Tonight’s club ride was absolutely a perfect night for a ride (with the exception of the three phone calls and one text message I got – one call I actually took, but more on that later). Light westerly wind, 70 degrees (F) and sunshine. After a three day off stint for the weather and a rough “get the legs back” easy ride yesterday, I was not expecting great results – in fact I was a bit nervous. After a spirited warmup we lined up for the start… I started towards the front, three riders back in the double pace-line, 20 deep each side. We had a headwind the first mile and a half so I wanted to take my pull early but after the turn and then spend some miles hanging out back in the draft. With the light breeze the draft finally meant something and with the deep lines I was able to spend a ton of time chilling in relative comfort.
Unlike many of the Tuesday night rides we never got close to 28 mph for any length of time (except the downhills of course, where we frequently topped 30). Halfway through I felt simply fantastic…
Then we hit that two mile stretch that I wrote about three months ago. The hills. And I killed them. Ironically it wasn’t so much the winter training that got me over those hills – it was the hill work I’ve been doing this spring (I wrote about that here). I was so strong in the hills that I actually ended up waiting behind the pace-line to make it over the crest – I had to coast uphill – let me tell you how fantastic that felt: F#€K YES! One other neat little tidbit on climbing and shifting – I can’t get to my easy gears without cross-chaining with my triple so I have to climb decent hills in my middle 42 ring… If I upshift two gears in back then downshift from the 52 to the 42 up front, the gear ratios match up almost perfectly and it takes about a second, so when we approached a hill, a simple right-right-left shift and I was right there without losing more than a couple of inches from the wheel ahead of me.
The big dogs started pulling away on the hills though not by much so we reeled them back in on the downhill. Up until this point I’d managed to hide out back pretty well so when they tried to break again I bridged the gap on the way up a nice little roller – then I realized that if I stayed with them (there were only eight of them) I’d probably have to work too hard and I’d blow up before the finish so I dialed it back and waited for the trailing group. I stayed with them until the last mile when I noticed that one of the calls that I let go to voicemail came from a number I didn’t recognize so I peeled off the back and called the number. It was the damned dentists office. Of all of the stupid…!!! And that late in the evening?!!! I probably should have waited and called when I got back but when you do what I do and the phone rings, you answer it. In fact, I actually took another call right in the middle of the ride (my phone mounts on my stem – I can answer a call without any danger) just to let the guy know I’d get back to him.
Either way that was the fastest I’d ever ridden that route, even with the slower last mile, by more than seven tenths of a mile per hour….