It was a gloriously sunny, calm evening – a rarity this time of year. It was also 12 degrees below normal (normal is 56° or 13C) and falling. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn this has been our coldest spring in forty years. Only the die-hard cyclists were out last night, for the latest edition of our Tuesday Night Club Ride (it’ll be “TNCR” this year, methinks, just to shake it up a bit).
Even if it was on the chilly side, it wasn’t all that bad, either – I think that just had to do with being cooped up all winter – and cold, at least down to freezing, tends to be relative.
We rolled at 6 on the nose and the pace was mercifully enjoyable for the first couple of miles. Even into the wind it was pretty relaxed for the group we had. I easily stuck with the A/B mixed group for 20 miles and could have gone the full long route, but five of us opted for the short route because it was really starting to cool down with the sun beginning to set on the horizon.
The five of us, four B’s and an A, were fairly strong for the time of year and we made a great pace line, each taking his turn at the front to keep the group’s speed up. We worked with precision and surprising mid-season form as the miles ticked off. 23 miles in, I could feel my legs starting to cramp up, mainly in the calf muscles. It got bad enough I had to will myself to keep the pace up. There were seconds of “I don’t wanna” lapses that had to be pushed through, but push through them I did. We lost Doug and John with seven miles to go, so our five man group dropped to three. The pace didn’t fade, though. The two Dave’s and I fought the cold, only slowing after crossing the City Limits sign with a cool 21.2-mph average (34 km/h). An excellent average for this early in the season, with the temperature having fallen to freezing (32 F or 0 C).
The three of us sat up and pedaled easy the last mile to the parking lot.
There’s nothing easy about being fast on a bike. Everyone I ride with has to come to grips with that little voice that says “I don’t wanna”, even the fastest among us talk about fighting it. We all, to our own extent, manage to beat that voice into submission and replace it with, “Oh, but you will”.
It’s not easy being fast (even my approximation of fast), but it’s definitely a lot of fun once you get past the effort. And it beats being green.