Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nokesville to Summerduck


My yearly mileage is actually behind where I was one year ago when we had 60" of snow and I was slow in recovering from cancer surgery. This winter wasn't severe but we've had many days colder than normal.

I was invited to join Joe Penano and some riders from The Bike Lane team on a 70 mile ride out of Middleburg, Va., but was afraid that I wasn't up to their level of fitness and would slow them down or get dropped. Instead, I opted for a Potomac Pedalers ride where I would know no one.

It was listed as a BB/A ride and I hoped it would be more BB than A. Or that we would have enough for two groups and I could join the BB group. Even then I was worried that I did not have the fitness to keep up with the BB group.

Maybe even more was the first time I when I first did a PPTC ride from Nokesville I did a BB ride and got dropped. I learned that A riders sometime jump in the BB rides and naturally ramp up the pace. I was hoping we'd have enough for two groups, an A and a BB.

There were 10 of us. One group.

Our ride would take us to U.S. 17 to Summerduck in Fauquier County and back to start.

We started fast and went faster. Ten of us were in a pace line although I wouldn't say we were maximized for speed. Each person as they moved up front took monster pulls instead of my preferred 20-30 seconds at the front. When it was my turn I pulled for about a mile then moved over just as the group was ready to hammer a downhill. My bad. I lost contact although the group did sit up and wait for me to come back.

About five miles from our rest stop we hit a hill and I was in last at the bottom. At the top I was only 10 meters or so behind but did not have the recovery to hammer the pace. Ten meters grew to 40 and then 100. Then I lost contact. I pulled out my cue sheet and new I was in trouble. I had switched Garmin to kilometers while the cue sheet was in miles. But a quick math lesson and I found myself back to the group at our rest stop. There was another rider behind me and he came in 3-4 minutes later.

Averaged 18.5 mph, I didn't think I could continue this pace for the second half the ride and was content to ride home alone. But we took off and I stayed with them. My mind kept thinking just get to me Sowego Road or Brentstown Road or Fleetwood Drive. Then I would sit up and soft pedal home.

The ten of us stayed together and the pace increased. We eventually dropped a rider and around 80 km. I lost contact and dropped back 30-40 meters but was able to catch the group at Brentstown Road. One or two riders waited for the dropped rider and the rest of us took off. I was still hanging in there until we hit a rise and a felt a sharp twinge in my quad. Cramp! Crap!

I immediately sat up and pulled myself out of the group. I knew then to soft pedal the rest of the way and be content with what I had accomplished.

Only once did I ride this year as much as 16 mph and that was the Reston Bike Lane ride which always moves. I had hoped for 16, or dare I think, 17 on this ride. I came home in at 19.0 mph.

I spent a lot of time in Zones 2 and 3 (two hours 23 minutes), 24 minutes in Zone 4, and two minutes in the red. I worked hard.

Clearly my fitness is lacking but it was a great ride with an A class group.

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