Summer is not shaking out the way I’d planned. I’m worked roughly half days, in the mornings, and was looking forward to doing some regular riding when I got home in the afternoon.
But afternoons in Central Texas are ridiculously hot right now, and the thought of getting out on the bike when it’s 98 degrees (37C) is unappealing.
So I was glad to get Friday morning off and hit the road for the club’s weekly ride to the zoo.
What I didn’t realize is that the turnout for the ride is made up of A riders. I guess the B’s are all working or don’t want to try to keep up with the fast guys.
After about three miles, it became apparent that I would not be keeping up with them, either. I was way off the back. Luckily, I had company. My friend Rick, who had just returned from a week in Colorado where he climbed several peaks (on his bike), was ready for an easy ride. He stayed back with me.
That was good for me, but I felt bad for him. He could have kept up with the group with no trouble. But I was glad he stuck around. After 28 miles of hilly riding, I was wiped out.
Saturday, I decided to make my ride somewhat easier than normal. I opted to skip the hills I usually include there, and do a trip through the neighborhood instead. It’s easy to put together a 22, 25, 27 or more mile ride just by sticking to area streets. Not having to worry about holding anyone else up made my work easier, too.
So when Sunday came around, I had some doubts about the day’s ride. The club was taking Fitzhugh Road, which I haven’t been on for some time. The traffic on Fitzhugh, which is out in the country, has really picked up lately as more people move their residences out there. But since we planned to start the ride at 7:30 instead of the normal 8:15, I figured traffic would be lighter, so I decided to go.
My friend Maggie met me at the start. We didn’t have to worry about keeping up with the A’s, because she had some equipment adjustments to make. By the time we pulled out of the parking lot, the A’s were just dots on the horizon.
That was fine. We set our own pace. Fitzhugh is made up of roller after roller, which we fly down and labor up. An intersection about 17 miles out is a natural turnaround point for us.
I really felt good Sunday. The uphills didn’t sap my energy as they so often do, and as they did Friday. I reached home after the ride tired, but still alert. We beat the worst of the day’s heat, and in fact, the light wind in our faces on the return leg felt a bit cool.
I didn’t have a single Strava trophy on the route, which I figured was a good thing. It meant I didn’t push it too hard. At the same time, I noticed a marked improvement over my Friday ride. While a lot of my riding acquaintances around the country find themselves at the peak of their riding season, summer here is a time to throttle back and get ready for the bigger rides to come in fall. Based on my weekend performance, I think I’m in good shape to do that.
I gave up fast riding a couple of years ago. I thought I would miss it, but don’t. On the group rides I wait with a few others for the full kit riders to leave then set off on a leisurely pace with lots of stops.
We do our 50 miles in 4-5 hours and all of us back of the pack riders end the day with a smile. (and a beer or two).
Bike Noob says
For us, there always seems to be the urgency to get back home by a certain time. I have proposed to some others that we find a place to stop and eat halfway through our rides, but no one is interested. I might have to start riding by myself again.