Thursday, April 2, 2009

Riding both ends of the spectrum

Well, what else can I say other then it was another great weekend of cycling. I rode on both Saturday and Sunday although they were very different rides. One was a very fast tempo ride while the other was to help newbies learn how to ride in a group. The difference - about 10 mph.

Saturday was Revolution Riviera Ride #3. This monthly ride is really starting to grow and we had about 30 riders at the start. The plan? We are all heading out together for the first 30 miles then the A group will pick up the pace and add some miles while the B group heads to lunch. I was definitely going to be in the B group.

So with waivers signed, lunch count completed, and final instructions heard, we are off. As always we start on the bike path to head out of town so the pace starts nice and easy. We finally hit the open road and it's time for things to kick up a little. Coming out of the town of Forestville there is a small but very steep hill (15+%) that drops you right into a T-intersection. I was the 5th person there so I stopped and kept giving the riders behind me the all-clear signal so they didn't have to stop. Although this was a nice thing to do I ended up paying for it later.

You see, just past this T-intersection is where the pace accelerated and the attacks started. This portion of the ride was described by many as a complete hammerfest all the way to where we would regroup. And where was I? Desperately playing catch up since when the attacks started I was completely stopped and yelling "clear". So the chase is on.

I settle into in very strong cadence and try to rock it back to the group (who by the way are stronger then me on the flats). I am pushing the big ring and a heart rate in the low 160's. But I stay focused. After a couple of miles I see 3 of the lead group up ahead and work hard to bridge the gap. I get to within 100 meters but cannot seem to close it down. Finally, on a small hill I went all out and caught them at the top. After they were kind enough to give me a minute to recover we formed a pace line and road strong the rest of the way. It was hard work but in the end it felt great.

After we split into our A and B groups, the B group road back to Riviera at a good pace but nothing deadly. I was feeling very good and was extremely pleased with my recovery from the earlier effort. At one point I was on the front and simply rode away from the group without even realizing it. Everyone eventually makes it to Riviera where we all enjoy a 4-course meal complete with wine. Man I love cycling!

On Sunday I was feeling the efforts. I went for a short run and with every step my legs reminded me they were toast. That was fine because my Sunday ride was going to be a recovery ride. I was going out to help Coach Tim work with some new riders in learning how to ride in pace lines and with a group.

We meet around 1:00 and after resolving some pedal issues we are off. My first job was to hold a pace of 12 mph and make sure I did not drop the newbies. So I am riding down the road constantly looking under my arm for the shadow to see how close they are. They did a great job of holding the line. On the second part of the ride I became the official photographer as we rode together just chatting away and having a great time. Once we were done it was time for lunch at the local brew pub.

So there you go. The full spectrum of cycling in one weekend. On Saturday, I rode 60 miles with an average speed of 18 and an average heart rate of 140 (with a max of 175). Sunday was a much calmer affair of 17 miles, an average speed of 11.5, and an average heart rate of 114. And while they were radically different rides they shared 1 thing in common. They both ended with good friends enjoying a great meal. And there's nothing wrong with that.


2 Comment(s):

Nicole said... make me want to go out and ride every time a read your weekend biking reports!! Great Job! I love that you have a group dedicated to working with new riders...I wish I had found someone like that when I first started riding. :)

Sarah said...

You know, I wondered what happened to the lead group after Forestville. That was right where I dropped my Clif Bar, and as I tried to ride hard to find the lead group, I couldn't seem to find them. No wonder!

Great job out there. I had SO much fun. I love cycling.