Speed, for the lack of a better word, is good.
Speed cures all ills. You only have an hour to fit a ride in? No worries, gimme 48 minutes and you can fit 16 miles in. Works all through daylight savings time – and with most 9 to 5 jobs (all 7 to 4 jobs).
Want to drop a few pounds? How about a bunch of pounds? Speed burns weight off of guts and asses like you wouldn’t believe.
See? We’re all speedsters and no big guts or big asses. Cycling asses and inordinately large leg muscles, yes but that’s all good.
Nothing like a 5 hour hundred miles to make one feel awesome. There’s nothing wrong with the slow route, taking eight or nine hours to complete that century, nothing at all – and nothing in this post should be viewed as a judgment against anyone’s ability or speed. What makes you happy is what’s important. But speed is sexy. In that context…
The A’s were down a few so we B’s rolled with them Tuesday night. The wind wasn’t too bad but it was out of the Southeast. Southeast almost sucks as bad as Northeast. We rolled at 5:30 to beat the fading daylight.
The A guys at the front didn’t waste any time. What was once a 19 mph rollout is now a 22 mph rollout. No warmup, right at it. Heading North we hit 28 and didn’t budge until we headed South into a cross headwind. We dropped all the way down to 24-1/2, the turns up front just got shorter. I took all of my turns up front and despite my trashed legs from hunting, I was feeling pretty excellent.
See, I have a hitch in my awesomeness. I should be an A rider. I know it, and everyone I ride with knows it. I have a bit of a complex about it too, like I’m not living up to my potential or something – and I get to thinking everyone else looks at me that way too. What anyone else thinks of me may not be any of my business, but throw enough shit against a barn and some is gonna stick.
18 miles in and I’m still in the lead rotation, Craig and I go up for a pull at the worst spot in the whole ride to take a turn and Craig says, through hyperventilating breaths, “You should stick with us the whole ride”, Huff… huff… huffffff… “You’ll have to dig deep, but you can do it, man”.
He was right too. I should have, but I didn’t. On the hill into Shiatown, I unceremoniously slipped off the back with enough left in the tank that I should have given it a shot.
We finished the last ten miles besting last week’s best ever B Group time by 30 seconds. 29.3 miles in 1:18:24. As was to be expected, a lot of the B guys were spread out all over the course. Other than that flaw, the ride was awesome.
There is a plus side to this little drama, which happens to be one of the larger problems in my life (and how awesome is that!): Last year, in an unfavorable wind, I would have had a tough time lasting 15 miles before getting spit off the back. The last two weeks I’ve made it all the way to the 2o mile mark with little trouble – and without hiding.
Spending all that time up front with the B group is making me faster. I never would have guessed that it would work out so well.
One thing is certain though…. So even if I turn into an A rider on Tuesday night, this will only change Tuesday night and the fact that I’ll be able to spend more time up front helping my friends through the weekend. Whatever happens, six days a week I know who I’m riding with. No amount of speed is worth changing the friends I travel the country to ride with.
Speed may be sexy, but friends are where cycling is at. Still, I just may give it a go… just to do it.