With the temps being in the 50’s, I knew there would be a group ride forming. I made sure everything was taken care of and loaded up my gear. 50’s can be a tough call on what to wear. It all depends on how much sun is out and how windy it is. I made sure to pack a couple of options just in case. The sun was nice all day and warming up good. I chose a happy medium of all the options I packed and hoped it was warm enough and not too warm.
There was 7 of us that showed up. I was happy with my start. I didn’t red line anywhere too soon and it gave my body enough time to warm up. I even took a turn at the front fairly early. This is not always good for me as it can raise my heart rate up too soon and when that happens, my tank gets drained quickly. There was a hill that worked my over a little, but I recovered quickly and went on.
The pace was moving along nicely and the group was working together well. There was a little more accordion action going on then normal. This along with a few turns left me hurting enough that a short group of hills spit me out the back with the HR way too high. Everyone slowed down long enough for me to jump back on. I seemed to feel better after this and could stay with everyone.
We hit an intersection a little ways in to the route and it was discussed if we were going left or right. I think the original plan was to go left, but someone seemed to talk everyone in to going right and hit a few more hills than what we would have. Right away I was spit out the back for the first climb, but managed to not get too far behind. The group was splitting up with the back to back hills. There also seemed to be a few guys who felt froggy and test each other. The group kept pulling back together and then someone would pull off the front. The pace was really moving for this section and the group was a bit of a chaos, but still fun. Between the hills and the accelerations, my legs were screaming at me at times, but seemed to recover quickly. By the end of that straight we all seemed to get back together and started to keep the group going. I ended up at the front pulling again. I was not feeling too bad, so I stayed there as I felt I could.
Not long after that section when I pulled off the front, I had the thought that it would be a great picture. So, I pulled my glove off so my phone would work. I then dug in to my pocket and grabbed my phone. I sat up and took the picture above while sitting up riding no handed somewhere around 24 mph. I didn’t really think much of it, but if something would have went wrong, I know my wife would have been very mad at me for being what she would call dumb.
A little ways down the road we all slowed down for a little bit. I took the time to down a gel. I could tell the tank was getting empty and my calf was threatening to cramp. It was not longer a threat in a few minutes and was cramping on and off for a little bit. I managed to work through it and started to feel better again. We crossed the road and headed toward some more hills. Yeah! Somehow when we crossed the road I ended up near the front of the pack again and soon enough, it was my turn at the front again. I took my turn, but it ended up at one of the first hills. I slowed and almost everyone went around and said goodbye.
This next section was a couple of hills back to back. I tried to recoup as fast as I could and still put down a good enough effort to close the gap. Eventually they slowed down some and I could jump back on with one more still behind me. As the road was going down more than up at this time, all 7 of us were back together and started to roll as a group again. We had to cross another road and sure enough, I found myself in second again. I really need to work on not getting myself back at the front all the time. I seem to end up there all too often and then I have to take my turn pulling. This time Brian was going to be kind enough to pass me and take the front. He knew I didn’t want to be up there and had been there often enough. I was glad, but still did what I was going to do and pulled out to the side and enjoyed some time at the back of the pack. Things were good from there on except for the short hill near the end. I know how some of them like to hit it on the hill at the end of the ride. I had found myself toward the front and jumped and went for it, but could not hold off everyone. There was another small hill after that one and I tried to push it again, but didn’t have anything left. I settled in and was just happy to roll up to the car.
It was a great group ride. I think it pushed almost all of us harder then we expected. I know I was shot when I got home and had a hard time keeping my eyes open for very long. My whole body hurt as it still does today. At times even walking hurts. That just tells me it was a great ride! I look forward to keeping at it and seeing how the group can progress as the weather gets better. If we get a lot stronger then we currently are, I know I will be happy with how I will be riding. There had been times that I would have been just happy to be doing what we are right now.
sweet!! That actually worked. That is another reason for the switch.