I’m a cycling nut. Every regular reader of this blog already knows this, but for those who don’t, there’s my rigorous honesty for the day. Rather than take a day off the bike for the Monday day off work, after having ridden more than 380 miles over the previous four days, I rode with my friends and wife. It wasn’t much, 24 miles at a leisurely 17 mph pace but it was a ride nonetheless. It definitely hurt.
Yesterday I was excited at lunch time because it was supposed to rain at 5. I thought I was too tired to ride. At 4:00 the radar showed the trouble was north of us, all clear so we were riding.
With the Venge in the shop, I was on the 5200. The Trek is a great bike but it definitely takes a little bit more oomph to get it down the road. “Oh well, if I get dropped, I get dropped. I’m tired, I have a good excuse.” I thought.
We started out at a leisurely pa… Ah, who am I kidding, I have no clue what our pace was. I don’t have a computer on the Trek yet. The pace felt relatively comfortable for the first mile and a half, maybe a little fast. Let me check my app… ah, nope… definitely fast. 22 mph in lieu of the normal 19 in that first mile.
In any event, once we turned north with a little help from the wind and the pace went from comfortable to holy smokes in, like three seconds. Just barely shy of 30. 30 on the Venge is hard. Doable, but hard. 30 on the Trek is a little shy of fun. Yeah, that’s a good way to put it.
Just four miles in, Mike started fading off the back and I went with him. Matt went to, then Brad, then Lenny (on a frickin TT bike, in a group ride*). As we rolled down the road at a more enjoyable less ridiculous pace, we started reeling in stragglers. We formed a group of about eight “B” riders and rolled on. Somewhere around mile ten my legs came back. I almost couldn’t believe it but the soreness simply faded away and the springy, strong feeling returned… This was not mental (though I needed the mental to hold on long enough for that to happen).
I took a lot of turns up front. More than ten. They were long, strong turns and I felt good doing it. Same with Mike and Mike and Diane on their tandem. We did our level best to back off on the hills a little bit for the tandem, backed off when Brad needed it (he’s going through chemo) and did our best to keep our pace strong but reasonable.
The pace was so perfect that I could take another turn up front within minutes of falling back for a rest, if needed. I went from holding on for all I was worth to being a contributing member of the group.
We rolled into the finish with a 21 mph average, just five tenths to one mile per hour slower than our normal all-out pace on fresh legs, and with the exception of the guy on the TT bike, it was a safer and far more responsible ride. We all got our workout and had a much more enjoyable time. We let the racers do their thing and we did ours, and it was good.
I am looking forward to many more of the new Tuesday night format rides. This was a conscious decision to keep the group safer and more enjoyable. I’ll write more about this, and why I chose to stay a B rider rather than put the effort in to be an A, later.
* The time trial/triathlon bike on a club ride. I’ve seen five or six exceptional cyclists on TT bikes on Tuesday nights. They all thought they were competent enough cyclists to ride that monstrosity in the club. Only two actually were. The others were dangerous to the group. They push the wrong gear at the wrong time, weave too much, and were/are a general nuisance to the safety to everyone around them. If you think you are that person who is good enough, read this again. There’s an 90% chance you’re one of those who only thinks you’re good enough.