Today would be the first of many miles. It would also be the only day where we knew the weather would be pleasant, which it was — 60s all day. The weekend forecast was foreboding. We planned on four days of riding, but there was a good chance that at least one of those days would be rained out.
It was slightly frosty when we left Santee State Park and warming up quickly. It seemed that with every minute, the sun would shine a little brighter and it would get a little warmer. It wasn’t long on the road before we were ditching layers and basking in the sun.
The route was rural, as they all are down here in the Lowcountry. We took country roads and country highways through vast fields (mostly depleted cotton), abandoned houses, a few farms, chewed up roads and lots of dogs.
Early in the route we had a pleasurable dog encounter, a rarity for a cyclist. We were minding our business riding down the road when a Beagle starts running with us. She was not aggressive, just wanted to play. She was tiny and a little hobbled in her hind leg, but was able to run quite a bit. She stuck with us for about two miles. Sometimes she would get so excited that she would jump into the road in front of us, and promptly crossed back to the other side. She was constantly crisscrossing the road with only a moment’s notice, keeping us on our toes as we rode along. We enjoyed her company until finally she went home.
We planned on 56 miles, almost to Orangeburg and back. Vince and I kept getting ahead of the others and would turn back to meet back up with them. In the process we ended up with extra miles. By the time we got to lunch, everyone had 26 miles while we had 36. We decided that with uncertain weather on the horizon and us keeping a good pace, today would be a great day to make our own century.
When we arrived back at Santee State Park, we had 66 miles. We would need only 17 miles out and back to finish up. We followed the same route and kept a good, consistent pace despite some moderate headwinds. We ended our century in the mid-afternoon.