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Daily Archives: June 10, 2015

Tuesday Night Club Ride:  What I’m Thinking Vs. What They’re Seeing Edition

Last night’s club ride hurt, I’m not going to lie. The prevailing westerly wind, at 15+ mph was the culprit and it pounded our group, which was considerable with the 80 degree temps.  I pulled out all of the tricks in the book. I started out in the left pace line so I could eat wind for the first ten miles rather than the next seven (I opt for pay me now rather than pay me later).  I spent most of the ride in the drops.  I hid, letting two guys, both racers, so I could stave off my next stint up front – I needed a few more minutes to recover.  I used a strategic fallback to make it through the first hills. And I still got caught out of position at exactly the wrong moment…  In case you didn’t know, in an “Everybody gets dropped” club ride, there are lots of inopportune moments – and I knew I was screwed two miles before we got there.

It’s a stupid little downhill.  If you were to coast it, you might hit 23.  Ride it easy, maybe 26.  Put some effort into it, 29.  I know I need to be at 35 when one of the guys charges by with his wife on their tandem.  I was at the front, which is exactly where you don’t want to be when this all shakes out, every Tuesday. We were more than 3/4’s of the way down the hill, I was at 33-1/2 mph and building on it. I thought I was going to be okay because he hadn’t shot by yet.  I heard the whoosh build up two seconds later.  And that fast he was by me, had to be topping 40.  I didn’t even bother.  I let everyone go around me and sat up.  I didn’t have enough left, no way.

Now, this is my weakness.  I have to change that “I don’t think I have the gas” mentality.  I have to find a way to get a little more gas out of the engine when it counts and I have to give myself the chance to see if I do.  Especially when I know I’ll have a chance to recover, no that I will recover, in a minute. In any event, the rest of my friends dropped at the scheduled spot and I was only 10-15 seconds behind after a sharp little climb.  I caught up and five of us formed a tight little group.

Interestingly enough, the two bigger guys jumped out front first and I was feeling a little cooked at the moment anyway so I let them.  We were heading uphill again and the lead guy spent way too much time up front because when he dropped back, he was gone…  We wouldn’t see him again until we were packing up the bikes in the parking lot.  The next big fella took the lead, I was behind him and he was leading out strong.  I was struggling again, surprised at how fast he had the pace…  And then I relaxed.  With a tailwind and a cross-tailwind, all the way home, we kept the speed to between 23 and 26 mph.  It was tough sledding a couple of times but I toughed it out and came to the last couple of miles ready to hammer home.

My buddy Mike was up front and I was second bike with about a mile left.  We were at 25 or 26 mph (can’t remember which right now) and as he started to fade back, his turn done, I said to him, “Pedal up brother”… and steadily poured on the gas.  Being in first position with a mile to go, the idea was to kill any chance of a sprint.  By the time I was done up front, I wouldn’t have the chance to recover so I hammered ’em with everything I had.  I topped out at 29 mph and held it between 28 and 29 until I just didn’t have anything left.  I ran out of gas about 600′ shy of the finish line. We ended up just shy of 22.5 mph for the 29 miles and change.  Almost 30 miles in just 1h:18m:45s…  Our best ever by almost two minutes.

So here’s the deal folks:  I was struggling for a goodly bit of that ride.  If it wasn’t fighting the wind at the beginning of the ride, or fighting the wind in the middle of the ride, or monkeying with the hills, it was hammering home with the tailwind in the mid to upper 20’s.  I had more than a few negative thoughts rolling around my melon about that ride. What did I hear, what did my friends say about me afterwards?

“Man, I was worried about whether or not I’d be able to keep your wheel.”

“Yeah, you were hammerin’ tonight.”

“I knew what you were gonna do as soon as Mike dropped off the front, that was fast.

“Man, you were strong.”

The moral of the story, of course, is that I mustn’t put so much weight on my own bad press.  I’m a lot tougher than I give myself credit for.  In the end, it’s all about having a good time and going home safe anyway. Just a thought.