Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A glimpse of days to come

I just assumed that after my full blown rant about the weather in Saturday’s post that Mother Nature would get even on Sunday in a big way.  It didn’t happen.  Instead, she provided us with a glorious day on Sunday and I think everyone in Sonoma County was outside.  Yes, it was just that nice and just a glimpse of the days to come.

I was a little concerned at first.  I could see the heavy fog bank to the west.  I kept waiting for it to roll in and take away the early morning sunshine.  That didn’t happen either.  It was a little chilly, a balmy 38, but I’ll take cold sunshine over warm rain any day, so just before 8:00 I was on the bike and heading out.

I was meeting a group of folks in Larkfield for some easy hill climbing.  On the way, I was joined by 2 friends who were also coming along on the ride.  For some reason I felt like we were running late.  So as we started the 5.5 mile ride to meet the group I got into my TT position and lifted the pace.  Nothing crazy.  I wanted to add a touch of speed but still be comfortable.  Then I looked down and saw I was cruising at 22 mph.  My friends were still with me so I just kept going and we didn’t stop until we arrived at Larkfield 10 minutes early. 

Although it was just the beginning of the ride, I was feeling very strong.  I was surprised at how smoothly and almost effortlessly I was holding that pace.  I’m really starting to see the benefits of those indoor trainer workouts I despise so much.  It’s also a sign that I will be ready for the harder rides I know this summer will bring.

The ride was promoted as a “no stop” ride with the exception of fixing flats.  That means if you stop, the group keeps riding and you have to chase back on.  We held a nice steady tempo all the way through Healdsburg and out to Mill Creek Road, which would be our first climb of the day.  The route also called for climbing Pine Flat later in the ride.  Since I leave for San Diego tomorrow, I was self-imposing a time limit that meant I would not get to ride Pine Flat so I decided to test my strength and conditioning on Mill Creek.

Of course, I don’t want to be an ass and look like I am attacking off the front.  I also did not want to take the time to tell everyone why I was going to ride hard.  Instead, I took advantage of the “no stop” rule.  Just before Mill Creek I did stop to peel off one layer of clothing before the climb.  As advertised, the group kept riding.  By the time I was done they were quite a ways ahead of me.

Now it’s time to push the pace.  However, I need to ride smart because this my first time on Mill Creek so I don’t know to expect.  When I made the turn, I could see the group ahead already starting to string out on the climb as everyone settled into their own tempo.  One by one I pulled them back over the next couple of miles.  I was not going flat out.  Instead I selected a “lifted” pace and held it to the top.  In the end I caught 5 of the 8 people in front and was feeling incredibly strong.

By the way, Mill Creek is now one of my favorite roads, and climbs, in Sonoma County.  It is an out and back so their is very little traffic.  The road follows Mill Creek, which was simply stunning on Sunday, fresh with all that rain I was complaining about on Saturday.  It is a beautiful route that climbs through redwoods, vineyards and meadows.  On most days you’re much more likely to hear the cry of a hawk versus the sound of a car.  I will definitely being riding this road again.  A lot!

So there you have it.  A glimpse of the beautiful weather, strong riding, and new climbs that await me in the days ahead all wrapped into one awesome ride.  I can hardly wait.


3 Comment(s):

dan said...

Sounds like you had a great ride, and worked out a very smart plan to accomplish your goals of the day!

Have fun in San Diego!

Unknown said...

Hey Lee, good blog! I didn't know it was a no-stop? Everyone stopped when I flatted! And then as I began the Mill Creek climb, I did wonder where the hell you were...explains everything now.

Nicole said...

shhhsh...trainer rides...I'm more convinced your strength comes from Sherry's french toast and all the wine you drink!! :) Sounds like a beautiful ride!