Four or five years ago my friends, Mike, Chuck, Phill, Matt and a few others, would take turns pulling me around on a ride. I would do my share, of course, but they would take double, even triple the turn I could. They didn’t complain, they just rode. They put up with small mistakes I made as I learned how to ride with others.
Two years ago I could take longer turns up front but we are distance cyclists, and I would run out if gas after 80-85 miles and rely on my friends to get me home (this is due to the fact that I would go way too hard early in the ride).
Today I can do more. I learned how to be a valuable part of a group. I’ve got my legs and I love to put them to use. I also know how to (and finally can) sit at the back for a few miles to recharge so I’ve got more for the end of the ride….
This weekend was a tale of two different rides. Saturday we had plenty of heavy hitters so I spent the first thirty miles enjoying the ride and the second thirty making sure my wife had the best draft and chance of finishing strong. Making sure my wife had a great draft meant I was often out if position. She rocked it and I had fun.
Sunday, with rain in the forecast and a small window through which to ride, I spent a lot of time up front. There were no one mile turns, three to five miles at a crack. We had a small group, but that kept it simple and fun with plenty of room for talking back and forth. Purely on the Fun Scale, Sunday’s 41 miler was where it was at – the only way it could have been better is if it had been longer but as we were cranking out the last eight miles we’d get hit with rain so it was decided we’d head for home… With three miles to go, I took the front at 18 mph into the wind. I cranked it up to 21 and held it there even though it hurt. I took it all the way home and by the time we hit my road I’d had enough. I’ve found that if I’m feeling a little melancholy about a ride being a little shorter than I’d prefer, all I have to do is pull for the last three miles. By the time that seven or eight minutes are over, I’ll have had enough.
221 miles for the week. 12 hours on the nose, and about 13,500 calories burned. While that’s all cool, what was really important is the amount of fun I had. Immeasurable.