I stepped up my audax preparation with a 100 km ride doing eight laps around my usual stomping grounds. Due to a number of factors, this effort was quite a bit harder than if I had pedaled the same distance on the actual Subic-Masinloc-Subic route. I was pedaling in many, many circles, and each lap introduced me to nasty road vibrations and quite a bit of climbing.
It was a good opportunity for me to field-test my gear. The Rodeo Labs Explorts 1.1 proved its toilet-break chops, and it did all right on the ride, but redoing the bib straps’ buckles was challenging once they had hiked up my back, and ultimately the chamois had relented to the choppy chip-seal roads by the end of my four-hour stint. Perhaps I should have let out some air from the American Classic Timekeeper tires, which I had run at around 65 psi. The Bivo Trio bottles were excellent, holding on tenaciously to their cold water for many, many hours. Their contents went lukewarm eventually, but I think this can be easily countered by carrying more ice onboard than the four cubes per bottle that I put in.
Part of the reason behind the 100 km ride was also to test my left foot after the repeat bout of sesamoiditis it had. Things were very promising here, too. With my feet cranking out the watts in the Specialized S-Works 6 XCs stuffed with the Ergon IP3 Solestar insoles, sesamoid tendon pain was very far from my mind, and I could make a solid case for investing in another pair or two of Solestar’s wares.
So far, so good, right? Well, Fate had a cruel surprise for me just three days later.
I came crashing down with a high fever, chills, weakness, and a cough so incessant that my throat went sore from all the vain attempts to hoik the phlegm out. Even though people would call these “mild” COVID19 symptoms, collectively they were still bad enough for me to get sidelined for a week. While I had no difficulty in actual breathing apart from the coughing, during the worst of the sickness I felt a ridiculous shortness of breath after going up and down the stairs in my own house.
I suppose I should be grateful that just a couple of years after the initial wave of COVID19, the disease is no longer a death sentence – thanks to the vaccinations I’ve had, and the mutations within the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself. By the end of the fifth day, with the help of medication for my symptoms, I could feel myself recuperating.
What does this mean for my audax aspirations? As of this writing I have not yet swung my leg over my bike for a ride. I’m fairly confident I am still up for the challenge, though.