I received a notice that there was a group of guys riding on Friday after work. There was a few things that were going on, but with the weather and schedule for the weekend, I knew I needed to attend. Plans were made to cover everything and my time slot was figured out. I packed up my gear before work hoping the weather was as good as it was supposed to be as I didn’t really pack much stuff if it ended up on the cooler side. I was not sure how well I would ride. I had not been on a bike since the Death March and only limited indoor exercise. My legs were sluggish most of the week and I did not get enough sleep as the week went on. I felt like my blood pressure was high all week and was not feeling the best. I ended up eating too much on Friday at lunch and it didn’t help how I was feeling. Still, I loaded up and showed up early to the meeting area. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not, since I easily could have taken a nap before everyone got there.
Once everyone showed up, it did not take long to head out. Soon enough the pace was running on the quick side. I didn’t feel too bad at this point, but that was before the first climb. Once we hit the first climb the heart rate ran on the high side and I was feeling the power fading. I fell off the back over the next couple of climbs, but they were nice and held up and waited for me to get back on. There was a stretch of time that I was really struggling just to stay in the pace line. I am supposed to be recovering while sitting in line, but it was everything I had to stay there. I was really not shocked when I looked down and saw we were sustaining around 24 mph. It was just too early in the ride for me to be doing this. Anytime the road went up, I was spit out the back quicker than a week old piece of gum. I was thinking about telling everyone to go ahead. I was just not feeling it and didn’t want to hold them up anymore, but the time never really worked out that I could tell them.
I was trying hard to get myself calmed down and recover as quickly as possible. I was really wishing I had remembered to put on my heart rate strap. I would have liked to known where I was during the sections I was struggling. I don’t know if it would have helped me bring it down, but I might have held back sooner and not ended up where I was. As I kept chugging on, I finally started to feel a little better and could hold the wheel in front of me. This helped me get myself under control and start to feel better. I was still not climbing as fast as I would like, but did much better on some of the hills.
Somewhere in this time I started to come around even more. I was even ready to take my turn up front, but then a good sized hill came along and messed up that thought. Even though I was feeling better, I was not real happy when I figured out where we were, but then turned the wrong way. I was so ready to head back toward the car, but we went the opposite way and farther away. I was reminded that there was only one more real hill and I should be fine. There was some traffic when we hit the hill, so we stayed in a pace line while climbing. It kept the group together and everyone else climbing slower and I could keep up. We then had a little break waiting to cross the highway.
This was just enough to help me get ready for the last leg of the ride home. After we crossed, I was in a good place to take over at the front and finally put in some help. I really don’t like not doing my share at the front, but sometimes you have to do what is needed to hang. I was really feeling good at this point and put in a real good pull. Way better than what I figured I could have done after the way the ride started. I pulled longer than I should have and tore my legs up, but I felt like I owed everyone that much. I just hoped I didn’t go too far and not be able to grab the last wheel. I jumped on and held on the best I could, but it was hurting again. The legs loosened back up and thing were rolling better.
As we started getting back in to town, the pace tends to slow with the different intersections. This also is good for my legs to rest. I guess it was good enough that when we hit the climb toward the end that everyone tries to get some king of the mountain points on, I was feeling ready to give it a go. I was in great position and tried to be the first to jump. I had everyone by surprise and was thinking I might have a chance. Well, I guess I surprised my pedal too as it decided to un-clip. When this happened it blew all the element of surprise away and others jumped too. I clipped in as fast as I could and jumped, but I was already behind. I made up some ground, but not enough to roll over the top first.
I was not expecting to be up there first at all, hell I was not even sure I would still be in the group by then. I am very happy with how the ride turned out, but not happy at all at how it started. I need to figure out how to warm up faster if I am going to have any chance racing XC. Maybe I am more ready for the 6 hour race series. I have some time before the races really start, but with the limited time in the schedule, I am not sure where I will be when the time comes.
There was 6 of us that headed out for the ride. It was great riding in a big group. It is so much more fun riding with friends. We ended up with around 34 miles and had an rolling average of 19.4. Not too bad overall, but if I would have been stronger at the start, I am sure the average would have been higher. Thanks to all the guys for waiting on me at the beginning of the ride. I would have never ended up with such a good ride if I would have pealed off the back. I hope you can keep waiting on me as I continue to get stronger and maybe I can continue to keep up as the weather get’s better.