Monday, November 05, 2007

Saturday ride

OK, there's more in my life than just cycling, but that seems to be one of the few things I feel OK blogging about. So it goes. Saturday morning I decide to take the plunge and go on the big shop ride, 55 miles. I remembered that Andy Hollinger has said that if he's there, no one will get dropped. I've done some other shop rides, 30-odd affairs, and I usually fall off after about 12-15 miles and make my own way home. This ride goes to a completely different part of Ft. Worth and a part that I don't know well enough to get back on my own. But I knew that I couldn't ride on Sunday (HS cycling league practice), or Monday (business trip) or Tuesday (conf call at 8 AM), so I wanted to get in some miles. Of course, I forgot my cell phone in the car, so I couldn't log the miles with bimactive. And I don't know the route, so I can't manually input it. So I get on this ride. I think I fell off the back four times. Once, they came to a stop light barely a hundred meters after I popped. Then I fell off again, but they turned away from the wind and got a little slope down, so it was no problem to get right back on. A third time I fell back and thought I would be waiting for Andy (who fell back miles before), but I think the group got held up by another light. The last time, I was riding on perhaps the worst chip-seal that I've ever ridden on. I don't mean that it was broken up in semi-potholes. I mean that it was without blemish, except for the chip seal itself was so bad it was like the road had some sort of skin disease. And there was a hill, and I was tired, and, oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the chipseal was all kinds of nasty. One of the better riders, Colt Bates, came back and rode with me up the last few hills. Quite an encourager. I never really rotated through with anyone, just stayed in the back and took what draft I could. I did jump at the end, but after a short rally I popped and sharked back to the back of the pack. I still finished with the pack though. I think I'm getting an idea of what my strengths and weaknesses are. Of course, like everyone else, I hate hills, but on long low-grade climbs, I think I have an advantage. Being 250, I don't have to get up out of the seat to really mash down with power, so lots of hills where other guys are standing up, I'm motoring past still in my seat and not putting in that much effort. And on the other side of the hill, I can totally tear up most smaller riders. I need to work on steeper hills, longer high HR efforts, and maybe learn to sprint in there somewhere.

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