Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

From cool to hot

Saturday's Hour of Power started with leg and arm warmers along with a vest. The morning temperatures are definitely getting cooler. However, even as we waited in the parking lot the sun came up over the trees and you could tell things would get warmer soon.

We started with a good number of riders. One of them was a colleague of mine from work. I was kind of surprised to see him there because he had just gotten his bike and probably had only ridden it for 50 miles before that morning.

We rolled out a little late headed out on our normal route. I talked along with some of my riding buddies and stayed close to Mike, the new one to the group, to help encourage him along should the time come. So far, so good for him.

I warned him about the sprints. "When you see several of us take off," I told him, "don't chase us. Let us go and hold your pace. We'll wait for you at the end of the sprint." I'll be honest, I figured he would need to head back at the end of Meece Bridge Road.

It was during a conversation about gearing that I noticed Peter up ahead making a move toward the Tanner Road sprint line. Fifty yards separated us, but I thought I might be able to get him if I could sneak up on him. It almost worked. He got me though with my front wheel up to his crank.

Mike wasn't the one I needed to worry about at Meece Bridge. It was me! John and Bob got the train moving and I did my best to jump on to follow. It just wasn't there. I was spinning and I could feel the effort needed to keep the pace escalate. The feeling that I was about to blow came over me and I felt very tired. I sat up and eased to the finish.

There are several miles between the Meece Bridge Road finish and 290. As we pulled up for a stop to regroup, I saw Mike coming along after just a short wait. He was doing very well!

Then we started the engine again to chase up the quarry road. About ten of us hit the bottom of the climb. After my feelings on Meece Bridge, I wasn't so sure where I would be at the end!

The speeds were pretty fast going up. Peter and John were two of the main players -- as usual. John jumped out to take the lead. Just over the false flat, John pulled over to the right. Since he was the rider I was most worried about, I eased up with him.

"If you slow down," he said, "they'll come back to you. You need to keep going." Of course, I felt like saying, "You just eased up. Aren't you afraid they'll come back to you?" Problem was, I don't think I had the breath to say it!

I kept pushing it and was getting a pretty good speed. I could tell there was someone right behind me. How many were there, I didn't know. Then John came around me. Grrrrr. I knew he was going to do that to me.

Then John eased up just as we neared the finish line. I went around him. He explained, "I felt bad about telling you to go on back there. I didn't realize there were only three of us in play at that point."

It wasn't long after we finished that Mike came up the road. Now I was really impressed. Obviously, he had a good level of fitness before picking up the bike. He would have no trouble making it from here.

Just before the climb, we had two other riders join us. Daniel, the son, was riding a steel frame Specialized. It was obvious by his gear and bike that he was just starting to ride. However, he certainly had the strength!

He was staying right with us up to the state park entrance sprint. I felt sorry for him because his bike was simply in need of a tune-up. He defnitely had a chain problem. Still, he was right there.

My plan was to pull at the front on the sprint. However, Peter and Anthony came around us early and took off. I was just doing well to hang on to the caboose of that train!

We settled down to a 30 mph pace and I was able to recover a little. Then John, who was right in front of me, moved around the two in front. He was indicating for me to follow. He was going to lead out.

I had no idea what was going to happen at the bottom. Would my legs be there? John moved over and I started to sprint up the climb. As I started, Peter came right up beside me. For quite a while we were neck-and-neck. Then I started to lose my punch.

Perhaps my body is getting tired after a summer of riding, but that feeling came back. It isn't a feeling pain, just a feeling of no power. I putting out effort that normally would have propelled me to the front, but I just watched Peter ride away. He beat me by about ten yards.

After that, it was just a goal to ride into the shop. I did Oak Leaf and watched Bob blow everyone away on Nature Trail. We rolled in for coffee and donuts.

Mike came in pretty pumped about his ride -- which he should have. "I have a new respect for cyclists!" he said. I think he's hooked. Bet we'll see him out there again.

Turns out Daniel had a stiff chain link. I'd like to see him ride on a nice bike. I bet he would be in the mix after a couple of times out there. Maybe he'll join us again.



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