This is just about a stupid Sunday group ride, but it was the best ride I've ever done in my life. I don't quite know why, but I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm starting to do rando riding. I've been doing a lot of hard riding and not missing my workouts because I know the pain later will be greater if I don't bank it now.
So it's that day (April 1) in the great PNW. The group assembled in the parking lot like it does every Sunday, 52 weeks/year, except that today there were some people who don't usually ride with our group. I knew some of them because I'd been with them on a 200k a few weeks ago. Some I'd ridden with several times. The ride usually warms up at about 18 for a couple of miles before anyone lets loose, but today we were hitting 23 right off the bat. After a while and asking around I discover that the guy on the front is the current national 24 hour champ. I'd hung with his group for the first 50 miles on the 200. That's what's going on.
We do the usual things that happen on these rides. People go to the front and really hurt themselves and every one else and then someone else tries it. Sometimes that's me. We do pacelines. We climb. It rained. It hailed. "Ice pellets," the weather forecast said. It snowed. We saw our shadows once. We put into a cafe about halfway and I had a double Americano. Then things got interesting. We did some road I knew really well and where my abilities, such as they are, had an advantage. I led for a long time.
We get onto the final series of climbs and I realize I'm riding a couple of cogs higher than I normally do there. My HR is running at or over LT still and I'm riding on the front, wheel to wheel with the champ. Most people are pretty shot. We bit by bit drop everyone. Then the two of us start taking turns leading each other out for the little hill sprints that one can do on this climb. Of course I'm at or over LT all the way and he's making quiet conversation, hardly breathing. He can drop me any time for good, but why would he do that, when we're having fun?
We kept that up all the way to the parking lot. He led me out for the final uphill sprint. I misjudged it and went too early, but didn't care. I'm not doing it for medals. It was a couple of minutes before anyone else came in. About 70 miles, 3250 climbing, 17.6 average, and get this - 1.5 hours in the LT zone and 20 minutes over it, out of 3:54 total riding time. And I was on FRED, not the alpha bike. Never rode like that in my life.
Score: 2 broken chains, one flat, and one broken spoke, but none of it on my bike. Some seriously hard riding.
I feel pretty good. I think I'll do a 200k solo pass ride day after tomorrow. I think I'll be all right if I take it easy and if the fresh snow melts by then. I have to miss the 300k next weekend, but I'll try to make it up.
I hope you all had a great ride today, too.
Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 04-02-07 at 09:27 AM.