles of unpaved roads. There were about 70 riders. I wasn't the first to finish and I wasn't the last. It wasn't a race, per se, but a sportive not unlike Cheesehead Roubaix. But while Cheesehead Roubaix is mostly flat, the Fools Classic went up and down a series of hills quite unlike anything we have in southeastern Wisconsin. Imagine our steepest hill. Now triple the length of the climb. Now strip all the asphalt off the road. I needed 5:55 to complete the route, and I was completely cooked when it was over. But I was rewarded with a good day of training, a free T-shirt and two bottles of locally-brewed ale.
On Sunday morning I enjoyed Tom Boonen's victory at Paris—Roubaix, though clearly the race was changed for the worse by the absence of Fabian Cancellara. I did a short recovery ride later on Sunday and felt surprisingly good. That led me to believe Monday's trip to Evansburg State Park would be enjoyable, but I hated every moment of my time on the mountain bike trails there. I have to believe that it's still so early in the season that nobody is riding on or maintaining the trails, as they were in terrible shape. I gave up after a frustrating hour of trying to find a coherent loop, then got a front tire flat as I was returning to my car.
Today was a rest day that shouldn't have been a rest day. All day long I lived under the threat of rain, but the rain never came. Tomorrow's forecast is nearly identical to today's, but I'll try to ride if I can. It's low-50s and very high winds here, so I would rather be on the trails than on the road. But now that I know Evansburg is a big pile of suck, I don't know where to take the 29er. I'm thinking about going back to the Perkiomen Trail. It won't help me with my technical riding skills at all, but at least it will allow me to ride for a couple of hours in the woods. If that plan doesn't work tomorrow, then perhaps I'll try it on Thursday, my last day here. A long ride on the Perkiomen Trail would be a satisfying conclusion to my trip. Without it, I will be disappointed. The Fools Classic by itself was not enough to get me closer to the fitness I want before the WORS race at Iola on May 6. There won't be an opportunity to ride on Friday or Saturday. I'm already watching Sunday's weather forecast, hoping for a chance to rediscover my home roads for a few hours.