09 January, 2011

First Group Ride of 2011

Sunday morning finds me with snow falling as I walk to my mailbox to get the Sunday Ed. of the New York Times. Yea! It's going to be an indoor kind of day(s) with the highs 'til Wednesday going to be in the teens (minuses for Celsius). I'll probably get on my rollers and ride it for exactly one hour. Speaking of which, I got in my first group ride of 2011 yesterday!

The Hour of Power aka the hour I first believed. Unfortunately, for me, it was neither amazing nor graceful. No, the amazing part is that I managed to stay with the first group. As usual I was nervous rolling out with the group. It was a small group so that meant I might have to take a pull or something; but there were enough hammeroids up front that I thankfully didn't have to. But I wouldda if we were gonna bust a rotating paceline...

Again as usual, the wind was a bugga-bear in the morning. As we were turning left into Waterton Canyon, I took it early and felt the full blast of the wind on my body and said to myself, self you better tuck yourself back into the peloton if you expect to survive. Saw the usual suspects. The ones I could gauge my fitness against. My only fear was this is shaping up to be such a mild winter all the other cyclists are putting in tons of miles (hence me riding rollers today) with the exception of me.

I arrived early and probably the most important pre-shit-on-your-neighbor-ride preparation (especially for my advancing years) is my warmup. Not just lolly-gagging around 30 minutes prior but doing it in a constructive manner that facilitates some sweating (prime movers warming up) and elevation of heart rate in such a way that the heart doesn't migrate up to your throat.

Everybody rolls out chilly-chill and we chat. I talk to Dean-O and Alex from the Subaru team. We usually end up racing against each other in the early season races. He's fairly beastly. Has the morphology of trackie. In fact, there's quite a bit of Subaru riders in the pack, a couple of Vitamin Cottage Masters guys (me included I suppose), and a junior rider from the Garmin-Transitions development team-Greg (whom I ended up talking to during our return trip to Chatfield-nice young man with quite the cardiovascular system apparently).

People start getting their drawers all bunched up at the right turn that leads us to the climb before Arrowhead Golf Course. Yesterday though, they got all jiggy on the little riser before the right turn. Since I motorpace (off the back) I start seeing the rider(s) in front of me start to fade and get gap'd so the other tailgunners, we go around 'em like a reverse parting of the Red Sea. At the actual climb again just a few riders peel off and again the reverse Red Sea parting continues. The last final push before our turn around sees me going in reverse and I say I need to change my 23 toofer into a 25 bailout gear sometime when the season starts. At the turnaround the leaders wait and that gives me an opportunity to see who made the cut. Some of the unusual suspects got dropped so that makes my (lack of) fitness appropriation satisfying for early season. I guess by now there's a dozen and change of us left.

The downhill back to Chatfield is big ring, spinning exercise. I swear people like to go with their hair on fire for this. People get dropped on these downhill sections but that was not my case today. Tucked in nicely but I was spinning like a fiend to stay in the slipstream. There are some stout rollers in the park and after the momentum of the downhill starts to recede, these same hammeroids get out the saddle and march their 53x12s out-of-the-saddle to get over the last 200m or so of the uphill and yo-yo-ing of the back of the pack begins. Instead of keeping my position up the climb, I let the slipstream drag me up on the right hand side. I pass people that'a way and I'm still seated albeit spinning some big gears. Saves energy. That's how I ran into the 16 year-old Greg the junior. I was passing him and commented for a young 'un he's hanging tough. After exchanging names and pleasantries, the wind changed to a side wind and off we go to different positions in the pack, echeloning towards Chatfield.

The sprint to the imaginary finish line (it's actually a yellow sign on the right hand side of the road) wasn't quite as cut-throaty (as in normal races). Dave highlighted his teammate burying his face in his handlebars on the far left side of the road and everybody pops out of their saddle (it looks like popcorn popping, very funny and visually unusual) to chase him down and launch attacks of their own but the majority of pack settles down and slowly we chase all the breakaways and I end up spinning the big gear seated until the finish line. Yea! First group ride bagged and I finish upright. I did notice though I had a rear tire flat. Thought I felt like I was doing a bunch of work for nothing once I entered the park.

It was from my roller workouts squaring off the rear tire making it super sticky for road debris to weasel their way through my tire's threadbare casing. Once I got back to my truck I placed the once-rear tire now as the front and vice-versa; but breaking the bead was about a beeyatch! Once I replaced and pumped both tires to 80 psi (I didn't bring my floor pump) from my frame pump, I was pooped out. So me and my pooped out self tacked on a climb up Deer Creek but thankfully the roads were so wet and semi-frozen my tiredness said you better turn around before you crash due to lack of traction (up or downhill).

Burned about 1400 calories, so boys and girls I do believe there's a doughnut waiting for me in my immediate future.

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