Have you ever had a ride where everything — I mean everything — fell into place perfectly? Sunday’s ride was that kind of ride for me.
After going many weeks with no other B riders out for the Sunday club ride, I posted on our club’s Yahoo board that I wanted to get a B ride going. Two others responded: Buddy, who has often ridden with us before, but hasn’t been on the bike regularly lately; and Maggie, who did her first ride with the club last weekend. She found herself with the A’s, and told me she wasn’t sure about coming back this week. But she was ready to try a B-level ride and see how it went.
Maggie arrived at the Starbucks where we start our rides to find that she had forgotten her cycling shoes. “I’m just five minutes away,” she pleaded. “I’ll be right back.”
But 8:15 came and went, and the main ride started to head out. “Are you coming, Ray?” asked one of the riders.
“We’re waiting for Maggie to get back,” I said. “I don’t want her to get here and find there’s no one left.”
“You’re going to go to heaven, Ray,” laughed Laura, who pedaled off after the group.
Maggie arrived within a few more minutes, and the three of us set off for Creedmoor, about 17 miles away.
Weather conditions were great. Temperature about 45 degrees (7C), sunny, and no wind. We chatted while riding along Davis Lane, and I learned that Maggie had done a lot of the routes we do, and was familiar with the one we were taking today. Sometimes she passed me and took the lead for awhile, other times, she dropped back to talk to Buddy, who was deliberately pacing himself after not riding with the club since September.
Our route passes an exotic game ranch near a large landfill. Usually, the animals are far back from the road, but today a mother emu was right up to the fence, with a gaggle of emu chicks. Maggie, who had already pointed out a large hawk perched on a nearby power pole, clucked with joy when she saw the chicks. A few hundred yards farther, several African antelope gathered near the fence. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten as good a look at the animals as today.
I noticed that I was getting stronger, if anything, on this ride. I accelerated from stoplights faster than usual, and I had more reserves of power going up the mild rollers out in the country. I didn’t know why — maybe it was the oatmeal I had for breakfast instead of my usual eggs, or maybe it was the intervals I had done the previous day. I had trouble believing that one interval session would make much difference, but whatever the cause, I was glad for it.
We stopped for a short rest at the convenience store in Creedmoor, then set out on our return leg. Buddy, who has issues with cramping, continued to pace himself, but managed to stay close to us. He said later he had a few twinges near the end of the ride, but nothing he couldn’t handle. We climbed the last major hill about three miles from the finish, and settled in for an easy ride the rest of the way.
Nothing out of the ordinary. No great feats of riding heroism. No Strava KOMs. Just a ride that was just the right distance, the right amount of time in the saddle, the right pace. We all agreed we were up for more like this. We’ll see what the coming weeks bring.