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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Quick turn around

Last night I went out on a night ride for group training before heading out next month on the Challenge to Conquer Cancer rider. We did 44 miles and finished up shortly before 10 PM. By the time I got home and in bed, it was after 11 PM. The morning came early!

Still, I rolled out of bed and got myself ready to head over to Sunshine Cycle Shop for the Hour of Power. Thankfully, I had left my bike and everything in the truck from the night before. Instead of riding my bike over to the shop, I just jumped in the truck to drive.

Right before getting to the truck I realized I had left my water bottles at home. Turning the truck around, I headed home to grab the fluids and rushed back to get to the shop. I arrived to find just a couple of riders waiting.

We waited until about 8 PM and finally decided to roll out. The group was small with Art, Web, Peter, Owen, and myself being the "old-timers." Paul, Anthony, (and I ashamed to say) one more rider whose name I can't recall right now, were the newer riders who have been on some of the more recent rides.

Peter and I led the group out and the speeds picked up right away. We were making a pretty good pace until we reached the sprint up Tanner to Reid School Road. Things didn't slow down much after that! Here is a rundown of the sprint zones....

Tanner: Peter took off and Anthony followed. I followed Anthony's wheel until he brought me up to Peter. Peter launched and I went with him. I was able to push the ol' Tarmac up to the line first.

Meece Bridge: The group riders would know this sprint as the "Pee Tree Sprint." On this one Web and Art made a move a little early coming up to the attack zone. I stayed with them until Peter and Anthony once again moved to the front and started the attack in earnest.

Unfortunately, I had the earlier problem of getting my chain on the big ring. Peter and Anthony had a 20 foot or more gap on me. Still, there was enough road left that I figured if I could get up to them, I could recover a little for a final kick.... and that is exactly what happened. I moved around Peter following Anthony and then pushed to finish ahead of him.

Quarry Road: At the end of the pace line on 290 I found myself in the front turning on the road to take us to the climb. I argued with myself whether to attack or wait. I ended up just holding my position and getting the heart rate down.

Art came around and then Owen. I stayed in the big ring and started a steady pace up. If Art made it, he deserved it. However, in case he fell back, I wanted to be in position.

Owen faded and then there was just Art ahead. I could tell I was starting to gain on him and I was climbing the grade at about 14 mph. Once I got past the false flat, I started moving into the 20 mph range. I realized I had a real chance to beat him.

Closer and closer I moved up to Art. I knew he could see me in his mirror, so there would be no element of surprise. Sure enough, he started reacting. I had to pick up the speed some more, but was able to get around him just in time to cross the line first. Wow, I really didn't expect that!

Fire Hydrants: Art got revenge there. He took off and I didn't even try. Peter did, but didn't catch him. Art passed the first hydrant and then the second. He basically looked like a speck in the distance.

State Park: I had planned to do a lead out on this one. John had told me I needed to do some more of that to work on my sustained speed. Unfortunately, I was at the back of the group and as I moved into the group on the right side, I found myself boxed in with Web to my left and Anthony and Peter in front of me.

We stayed there well past the point where I could have started the lead out. Then the line stretched out and I found myself behind Peter. He looked back and took off. I figured he was planning to do another one of his lead outs.

Ahead of us was Anthony and Web. Peter and I dropped down to the base of the hill. As we did, Peter moved over... sooner than he normally would on a lead out. That moved me forward as we went past the two riders ahead.

I knew Peter was back there, but I simply did not feel like killing myself up the climb. Still, I went into the climb participating in the sprint. Peter was still on my wheel. Then my legs just quit. Yes, I could have ridden through the pain and pushed it, but my guess is the result would have been the same.

"Oh, come on!" Peter encouraged me to race him. I even tried it, but my legs yelled at me louder than Peter. "I can't do it. I can't do it," I told him. I sat up and Art came around me. Peter took the sprint easily with Art in second.

Oak Leaf: I followed Art and Peter up this steep but short climb. I wasn't in the picture for the top though. I'm not even sure who took the climb. From my vantage point suffering behind them, it looked like they reached the top together.

Nature Trail: I recovered somewhat before the stretch of road I hate the most -- Nature Trail. Anthony took off and got a huge gap right off the bat. Then he slowed, but I figured all he had to do at that point was maintain the gap. Peter and I commented on his attack and just kept our pace.

Peter moved away from me and I kept a distance of a few yards behind him. I wondered how my legs would do this time. They did feel better than they did at State Park. Perhaps I could make this work.

Anthony was falling back to us pretty quickly at this point. I moved up closer to Peter and followed him up to Anthony. Then I jumped first leaving Peter and then overtaking Anthony. At that point, that old pain came back. However, this time I decided to ride through it. I just aimed for the manhole cover that marked the end and pushed for the top. Whew, I did it!

Then it was time to head back to the shop. Once there, I started to feel that shakiness that comes from major exertion. Those two rides bookending my night, really wore me out. Tonight I think I will sleep like a baby!



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