Saturday, April 7, 2012

Knock Knock Knocking on President's Door


I was pleased to see "Knock, Knock, Knocking on President's Door" posted as a Potomac Pedalers ride for today. I last did this ride almost three years ago and suffered. I rode with a broken wrist and a yet-to-be-diagnosed e.Coli infection.

It wasn't until two years later that I uploaded my data to that I realized how sick I was. I knew I had to come back and ride it "healthy" albeit three years older.

I counted 30 people for this A/BB/B ride. Wheels down at 9:00 a.m.  It was 39 degrees. And windy. We split into two groups - the As (and BBs) and the Bs. I looked at the Bs and  (foolishly) decided I would try to ride with the As. That is always a bad idea. I should have stuck with the Bs.

In those first five miles we shed a number of riders, all of whom dropped back to the following B group. But I was struggling to keep up with the As. 

As we hit a rise I started trailing off as did another rider. He told me that he knew he didn't belong with them and would be dropped. But then he picked it up, integrated with them and I had to watch from 200 meters back for the next seven miles.

As we hit the serious climb in Cunningham Falls State Park I caught him, rode with him, then dropped him on the climb up Park Central. As we climbed I kept wondering how I did this with a broken wrist three years ago. I couldn't stand out of the saddle and put weight on my wrist so I had to sit in all ride. I realized that even with a healthy wrist this was a tough climb.

From Mile 5 until the Sheetz break in Thurmont (Mile 31), I was a lone rider. I caught the previously mentioned rider and was passed by a real strong rider, "probably 35" said another about him. But that was it. I could have been on a solo ride.

At Sheetz the A group was getting ready to ride and foolishly (again) I decided I would ride with them. The rider who had passed me, wearing a green fleece looking jersey, went to the front and set the pace. And pace. And pace. 

At the Sheetz in Thurmont

It was windy and perhaps 11 of us were struggling to keep the pace. I was working hard, (struggling) and moved to the back in case I wanted to drop off the pace. That would not be necessary.

At the Sheetz in Thurmont

At mile 43 we hit a rise and two of us dropped off the pace until the top of the hill. I thought the group would soft pedal for 10-15 seconds and let us integrate. Nope.

There had been two women riding and one of them, Stephanie Becker, dropped when I did. After a few minutes of watching the group 200 meters in front and coming to a stop sign where they had not waited for us I said "I'm Barry." She may as well should get to know me because we weren't going to bridge the gap and it was apparent they weren't interested in playing nice and waiting.

We rode at our own pace, both taking turns in the wind, and riding sensibly until the end. We found out the group split up not long after we were shed. Just another Potomac Pedalers Ride. Sigh.

Seen on the Ride. From Jeremiah Bishop's Gran Fondo.

Comparing metrics to three years ago, today wasn't a whole lot better. I want to think the wind made it harder and I would have done better.

I rode 0.5 mph faster today and I want to believe I would have been at least 1.0 mph faster if not for the wind. My heart rate was only six bpm lower today. But I am three years older. And I'm happy.

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