Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Ride: Slow and steady will still get you to the top of the mountain and back

One of the risks of going to dance concerts that are only 45 minutes long is that you'll end up getting home in time to pick up your bike from the shop before it closes.  Next thing you know, it's Saturday morning and you're out on another 100 mile bike ride with those crazy triathlete friends you've been hanging out with.

I'm happy to report that I was not nearly as neurotic as the last time.  I did not read an entire book on cycling nutrition or lay out my outfit the night before.  I was coasting on the high of having done a hard thing once -- a second time could only be better, right?

Wrong.  As fate would have it, Saturday morning was essentially a time warp to late October, so it was cold and windy.  Really windy.  So windy that I basically lost my will to live approximately 47 times during the ride -- because there's nothing more demoralizing than riding 100 miles with a killer headwind.

Wait, I take that back.  What's even more demoralizing is riding 93.8 miles with a killer headwind, stopping for water and telling yourself "hey, I only have 6.2 miles left to ride!", and then realizing twenty minutes later, that you forgot to start your odometer again, such that the only way to get your computer to actually say "100 miles" is to ride an extra 5 miles with the odometer actually running.

The wind wasn't the only difference this time around.  The group was also different.  The folks from the last ride, who were "competitive and kind of fast, but really nice" were nowhere to be seen; instead we had a group of guys who were competitive and definitely fast and possibly not even that nice. 

We rode out to Sugarloaf Mountain, a prominence that in the presence of any real mountain would be only a molehill (seriously, the peak is only 800 feet above the surrounding countryside).  The route took us through familiar territory.  Lush Maryland farmland, about as picture-perfect an image of rural Americana as you can imagine; complete with vast white-fenced pastures, blowing grainfields, and giant red barns next to pretty white farmhouses.  Not that I have any pictures to show -- if you ride to the top of a "mountain" with a bunch of tri guys, be forewarned that they will not stop at the viewpoints for photos.

It was a hard ride, and I really struggled to keep up.  The wind was a major culprit, as was my knee, which started to hurt about half-way through and diminished the power and efficiency of my stroke.  It would have been difficult to keep up with the group under the best of circumstances; these less-than-best circumstances made it even harder.

BUT -- I've said it before and I'll say it again -- I can do hard things.  So I knuckled down and kept pushing through.  I tagged along well enough that we ended the ride more or less toghether, and I had the satisfaction of seeing that dial tick over to 100 yet again.  Woohoo!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You and your killer rides! You need a bike cam so you can video and snap pics as you go.The life-sucking-headwind reminds me of riding out through the middle of the Grande Rond Valley... But hey, you could have been climbing up to 5000 feet. That would have been worse, right? Lady