Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Capitol Velo Ride

The intrepid souls. Photo credit:Kurt

Twas a dark and stormy day...

This past Saturday was the first Capitol Velo group ride of the year. We went out and reckoned the OBRA state road race championship course for this year. And what a ride it was.

The night before I kept checking the weather reports hoping that they had gotten it wrong. But nope, it was going to be miserable. Maybe not biblical type misery. But definitely more than we wanted for the first team ride of the year. Meh, what do you do?

We were hoping to entice some new members or potential new members out for the ride. But with the way the weather looked to be panning out I figured we would be lucky to have just the club board members show up (8). But happily twenty intrepid souls were there for what was going to be a pretty "epic" day.  The ride was only 40 miles. Which by normal club rides is only a little longer than usual. But that doesn't mean it's not going to hurt...

All the other photos were from Hollie.
There were the usual suspects from the team. Along with a handful of new guys. I must admit I was pretty impressed that many people showed up. Honestly, if I weren't one of the people organising it I sincerely doubt I would have showed.
We met at the Bike Peddler just before the scheduled 9:30 am departure. And rolled out about 9:40 because evidently, Dusty doesn't own a watch...

Before we got out of town we already had two flats. Which didn't bode well for us. But we got them taken care of and continued south.

Hollie and Andrew had agreed to drive the route and take some video and pictures not only as blog fodder (Gee whiz, aren't they swell!). But also for the club website which will hopefully be getting an overhaul sometime in the near future. (Note: These are just some low resolution shots. The video and high res stuff is coming soon, so stay posted.)

As we headed out it became very apparent that the weather was going to be the key ingredient in this ride. With in an hour of starting we had cold, rain, wind, sun, snow, and snain (Snow/rain mix.). The temperature seemed to fluctuate just as much. When the sun was out I felt like I needed to strip down and as soon as the sun went behind some clouds the wind started to chill me down again. Of course the occasional snow flurry was also pretty effective at doing the same job.

The stuff on the lense would be snow and this shows how much we need to work on 2x2 riding...

The conversation was light and pleasant. And for the most part the speed was too.  We regrouped several times for people to catch back on. Everyone ended up waiting for me and a couple of the other "big" guys at the top of most of the hills. Which quite frankly I was hoping. I did my best not to keep them standing around and getting chilled to much but I only have about two speeds going up... Slow and stop.

This would be where I start to fade away into the distance...
As we reached about the half way point I was sort of expecting the head/side wind that we had been experiencing up to that point to become a nice cross tailwind. But unfortunately that wasn't the case. It just became a straight cross wind. Which did an exceptional job of splitting the group into several different echolons.
And that's when it started to happen.

I started bonking. Bad.

That would be me off the back. In my own personal 'Bonkland' (It's like Disneyland. But with out the fun and empty wallet at the end. But you still get that nauseous feeling...).

I had eaten something earlier. But I also went on another ride before the club ride (Although very short because of a slashed sidewall on my rear tire.). So I hadn't eaten anything real since about 6:20 in the morning.

The dumb part is that I've ridden long enough to know what I need to do. And I can usually read the signs of a bonk coming on. So I slammed a gu and some water and hoped for the best.

As we started to head north towards the Enchanted Forest (A theme park near Salem. Which also causes nausea and an empty wallet.) there are two longer steady climbs. The first of which isn't all that steep of a grade (Maybe 5-6%). And I knew I was still trouble when the group now had a tailwind and everyone around me was conversating without any problems. While I felt like I was sucking air through a straw and my legs were burning.  I really just wanted everyone to leave me along to my misery. But to their credit both Kurt and Tyler would drift back on occasion. Check on me. And then leave me to it.

As we finished the climbs (Thank God). I was absolutely convinced that there is no way on this earth that I was going to race this course.  But with a bit of hind sight. Maybe I'll go out there when I'm feeling fresh and give it a second go by myself. Just to see. I'm still pretty sure that I won't be able to hang on those longer climbs. But who knows....

So as we made our way back into town everyone seemed to be pretty glad they went. And even happier that it was over. With a couple months between now and the races. Hopefully we will be able to go back out under nicer circumstances and give it another go. I know I'd like to...

Rubber side down,

Big E

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