A little wind, a bit chilly, sun blasting though…blah, blah, blah.
I’ll skip right to the good stuff.
We’re 14 miles in. I’ve taken at least five pulls up front in wind that was a lot gnarlier than it should have been. I have no clue what our average was but it hurt. A lot. A quick glance at the computer, 22 mph. Yup, that’s why. The hills are coming up in three miles so I take a short pull and tuck in at the back to hide for a few. I thought about quitting. Maybe take a short cut. Then I caught myself. Not tonight.
One of the guys, and I don’t get this for the life of me, kept slightly off the draft so when I moved in behind him, I only got a partial break. After about twenty seconds of that, I pulled around him. Drove me freaking nuts. Anyway, we made it to the first set of hills, no worries, up and over. Unfortunately, my legs started cramping up when the road leveled out. I tried to spin them free in an easier gear… Seemed to work a little.
Hung on for the second set, up and over, no problem, but we started to fracture on the little downhill, a little more than a speed bump but we were all-out on the gas and hit 35. We started to spread out again, then a gap formed, then another – it was me, my buddy Mike and quite a few more behind him. Mike hit me with three golden words, “Reel ’em in”.
I have no clue as to why that freaking mental Kung fu works on me but it freaking does – on the rare occasion he uses it. All of the pain left my body, instantly. My focus completely shifted, my breathing calmed and leveled off… And I was on it. Not only did I reel them in, I shot right by the lead guy, out of the saddle, legs jackhammering… I knew I was cooked and we were only a half-mile from our turnoff. I figured if I’m going down, I’m doing it in a blaze. My legs were hit, more cramping… I absolutely gave it everything I had.
Unfortunately, we still had ten to go.
Six of us hammered out that last ten. My turns up front were short but I went as long as I could, still leaving enough to sneak back in at the end of the chain. My only regret for the night was that I couldn’t give more for the five other guys in our little rabble. We crossed the line with an average of 21 mph – four tenths faster than last week, and it was awesome.
So, we got done, I ate well with several of the other guys, we laughed and talked about the ride – it’s always cool hearing someone else’s perspective. After dinner I’m driving home and everal points intersect in my melon to form an “ah-ha” moment…
No matter where my thoughts go on last night’s ride, no matter how fickle I want to get about choices I made regarding mileage or effort in previous rides, no matter how I want to pick apart any little part of how I stay fit, the important part can’t be denied by the melon committee: Last night I gave it everything I had and then some. I gave that ride, 29 miles (and change) in one hour and twenty-two minutes my very best all the way to the last tenth.
The melon committee nods in agreement.
How often does that happen? How often does your melon committee, at the very worst, admit, “Yup, you did good.”?
That’s why I give it my best. I love taking the fight out of the committee.