I walked out the door yesterday morning hoping for 40 to 50 miles. It was cool, only 45 degrees and it wouldn’t be warming beyond the low 60’s before we got back… or so I thought. I wore tights, a long sleeved thermal jersey, and I was comfortable. Not warm, but not cold either. Just right.
I was riding with my wife, Matt, Mike, Chuck (his wife ended up coming along as well and they brought their tandem) and I was hoping for a few others but nobody else showed. So be it. We rolled out at a fair but challenging pace for Mike, about 19 to 20-1/2 mph. I was feeling the miles a little bit after two days and a whole lot of time up front so I only spent a couple of miles at a time pulling the gang.
My wife and Mike dropped at about 12 miles to head back with Mike who is really coming around fast from his open heart surgery… He’d put in something like 70 miles between Friday and Saturday so he needed an easy day. Chuck and his wife stayed with Matt and I as we continued out to Byron. When we got to town, we headed further west and started talking about how our ride would shake our. Chuck and his wife wanted 35 miles but Matt and I wanted more.
We settled on meeting up with the slower group and letting Chuck and his wife head home from there, only ten miles from the meeting spot.
There was a decent turnout of slower guys and two tandems that showed up. We rolled out together, Matt and I with 20 miles under our belts already. I worked myself to the front to find out where they were headed, and that’s when things got interesting… They were heading out to Laingsburg. Brad said it was only 25 miles out there but I knew better. I went back and talked to Matt and he said he was good to roll.
It was gonna turn into a long one.
Truthfully, I was more than a little worried about the distance – my math put us in “Oh, crap, I’m gonna have to work” territory. It’s been three weeks since I topped 60 miles and after two tougher days? I just soldiered on, thankful that I was at least with a slower group that the one I’m used to riding with.
Sure enough, we pulled into Laingsburg with 50 miles. We were at least 35 from home…. and we thought we were going to have headwind all the way home.
So here I am, 35-ish miles from home, and all I’ve got left in me is one Gu and one bottle of Gatorade. I’d eaten a banana 30 miles ago and I was hungry. I bummed $5 from Matt and got a big bottle of POWERade, a Payday (King Size) and a small can of Coke. By the time we left I had two topped off bottles, and I was feeling much better after the candy bar and Coke. I figured I’d save the gel for the last ten miles or if I found myself close to a bonk.
Fortunately the wind had shifted and the worst we got was crosswind. That doesn’t happen too often.
The return trip was fairly uneventful and the tandems took the brunt of the pulling, though I definitely did my share.
We pulled into the elementary school parking lot where everyone met with 75 miles on the trip, with an average pace of 18.3. Not great, but considering the crowd and being this late in the season, I was happy enough – and that left just Matt and me for the last ten to my house. I fired down that last gel.
Now, you might think we’d take it easy for the last ten. We got a bunch of bonus miles in on the day, we hadn’t ridden that far in weeks, and it was only ten more miles, and there were only two of us. To that, I would simply say you don’t know me/us very well.
Matt set the pace. 20-1/2 to 22 mph with the crosswind, with a long two-mile turn up front. I took over next and matched pace. Same distance. Matt opened it up when we turned north and were blessed with a tailwind… 24-25 mph for three miles.
That left me the final three back home and I kept the crosswind pace. I flagged just shy of home and arm-flicked Matt up to take us in.
In just ten miles we jumped our average up by three tenths. We showed up for a jaunt around the block and a real ride broke out.
Makes me chuckle thinking back to the old days when I had to plan a ride like that out so I wouldn’t bonk. A stop every 20-30 miles, on board fuel, potty breaks. Today I can just roll with it. And for that I am grateful.