Saturday, November 14, 2009

Perfect off season ride

There are two ways to make Coach Tim proud.  The first is to meet a goal that you have worked hard to accomplish.  The second is riding smart.  And that’s what I did today.

My normal group didn’t have anything going on today so Pat invited me to ride with the NorCal team.  Although I accepted, I was also anxious.  You see, these guys and girls can ride fast, very fast, and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go that hard.  To be really honest, I was not sure I could keep up with them at all. However, Pat’s back is bothering him, it’s the off season, it’s cold, etc., so it was supposed to be a mellow ride.  We’ll see.

I have a good reason for keeping things nice and slow.  My off season just started but it’s about to come to an abrupt end.  I have decided to train for next year’s Terrible Two, which is a mere 200 mile ride with 16,000 feet of climbing.  Coach Tim has my training starting in December so that’s makes for a short off season and I intend to savor it for all it’s worth.

With just a little trepidation, I head out this morning at 7:00 and ride over to the start.  We all hang around talking about how cold it is, it was 37, and waited for the ride to begin.  Finally, we have everyone accounted for and get started on the ride.  Even though this is my first ride with NorCal, I have ridden with many of these guys before.

We didn’t get very far before we passed my brother-in-law, Michael, out for his morning run.  Pat and I both give a big shout out and we keep going.  We only went a little ways before we were stopped by irony.  That’s right! Irony.  One rider somehow dropped his pump and it flatted the front tire of the rider who went over it.  Irony right?

While the tire repair was going on Michael caught up with us.  So Pat and I rode with him as he was kicking out a 6:45 pace.  And this was at the 11 mile mark.  It was a pretty cool moment.

The rest of the group rejoined us and we were off again.  Up to this point the ride has been very mellow with lots of chatter.   We ride over Chalk Hill and while the climbs were relatively small we all kept up a good pace that pushed the heart rate just a little.  For me, it has been the perfect ride.

We reach Alexander Valley and finally settle into a brisk pace line.  But since I am like the 7th guy in the line, I am not working that hard.  We make the turn and get ready to climb Pine Flat and that’s when I remembered my shortened off season.  So, as they started the climb I said good-bye to Pat and turned to the left.

Now I was on my own to simply enjoy the beauty that is Fall cycling in the Wine Country.  I rode at my own pace.  I stopped to take pictures.  It was truly awesome, relaxing and rejuvenating all at the same time.

There you have it.  A ride where there were some concerns I would have to go to hard but in the end it was a perfect off-season day on the bike.


P.S.  I don’t know why I feel the need to explain why it’s been a while since my last blog, but I do.   I am helping Coach Tim with his web site, which means I have to learn about web sites.  We also created a fan page for him on FB called ESP Fitness Training.  Also, my favorite local bike shop, West County Revolution, started a monthly newsletter called Power to the Pedals for which I contributed an article about Cycling with Champions.

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