the week's club rides
I'm catching up after a full week - let's see, what happened ...
Tuesday night's ride went pretty well, though the details have blurred for me now. I know the group I was with rode out from the Y down Dixie to Klugh, then along the length of that road to Old Abbeville Highway and down to Beudrot Road, coming back in the back way. We went fast, too, running something like 18.26 mph to the turn onto Klugh, and it was still a respectable pace for me at the end of 22.7 miles. I felt well exercised, despite the fact that what I had really wanted was a cool-down recovery ride.
Wednesday's ride was a fast one as well. We met at the fountain under cloudy skies with lots of wind. None of the more laid-back riders showed, and it wound up being me, Fred, Jim, Bradley and Norm. Rides that involve Norm and Bradley usually wind up being pretty quick, and this one was no exception. Out the trail, where we stopped while Norm fixed a flat, then down to the Canadian Mist Highway to Lebanon Church Road. Jimmy cut over onto Pembroke while the rest of us rolled along at a very brisk clip to the bottom of the hill.
We cranked up Scotch Cross. Norm and Bradley had surged on ahead - surprise, surprise - while Fred and I followed. We didn't dawdle. I looked down at Belle's cyclo computer and was surprised to see how often I was doing 18 going up the long hill. Mostly I followed Fred, but a couple of times I pulled while he caught his breath. Jim doubled back to meet us near the top, and we agreed that the bad weather made it prudent for us to cut things short. We went straight across 221 and down the 225 bypass, not one of my favorite routes, then cut over onto Florida Avenue and down the trail without incident. When I got home, I had another 21.3 miles for the week.
Thursday was windy, brutally windy. Jim was not in attendance, though most of the fast folk were. Connie and Donis showed up, so I rode with them. We left a couple of minutes early with me pulling down Old Abbeville. The first batch of riders to overtake us included Bob Chambers and a bearded guy I thought was one of Scott Frock's sons. They rolled past us before we could get to Allen Chapel. Minutes later another pack including Josh and Strawhorne blew by.
We made the turn onto 72, Connie's least favorite part of the ride, then down onto the Old Greenwood Road near Ebenezer Church. The wind was shockingly stiff and dead in our faces. On the long final descent that I usually hit 34 on at the bottom, I was doing 28 - until a sudden gust of wind slowed me to 23. I had no momentum and could only drop onto the 38T ring and crank up the first steep bit, over the false flat and up the last section to Stevenson Road. Connie was riding very well for someone recovering from a fractured elbow, while Donis was having a rougher day than normal for her.
I set off down Stevenson with the quartering wind to my left front. I couldn't get comfortable in a gear, switching back and forth between the 50x21, 50x23, 38x19 and 38x17. None of them were quite right, so I settled into the drops and muscled Belle along.
Old Abbeville-Hodges Highway was a better bet, especially with the wind at our backs now. I churned on up and waited for them at Klugh Road, then took off again down Blue Jay, finally finding a rhythm on the middle ring. We regrouped at the intersection with 185 and watched the first two packs come by before setting off. Connie and I made Donis go first, while I switched on my blinky tail light and brought up the rear. The climb went quickly and we found ourselves on Dixie Drive again. Donis felt frisky and led us along at 20 mph for a while before waving me to the front. I kept the pace to between 18 and 20 the rest of the way. We took the straight shot in on Calhoun and were back from our windswept 25.6 miles by 7:50. The overall pace might have been closer to what I wanted in the way of a laid-back ride, but the wind kept it from being easy.
Folks were still milling around in the parking lot, and I wound up talking with Bob and the bearded guy. He wasn't one of Scott's sons, it was Scott himself, sporting whiskers suitable for a Confederate cavalry officer. Scott in particular commented on my weight loss - at 150 lbs, I'm 25 pounds lighter than I was when I had the heart attack - and we conversed for a while about dietary choices and their results. Bob wanted to know how old my Sidi shoes were, and I think he was surprised to learn they were less than five years old - it's hard to find toe-clip compatible shoes these days.
I went home for my first night with my wife out of town and ate shepherd's pie prepared by my mother-in-law, then went to bed at an early hour. I needed my rest for Saturday.