After several weeks of helping out with the group rides, last night I was free to ride. And what a ride it was.
Well, first let me back up and start from the beginning. Since I had been heavily in to training for Boston, riding my bike had pretty much secondary. There were no long rides. There no hard rides nothing. Most of the rides were just maintenance rides to get in some miles. So after Boston, I have had this feeling that I have been playing catch up. With almost every ride, I felt like I was dragging. I cannot really explain why. Other than to say, my cycling legs were taking a long time to come around.
Last night, I actually felt like I started to find my cycling legs.
The "B" group rolled out in what turned out to be a very large group. We were riding 2 by 2 and at one I counted about 10 seconds for all of us to pass through a red light. Yes, this was a very long chain of riders.
The pace was definitely faster than I was accustom to riding, but being buried back in the pack also meant that I was being pulled along.
The heat was bad waiting for the ride or when we stopped but while moving, I felt great.
Things were not entirely perfect. We did have one incident about 7 miles into the ride.
We were headed down this side road when a little dog came running right out into the road. One guy hit the dog but as he hit his brakes the guy behind him ran right into him. Both guys went down and across the pavement. Fortunately, neither were seriously hurt. They just had some small road rash. The dog jumped up and ran off. I don't think anyone was able to find him but he didn't appear to be injured. Some of the guys tried to find the owner but to no avail.
I was probably 20 yards behind when it happened and was already head wide toward the grass. If I have learned one thing from my previous crashes, it is that trying to stop only creates a situation for more riders to go down. I am better trying to steer through it if at all possible.
After this little incident, everyone was a little more cautious so the next miles were probably slower than they would have been otherwise. As we headed toward Waxhaw the pace picked up again. We typically stop for a few minutes at this fish restaurant just outside of Waxhaw but we stopped only for a minute yesterday.
Next up was this 2.5 mile hill climb. I settled into a small group of 5 or 6 guys and we were flying up the hill. When we reached the water tower which is another usual rest stop, everyone kept right on rolling.
Heading back down into Waxhaw, I had this feeling things were only going to get faster. And this is just what happened. I was pretty much the caboose at this point on the train but it didn't really matter the train was a fast moving train.
We caught the light green in Waxhaw which was probably a bad thing for the group. As we turned back across the tracks, Rob yelled something about the pace to guys on the front. There was some acknowledgment for maybe a mile and that was the last time I saw Andre or Rob until we got back to the store. Coming up Crane, we started to ride a pace line and catching the lights green. Between Marvin Ridge High School and TrySports Store time seemed to pass in a blink of an eye. Riding in a group that is working together requires total focus. Time and distance lose all value in the workout. It is just the effort that is important.
Before ending this story, no one should go away thinking this was a testosterone Wednesday night ride, we had some ladies taking part. There was one lady with a Cheerwine Jersey that was mixing it up. I remember because Cheerwine is a Jersey that I hadn't seen on the ride before.
Best of all it was a fast ride and everyone made it back alive.
Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner