|Total – 4:00
|Elevation – 1410 ft
|5:00 AM – cereal
7:30 AM – 4 Fig Newtons
|2 large bottles each w/3 scoops Endurox R4, half a PowerBar
|upper 40s, wet, some wind in exposed areas
|Sugoi shoe covers, Roubaix knickers, Craft long sleeve undershirt, short sleeve jersey, arm warmers, Curve rain jacket, OR Gripper gloves, cap
Finally – a good day on the bike!
Early in the morning it looked like it might not rain today... Ha! By 7 it was misting and by 7:30 it was drizzling. But it was not too cold. Bonus. I figured I would try my super duper rain coat and it passed the test with flying colors.
In attendance today were Greg K, Dean J, Olivier H, Jed B and RC R. Couldn't ask for a better group.
I was hoping my day of rest yesterday would help me bounce back after my long week of work and I think it did. After we crossed the bridge Greg turned to me and told me I had 'killed it' going across the lake. Although a bit of an exaggeration I guess it meant I was feeling all right. Then as we rode up Coal Creek Pkwy Olivier told me that perhaps I should ease up as everyone else was quite a ways behind us and he was not warmed up yet. It was shaping up to be a good day. :)
ASIDE – not that dropping your friends is a good day, it was just great to not feel so stressed on the bike. I was breathing easily and the legs were turning over at a higher cadence than usual. All good stuff.
Heading up Cougar for the first time Olivier went right to the front. That was expected and I tried to hang with him. It felt comfortable at first but then bit by bit it got less comfortable and I started to let a gap open up. I managed to close it just as we crossed the flat saddle and then Olivier shifted off his largest cog and had to stop and get off his bike. I rolled past per his insistence and just like that he was back on my wheel and then passed me a good 100 m before the top. Nice. Up here we took a quick look at the estate Dean is building, grabbed some food and then flew down the steep side of Cougar. God I love that descent. And my brakes were working really well so no big deal.
Next up was Squak. This time I started in front with Olivier right behind me but after about five blocks he eased up next to me. For a bit it was feeling okay and we rode more-or-less next to each other but then when we started the second pitch he started to pull away again. Damn. I had again been feeling really comfortable to that point but I think he upped the pace just a smidge. This time I tried to keep the tempo up and just do what I could manage without blowing up and it paid off. As we neared the top I saw he was not too far ahead and shifted up and gave it all I had for about one or two minutes and closed the gap. Legitimately this time. :) Ouch! But then we stuck together for the last few blocks and I did not explode – I was feeling great! Up here it was time for more food and drink and we waited for everyone else.
For once I was actually excited about the steep of Cougar. I pulled into it and settled right into what I felt was an aggressive but sustainable pace for me. After a bit I looked back and Olivier was the only one on my wheel.
I was feeling super actually and for a change it felt like I was able to get really deep, full lungs of air. That is always my weakness, my lungs seem to give out before my legs. It feels like I just can't get enough oxygen and then I blow... Not today.
On the steepest turn I stayed in the saddle (36x27) and powered around the corner. As the road flattened out I shifted up and sped up and suddenly I had gapped Olivier! Unfortunately this was also when the effort began to show and my pace kinda wavered. By the time we got to the last steps he had caught me and passed me again. I did manage to close the gap but only because he dropped his glasses and had to clip out to pick them up. :) Still, by the time we got to the top I still had a tiny bit left and was not feeling like total thermonuclear meltdown.
Next up was the Newcastle golf course hill and now I was feeling the toll of the ride. Still, I opted for a relatively small gear and tried to spin it as fast as I could and managed to ride away from everyone.
ANOTHER ASIDE – is it funny or typical that my feelings are dictated by how I am doing compared to my friends? Whatever; I did feel really good today.
From here we just rolled home. It was basically all downhill or flat and that was fine with me at this point.
It did seem like Greg warmed up as the ride progressed. Ditto for Dean. By the time we got the the I-90 floating bridge I was cooked and these guys (and Olivier) floated past me on that damn rise heading west. No way could I respond this time.
Since the ride had turned out shorter than expected I opted to hit downtown with Dean and then came up Pike for one last climb.
I was very comfortable except for my hands that started to get cold the last hour. My jacket is f'n awesome and my feet were fine and it was plenty warm enough for knickers. Yeah. Making the wrong clothing choice sucks.