So today I rode 106+ some miles by bicycle. It was fun. Lots of sprints, break aways and - the clincher - great cyclists to ride with. That’s what makes it. I love the competition and spirit of it all. I love the spirit of the people I rode with. I mean, the whole event is great, but the spirit of the social aspect is really fun for me. I woke up around 4:45 in the morning, got my coffee together, got my water bottles together, showered quickly, wrapped up the spare tube just in case and headed out the door.
I met my friend, Danny, at the Trader Joe’s - we planned to ride out to meet the group together. It was his first group ride - first century with a group too. That’s one way to break that in. Just jump on it. We warmed up via Gardner to 75th and down Book to Frontier Park where about ten other riders were waiting around. These guys all usually rode what’s known as “the blur ride” - meaning they ride a 20+ mph pace. Tuesdays and Thursdays it’s about 22.5 miles, weekends it’s usually 50. They usually seem to go about 22-24 mph average which means if you don’t include stops they are traveling at about 25-28 mph on the straights.
Weekends and for long rides - like say, a century - it’s usually a “no drop ride” relatively speaking.
Last year I rode Tuesdays and Thursdays because they were the only days I could get out to ride really on weekdays. Some days I was happy to hang on for 10 of the 22.5 miles. It did make me a better rider to push myself. And I learned the route and the way home so I had no worries. I was always blown away at how they made the speed and the attacks look so easy. The thing about riding, or being athletic, there are always those who you will be better than, and there are always those you will be humbled by. Either way I find you can’t take it personally. We all work at our own pace and it is all a learning experience.
I remember riding up some serious hills in Girona and the coach just glided next to me, hand on my back gently pushing me up a hill steady and smooth. He spun. I struggled. He smiled. I sneered. He spoke. I listened.
Of course... there are many many similar examples like this I could give - where my body was just failing and their body seemed to just do it. Just like it was nothing. How? How did they do it? They were so thin and weak looking. They were ... So. Strong.
All of June I accidentally conditioned.
I mean, I have been riding for a while now and with a variety of different types of riders. I’m lucky that way. If I’m lucky I find myself with people who kick my ass and I learn and grow.
It’s happened often enough.