AND IT'S ONLY MARCH!!!
Matt is one hell-of-a fast rider. Dude's been putting on mileage all winter and BIG mileage as of late in preparation for some Spring races. So right from the get go he's waaaay ahead of me in pretty much all areas on the bike. What made the ride worse, Rodd, who I thought was coming and was going to use as a second wind shield as I suckled he proverbial "second wheel" teat the entire ride, didn't show. This left me alone to stay in Matt's skinny ass draft. Fugg.
The first 50-60 km of riding with Matt I did my very best to hang on to his wheel, and was fairly successful on the flats and slight inclines. No surprise I got dropped, and quickly, on the climbs. No skin off my nose, as I was expecting that to happen anyway. My mindset to begin the ride was that it was going to be long miles at an endurance pace . . . I guess I should had made it clear to Matt that I was looking to ride *my* endurance pace, not *his* endurance pace, which is *my* LT or race pace, which is *his* recovery pace. Fugg.
Matt, sans beard, on Rue de Chamonix's rolling scenic dirt hills.
Keeping up I 'embarced' the mantra: "It's only March. It's only March. It's only March."
I could go into every detail of the first 50-60kms or so of riding with Matt, but to be honest my head was down most of the time so fixed on his wheel just trying to hang on. Long story short is I blew up, legs cramping badly and the tank empty just after passing by Woodsmoke. Physically spent. What made it worse, I was slowing Matt up. I tore myself up (maybe too early in the season?) early on a big ride.
Nothing buggs me more than slowing faster riders up. For me it's a catch 22 . . . if I want to become faster, I NEED to ride with faster, better riders. Unfortunately for them, they pay the price in waiting for my fat ass and missing out on their ride. How long do you impose yourself on your buddies before it's too much to ask them to ride any slower? The guys are great, and I love riding with them - no egos, uber friendly bunch, I always always learn something, and there are good laughs. But how long do you keep showing up for rides being "that guy"? "That" slow guy. "That" guy who we have to wait for. And what's worse, if I get faster, stronger . . . they too most likely are getting faster & stronger, thus I will ALWAYS be "That guy". Fugg.
"You" meaning me.
After a few miles of mentally beating myself and envisioning Bill Murray telling me in my head that I suck, and like a wounded straggling soldier in a bad action movie, I had to plead with Matt to go on without me. To his credit he was more than willing to stay with me and ride it out. I, however, was able to persuade him to go get his ride in and I would limp home, and get a final total mileage of 131 kms, at my snails pace.
Matt has hit speeds up to 101 km/hr on this 18% hill over by Mt Cascade.
What was probably the most humbling part of the entire ride was climbing the back-half of this hill at aprox. 7.5km/hr and have Matt do cat-walks on his road bike ahead of me while we climbed. Fugg. I would have taken video of that too, but I was completely cooked and had no energy to reach for my camera and film that craziness.
Cross Rd. - freshly graded
I was getting pretty negative about this ride as I limped home on my own. But I was able to think about some of the cycling related things that Matt and I had the opportunity to speak about as he pedaled slowly beside me while I was walking out some cramping issues. There are some valuable lessons that I learned from this ride which I won't go into now cause this post is getting waaay too long.
I kept seeing these realty signs on my way back home near Chelsea along the 105. Something about buying a house from a guy wearing a tuxedo just doesn't feel right. NOW . . . if he had a top hat, monocle, tails and walking cain . . . that'd be a totally different story!
Friday's recovery ride had me on the bike paths along the Ottawa River just spinning the legs out. The Ottawa R. has been broken up for quite a while, but still clumpy, chunky ice bits are floating down stream.