Our B Group finished the annual Assenmacher 100 miler in 4:55. It was awesome and we all had a good time. The conversation was lively, a few of my friends and I were able to drop back and help friends out who lost parts of their bike on potholes (two water bottles and one drop bar mirror) get back to the group… I participated in each of the three instances.
I know of no better compliment in group cycling than to be asked by your friends to help one of them bridge back to the group.
At no point during that ride did I want to sit up and soft-pedal home. It wasn’t easy, of course, but I wanted that five hour century. Our whole group was at least 20 strong and we nailed it….
We had time for moments like this, whilst still being able to hammer out a decent pace…
With the mild breeze, I managed to head up to the front of the group and snap a succession of photos for the group on the way back….
We stopped, at least momentarily, at each of the rest stops for a quick bite to eat and to refill water bottles. We finished strong, smiling and together. There were laughs and fist-bumps a plenty.
Contrast that with the A Group. They had a different experience. Their finishing time?
4:17 and some change. 23-1/2 mph average on open roads… And they only stopped twice in 101 miles.
Speaking with many from their group, who were sitting in the shade on the sidewalk when we pulled up, you were hard-pressed to find anyone who actually had a good time. One friend of mine said that he rode for a hundred miles and didn’t enjoy one of them. Another said they were riding so hard he didn’t have time to eat anything on the bike. My friend Chuck dropped after just 30 miles saying they were nuts (we caught up to him at the 30 mile rest stop and he rode with us the rest of the way).
I have no doubt some in our group struggled at times. One would expect that in a sub-five hour century. Sure, we were a little slower, but at least we had fun – and that’s exactly why I choose to ride with the B Group. I’d rather be a little slower and enjoy myself than be fast…. And I’m one of the lucky few who could be fast enough to hang with the A guys. I choose not to. This isn’t to say there’s something wrong with racing or riding that fast, there isn’t. The key for me is to be happy and enjoy my time on the bike – and if I’m going to have fun and enjoy the ride, I know I can’t do it at 23+ mph.
To thine own self be true.
That said, a 4:17 on that course is really impressive. Damn, that’s fast!