I was wrong. Last evening’s ride turned out to be great! I didn’t even have that “I’m about to explode” feeling on the second lap. I guess being a cyclist isn’t all bad.
This time I made it out to Donaldson Center with time to spare. Everything was in order on my bike – I was sporting my new Quarq CinQo Saturn power meter. I even had time to ride out on the course a bit before heading to the start to hand over my 5 bucks and get in line.
We rolled out and I counted at least 8 POA Cycling teammates in the group. Actually, I believe it was nine. It was good to see the spidey suits out in force.
I dropped immediately toward the back. I had no idea how my body was going to respond to the effort. Thankfully, on that first lap, though there was a group that went off the front, things went easily and everyone spun along to loosen up.
Even the second lap continued to be relatively laid back. The speed did increase overall, but there weren’t any attacks that had me trying to hang on for dear life with my tongue hanging out. I was proud of myself for staying about mid-pack to near the rear. I made an effort to try to work as little as possible.
Coming into the third lap I began to pay more attention to my teammates and tried to stay in contact with at least one of them at any given time. Since John has always been my “unofficial” coach, I kept an eye on him and basically mimicked what he did. That was the best way I knew not to have him tell me I did something stupid during the ride.
The fourth lap arrived and I was feeling amazingly good. It was time to start moving closer to the front – but not too close. It was not time to start being a hero. There were still 14 miles to go.
Then it arrived… the fifth lap. A gap formed almost immediately. I couldn’t tell exactly who from my team was around. I thought we had one guy up in the break, but I wasn’t sure. Louis and I moved toward the front and we tried to figure out how we were placed.
If we did have someone up in the break, I wasn’t in a big hurry to go after them. They would have a better chance without the group swallowing them up. Then I saw the rider I figured was out there coming back to us and looking over his shoulder waiting for the group to join him.
As we were going up the climb before the golf course, John really turned up the wick and I followed. Before I knew it, I was on the front of the chase group. I sensed I was on the point and people were happy to let me be there. That wasn’t what I wanted. I peeled off and sat up to let someone else come to the front.
Then I came up beside Randy and told him, “I’ll be glad to try to go all out and pull you to the break and then drop off.” I knew if I did it, I wouldn’t be able to stay in the group. However, I also knew we had no rider up there and Randy could give them a run for their money if I could just deliver him there with fresh enough legs.
Randy responded (sounding rather doubtful), “You can give it a try.” So, I started up the remainder of the climb with Randy in tow. This is when I wondered what the week off the bike would do to me. I was either going to be really fresh and able to pull or I was going to be really weak and croak.
As I climbed toward the turn where the “club house” is two Barley riders came flying past me. My first thought was that they were wanting to chase as well. So, I got on one of the riders’ wheel. He certainly didn’t keep up the pace he had when he passed me. That should have been a sign.
Both riders kept a reasonable pace, but I wouldn’t call it a chase pace. From behind I heard Randy say, “Move around these guys.” I realized too late (rookie mistake) that those guys weren’t chasing. Most likely they had a guy in the break and they were covering Randy and me.
So, I went around and started to hammer it. Of course, by this time the entire peloton became the chase group. Here I was once again asking myself, “What are you doing?” This was not the plan for the evening!
Just as we reached the bottom of a downhill before starting up another roller, I knew I had to get out of the way or I was going to get run over. I was out of juice. As I moved to the left, I saw Randy continue forward. I felt really awful that I was dumping him right at the bottom of a climb with him pulling the entire field!
As I hugged the yellow line, I kept waiting to see POA riders go by me. Ah, there went a couple. Hopefully, they would be able to get up there and help Randy out a bit. Me? I had shot my wad. I did recover enough to jump on the back of the field for a bit, but I started to yo-yo and finally decided to just let them go.
The best part of the night was when I was unloading my bike from the car. My legs felt sooooo good. It was that comfortable soreness that comes from a good workout – tiredness that tells you you are going to sleep like a rock!
All those negative feelings from earlier in the day?
What negative thoughts?