18 January, 2009

amante today

it was supposed to be in the 50's today. how cool is that for weather in colorado in the middle of january? i met at chip's and off we go to amante. it seemed like every other cycling team in boulder had coinciding start times and rendezvous point: amante. it almost felt like the beginning of the first bike race of the season where competitors past catch-up and eyeball each other to see if they've gained any weight over the off-season and for some friendly banter.

there, i met my old college buddy who moved out to boulder after i did. his name's andy and when i raced for texas he raced for baylor; and from that point forward, we became friends. now he's a daddy and still loves to race the road bike. since chip was also in that cycling community from back in the day he also remembered him. he races for another team called rocky mounts. they're a bike rack manufacturer. i think they make trays and wheel forks compatible to both thule and yakima.
so off we go with no formal route planned out (maybe a carbon copy of last week's ride: a fruitloop and the estes climb), just mosey down the road, in a double paceline. after several miles on 36, the group ride from gateway pass us on the left. we soon incorporated our pack of six with their pack of at least 30. we were flying down the road and my goal was to not take an immediate pull because i needed to save myself for the return trip where everybody likes to go as if their hair's on fire.
i ask ross-whom i just recently learned is a cat 1-where this group's going and he said to carter lake. carter lake's a 65 mile round trip, but somebody said we did closer to 75 (this is after the fact mind you). from carter lake the hardcores go into estes park. at the light in lyons, we usually go left but the pack was so large and our little group was buried right in the middle-a righty instead-so it's off to carter lake we go. chip actually made it right outside carter lake entrance. good job. it was definitely tempo pace. what makes this ride interesting are the stiff crosswinds out and back, the push up the moderate elevation gain into the lake as if it were the world championships, and the shit-on-your-neighbor mentally for the return trip (i love it though, that's why i race-or try).
after you make the left into the little housing area you can see the zig-zaggy uphill switchbacks. it's a pretty stout, short-ish climb so all the billy goats and general badasses get to the front and apply some fierce wattage to their pedals. maybe it's a three mile climb but the winds always make the survivors lump into echelons at the top. i tried to hang with the lead climbers but lost contact after the first switchback. from there it was climb within my limit-pace. once we reach one of the plateau's to the summit, i hit the back of a pack and i'm content to sit and begin the mental break of settling in. all of a sudden andy taps me on my left hip and he's drilling the big ring. soon the rest of our vitamin cottage three team kinda coalesced so it's off to the races (to catch the leaders). we had a pretty sweet rotating paceline going with andy, rich, kenny, jim, and me snarfing up the flotsam from the lead group's accelerations. at the top the leaders wait for the rest of us. so i fire off this picture.

the downhill's pretty safe and our regrouped pack heads on down the road again. after a while we (vitamin cottage) realized that we missed our turn to head back into boulder. the rest of the group's heading off for more climbing, destination: estes park. kenny, rich, jim, and me (after following 'em for a couple'a miles) pull a u-turn and head back-maybe that's what put us to 75 miles total. it's just us four pacelining back to boulder when we see a lone rider. we invite him to sit in and get out of the wind because we're friendly like that. up ahead at an intersection we see a group of riders splintered from the original group turn in front of us. rich says let's catch 'em so we all punch it forming a quick, rotating paceline where, temporarily, the lead guy pulls off and eases the watts right after he passes the second-to-last guy. unfortunately we drop the guy we just picked up due to the sense of urgency this acceleration brought on. lo and behold we're on the back of this group.
this new group's setting a pretty fast pace too. there's this itty-bitty hill on the way back that cracks me. the cramps introduce themselves to both my legs and i'm off the back ugly. kenny drops back-being the good guy, teammate, fit dude to pace me back on. it's all good too but the pace now starts dropping people so this big group's now whittled down to the fast(er) riders. i was impressed by the emergence of kenny and rich's form.
they're up front taking monster pulls and jim is drilling it too. jim's a 45 year-old master rider who's getting 300 mile weeks. unheard of. i barely got those kind of miles when i was a single dude attending university. what happens next is i do my thomas voekler impersonation yo-yo'ing off the back and doing the missing man formation so as to notify the paceline drop-offs i'm not participating in the rotation. i'm dying at this point so my teammates being the good stellar guys they are drop back and protect me from the sidewinds. after i get a break we see that we're about a kilometer from the group we fell off (they must've eased just a bit) and they ask me if i can hang on if they up the pace. i say yes so we're marching the big ring again. i actually participate in the rotations this time. as luck would have it they get stopped at a light; but the red light's not very long so we're 10 car lengths back when they go then the light turns red. rich and i run the red and rich says, hang on. he takes this humongous pull and we're back on along with kenny and jim. with about ten miles left i'm truly cooked and i remark to kenny again on how his and rich's form is really coming along today.
in fact instead of steroids, i see this on their legs (this is actually one of kenny's project car's engine; impressive no?).

kenny drops back to ride slow with me to boulder. we both remark on how painful our arses are due to a long day in the saddle for the first time this year. like i mentioned previously, when it was all said and done we probably did 75-80 miles in 3h and 30 mins. not blazingly fast but respectable for so early in the season. i ate three energy bars during this session and ran out of water. i need more dietary supplementation in my water bottles i think. back in boulder, kenny stops at spruce confections-a local bakery with decent coffee and organic snacks in order for us to increase our glycemic indices. i get a soda pop and he gets a latte with a spiffy design on top of the creme and a cookie. i snap this picture of him talking to another gearhead about his new 15 large (yes $15,000) transmission he just recently installed on his 400+ horsepowered porsche 914.

time to capture dem free radicals...

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