Not much bad to say about the start of this cycling season – I couldn’t have wished for a better start. Three days in, just a hair under 90 miles (I rounded up by a half-mile or so)… We had our first club ride last night and it was brutal. At first it looked like we’d be treated to a rather subdued ride with several of the guys I ride with in the parking lot tending to their steed and getting bundled up for a chilly ride.
I say chilly but it was 45… Last week it was like 20 though, in the sunshine, midday. The week before that the mercury was hiding in the bottom of the thermometer, afraid to show it’s red ass. In other words, it was arm warmers, leg warmers, jersey and a vest “chilly”.
We started out with an excellent 16 mph easy seven mile warmup. I warmed up easily, just enough to be comfortable, within maybe five minutes. By the time we got back, the parking lot had filled to capacity with the heavy hitters – so much for an easy first club ride.
I started out up front to get my first turn out of the way early… At least that was the plan. When I fell back a hole opened up about three riders back with a train of guys deciding to hide this one out. “F@ck it, if that’s the way it’s gonna be, you never get fast at the back.”, I thought. I took that spot and pulled like a mule every time I got to the front and it sucked. I made it 14 awesome miles before I’d had enough. Fortunately my buddy Mike dropped before me so when I turned around to take a shortcut, I bumped into him quickly. I whipped around and got onto his wheel.
I had a tough time for the entire rest of the ride, all the way back to the finish line. I pulled out front when I had to but they were short, usually 3/4 of a mile to maybe a mile and a half for the longer tries. I did my very best and finished absolutely smoked. Mike really bailed me out after I went out way too strong to start. We hit the finish line at 29 miles and some change at a 20 mph average, right on the nose. Considering the temperature (it cooled off as the evening progressed), that I was on my Trek and that last year the first club ride average was below 18.5 mph, last night was a huge gain over last year. I haven’t even pulled out the Venge yet!
A few items of note:
1. While the ride was hard and it did hurt a lot, it wasn’t as bad as last year’s first ride in terms of my legs giving me problems.
2. Even though I spent more than twice the time up front than I did in last year’s opening ride in those first 14 miles last night, I was able to hang on longer than I did last year.
3. All but two of my friends fell off before I did – and those two spent most of the ride hiding at the back.
4. I’m in really good shape this spring.
Oh great interval workout, I shall never doubt thee again.
For the first time, quite possibly in more than a decade, when the alarm went off this morning I fell back to sleep for twenty minutes before I caught myself and woke up. I still made it into the office with 25 minutes to spare, but my God is it nice to be tired! I won’t be able to keep this torrid pace up of course. I’ve only ever crested 800 miles in a month one time (maybe twice) and I’d top 900 if I had the time to keep this up.