My finest is laid out with care, shoes are shined… And the paint job’s been polished. Tuesday is my big night of the week, the evening I give it everything, the day I hurt – on purpose. I will start out with an easy
seven eight mile warm-up. I will, as with every other Tuesday for the last three years, get dropped on or before the 20th mile along with a few of my friends and we’ll do our best to keep our pace to the finish, just ten miles away. We’ll hammer it home until we turn the last mile into a race with a full sprint finish and I will be absolutely gassed… And it will be good.
Tuesday night is a race, without the actual race – no entrance fees, no podiums, no prizes. There are also no hard feelings (well, there usually aren’t any), rarely any egos and hardly ever any whining. Tuesday is the night that we ride as hard as we can… Not to punish anyone, not to suffer or to indulge in self-flagellation, just to help each other get faster and for nothing more than a pat on the back or a fist bump after we cross the “Do Not Pass” sign that signifies the finish line.
Tuesday is our night to ride hard and it is sexy, baby…
I led us out for the first mile and a half – faster than normal after everyone caught up, at 21.5 for a mile. When we turned north my counterpart and I (I didn’t know the guy, never met him before) dropped to the back, or half-way back… It was looking messy back there and I didn’t want to risk getting dropped so I tucked in first chance I had. Mike was next in line to lead so we had one more nice mile before the racers took the reigns for good. We went from 22 to 25-26 in about 200 feet – and it got ugly from there. We hit 28 a few times and I couldn’t believe I was not only holding on, I was feeling pretty good.
About the 20 mile mark, as expected, the racers turned the club ride into a race and charged up the first decent hill, a hill we normally take at about 22, at 30 mph. 30!
Five of us saw it coming and dropped to form our own group. 30 mph up a stinkin’ hill is a wee bit more suckin’ than I can handle (thought about going with the 3rd person “Bgddy” there 😎). We waited for a few to catch up and that killed our 22.7 mph average but the two we waited for were pretty close friends… Once everyone latched on we started ramping the speed up a little bit. Then we cut the mile-long pulls in half and took the speed up to 23-24.
Coming into the last mile we had Joe up front on a monster pull – he took it from 24-1/2 to 26. With an 1/8th of a mile left I attacked and nobody came with. I logged my fastest speed for the ride, including the downhill sections, on the sprint: 31.5 mph. I passed the No Passing sign first by a couple of bike lengths with nothing left in the tank, my lungs burning and my heart pounding. It took a quarter of a mile of easy spinning for my side stitch to fade and my breathing to return to normal.
I slept like a baby last night. This morning I feel awesome, though my legs are absolutely smoked. Fortunately, with a forecast of 100% chance of rain with strong thunderstorms this afternoon, I’ll get a needed day off before getting back at it tomorrow.
Tuesday night is the best – it’s the one night a week where I get all of the best of cycling. I get the speed, the effort, the camaraderie, the sprint and all of the good feelings that come with having given my best – oh, and I don’t want to forget those awesome endorphins… Everybody needs a Tuesday night. What’s yours?