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  • Writer's pictureDella Pierson

The Rise of the Centurions (AKA Fuck you Covid)

March 19th was the day I got laid off from my job due to Covid. I thought, well, I can get some stuff done around the house and be very productive. Wrong! I immediately missed my triathlon and running friends and went head first into a depression. I accomplished nothing except 2 jigsaw puzzles that were absolute torture! The first one was 500 pieces and the last piece was missing. Fuuuuuck! The second one was 1000 pieces and I spent 9 hours one day standing at my island working on it. At 11 pm I finally had food and rested my legs and feet. The next day Dan helped me finish it and I declined all offers for more puzzles.

A month into lockdown, I decided I better get out the door and start running again. I believe this saved my sanity but solo running wasn't that fun for this social butterfly. To feel useful and to have a project that included my running goals, I designed a virtual Mountain Goat route and had a great time making swag bags and signs for every participant. I had a decent amount of people run it and I was thrilled to follow them on the course, cheering them along. I felt like the old me, a loud-mouthed, fun-loving, tutu-wearing asshole. My neighbors loved the DVG (Della’s Virtual Goat) and so did I!

Exactly 2 months after being laid off, I went back to work. During the whole 2 months of quarantine, the weather was cold and miserable. On that first Monday back to work though, the sun came out and we ended up having one of the warmest summers on record. The deferral emails kept arriving in a steady stream as events were postponed to 2021. What was I to do all summer long? I reached 100 days of a running streak and did a few virtual races. All the triathlons were cancelled for 2020 but there was still plenty of water at Cazenovia lake. Some of my Tri friends and I decided to swim there on Sunday mornings. And then a miracle happened, the Thornden pool opened and the mermaids gathered to swim in the sparkling blue water for a whole month. It was glorious.

I dusted off Fernie (my bike, named for Nana) and started riding with my Tri friends on Saturday mornings. We started off easy with 20 - 25 miles. We had a good core group that showed up consistently, and our mileage increased each week. One Sunday, we were throwing ideas around about routes, goals etc. and some jerk (I think it was me) came up with the idea of doing a century ride. 100 miles! Whaaaat?! YES! Finally a goal that Covid cannot mess with. We decided it was a doable goal for the fall when the weather was a bit cooler and we’d have time to build up our mileage. My longest ride before this summer was a 56 mile ride during the 70.3 Barrelman race in 2018 so it had been a while. We worked our way up to 50 miles and did some tough shorter rides too. And then, on September 6th, we rode 70 miles! The course was advertised as rolling hills, which always translates to “fucking hilly” but we did it! We picked our date for the 100 miles, September 27th, and named ourselves "The Centurions." Of course the plan, themes and other details had to be ironed out. Since it’s 100 miles, gold HAD to be our color. Yes, that meant gold tutus! Tutus, medals and signs oh my! Now we were cookin' and I was finally back in my element.

Sep 20th: taper time. 50 miles. How the hell is 50 miles a taper? Well, this year it is! I took the week off so I had lots of free time to work on the details and fret about all the things that could go wrong. Friends started planning how to support our ride. Different routes were put up for debate and a decision was made. The weather looked favorable.

To be continued...

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