Three tough rides this week have left me pretty tired. Throw in some late nights with the Tour De France and I’m ready for a break. Sitting here after the morning ride before lunch, I feel like going and crawling into bed for a looooong nap. Yeah, I’m tired, but it has been fun.
There was a good group out on the Hour of Power ride this morning. I thought with the Tour being on we might have less people. However, most of the regulars were there – and some fast men to make it interesting.
The first thing I realized was that apple butter is not a good thing to put on your toast before going on a ride. Basically, for me I’ve found that any type of fruit substance before a ride doesn’t sit that well. By the time we got off of Tanner Road onto Reid School Road, I had indigestion.
Of course, this was right before the Meece Bridge Road sprint. I got into the group, but didn’t even try for it. Luis and John were up ahead and then I saw John pulling the pace line. Jeff Cash was on his wheel. I was afraid at that point that we had put John in a bad situation. However, he controlled it and scored one for the POA boys.
By the time we reached the quarry road, I was feeling much better. I eased to the rear of the group and tried to get the heart rate down and catch my breath. We hit it and there was John ahead of me again with Jeff marking him. I eased up to them but didn’t go on the front.
Then Jeff went forward and I followed him up toward the false flat. I moved to the front and tried to stamp out a steady cadence. My idea was to narrow down the players and then see who would be left. I wasn’t surprised when those players ended up being John and Jeff.
Jeff came around and then John. I accelerated to get on John’s wheel. Then John pulled off after bringing me to Jeff’s. I sat there for a bit and then attacked around him. After a short gap, I looked back to see that neither of them reacted. Score two for POA.
It was on that climb I realized I needed a break. I had no snap at all. Plus by the time I reached the top I was in recover and survive mode. For much of the next portion of the ride, I was just trying to hang on.
There was a small sprint point soon after the climb. Billy moved to the front and followed a Spinners rider who attacked. He was able to move around him and reach the fire hydrant first. Score three for POA.
Next up was the State Park gate sprint. As we were making our way toward that zone, I pulled up beside John near the front. “Save yourself for Mont Vonteux,” he said. I replied, “I was wanting to ask you if you could take the State Park sprint. I don’t think I can do it.” He didn’t want to do it, but said that Billy could probably take it.
I rode up to Billy and he was good for the try. Then it was just a matter of letting Luis know and then setting him up. Billy sat in and got ready for the train.
As we moved into the zone, Tony moved to the front. He pulled for just a bit and then moved over, saying as we sped by him, “Just kidding!”
Luis moved to the front with me on his wheel. I wasn’t exactly sure who was directly behind me, but I knew John would be there taking care of Billy. Our job was to stretch out the field and leave John and Billy to launch up the hill.
Luis wasn’t pulling his normal killer pace and I heard John yell from behind us, “GO FASTER!” Luis picked it up a bit for several yards and then pulled over. Now it was my time to pull.
I pushed it up into the 30s and once on a slight downhill tickled 40 mph. It didn’t last too long though. I heard John say, “Pull over for when we start down the hill.” In my tired state it didn’t register completely and I started to move to the left. “Not yet!” he commanded. I got back on the pedals and decided to smash it until I was told to move.
Finally, John said, “Now!” I gladly got off the front. John, Billy, and Jeff went flying past me like I was sitting still. I rode just fast enough to keep them in sight as they made the turns to start up the climb to the gate. John dropped Billy off in a great position, but Jeff was right on his wheel. For a bit they were right there together and then I saw Billy move ahead. Score four for POA.
Once more I was just hanging on as we suffered up Oak Leaf. By the time I hit the 12% grade at the top, I was ready to call it a day. However, after I caught up with the group and we made our way toward Nature Trail, John asked, “Are you going to try for this one?” I gave a noncommittal, “I’ll try.”
John then moved to the front and as we descended to the bottom of the road just before the climb up Nature Trail, I got all the gear I could and tried to build my speed for the ascent. If I was going to try this, I was going to hit it and try to coast as far up as I could! John moved over and I took a deep breath and went for it.
At first I was in the big ring and was climbing at 20 mph plus. For a moment I felt really good and stayed there listening to the swish – swish – swish of my wheels as I sped up the climb. Then it ended. Just like that I didn’t feel it anymore.
Glancing behind me I couldn’t see anyone between me and the first turn. No need to kill myself. Hopefully John was serving as a buffer. I shifted out of the big ring and tried to make myself as comfortable as possible toward the top.
Looking back again I saw riders coming around and not at a slow pace. I could see myself getting pipped right at the top. I searched my gears for some more leverage. Finally I decided I didn’t care. If they caught me, they could have it. Turns out I didn’t have to worry. I made it to the top with time to spare. Score five for POA.
To be fair, I have to point out that while the POA members took all of the sprints, Jeff Cash with Window Gang probably took the points jersey for the ride. We ganged up on him every sprint, but he was there in the mix 2nd or 3rd for each of them. He made the morning a whole lot more fun. Thanks, Jeff!
Now I’m off for that nap! You all have fun out there Tuesday night. I’m taking a break. Hopefully, I’ll have my legs back for the POA Cycling Summer Series race on Thursday evening.