Monday, July 13, 2009

Remember to Ask "How Far"

I rode the Three Rivers Festival Bike Tour yesterday, and since it is the closest organized ride to home, I thought I could get in my 5th century of the year. I rode very little last week on vacation, and the pain in my thighs pretty much disappeared. So I figured I would be good to go.

I felt so good at the beginning that I averaged just over 17 mph for the first 18 miles riding by myself. After drinking a full bottle of water at the first sag stop, I quickly resumed the ride. Soon after I left the sag stop, three other "old" guys caught me and told me to ride with them. I did, and we averaged a little over 20 mph for the next 19 miles. I took my turn pulling at the front, and I felt proud knowing that I could keep up with these guys and actually help them out as well.

At the next sag stop, they informed me they were only doing the 50 mile ride, and they had only 12 miles to return to the start point. D'oh! I should have asked how far they were going before I joined their pack!

I rode the next 30 miles pretty much by myself, although another well-respected "old guy" in the community known for his riding abilities caught me a mile after the second sag stop. I decided I would ride with him, and after talking to him a little while, found out he is the brother of a fellow I work with. Anyway, it wasn't long before I realize I can't average 23+ mph for very long - maybe for 3 miles. In addition, we got into the hilly portion of the ride.

I was able to respectably limp into the 3rd sag stop, which was the same as the second, so the thought that I could be back to my truck in only 12 miles quickly flashed through my mind. For some reason, the idea of mowing the lawn seemed like a good thing to do, especially since we had been gone all week on vacation. Mowing is always near the bottom of my list of priorities, but at that moment I actually believed that quitting 20 miles early to go home and mow would be especially sweet.

When I left the sag stop, my bike automatically turned left toward the truck instead of turning right to continue the ride. I drank a beer at the starting point with a friend of mine and I came home and instead of getting out the mower, I turned the Tour de France on VS and promptly fell asleep.

Needless to say, the lawn still isn't mowed, and now I realize that blogging is higher priority than mowing. Since I've now exhausted the other remaining priorities, I guess I should get out the mower.

Maybe I could take a short bike ride first. My new Schwinn would be especially sweet to ride now...

Happy riding!


331 Miles said...

That's one of the things I love about cycling. Finding others with similar skills and goals, and working together. Great post!

rlove2bike said...

Centuries and MPH averages...Sounds as though you have been hitting hard this year. Good for you.

Big Oak said...

Thanks guys for the encouragement. Years ago I used to do triathlons and trained all the time, always worried about trying to do better than my last time. Now I am having fun just riding, although I still get frustrated when I am not riding as fast as I should. I'm trying really hard to let go of that notion. My goal is to lose weight and get back in shape without ruining the fun by competing with myself. I still find myself trying to ride faster than other people near me.

Mike J said...

I would take the TdF over mowing any day. Great job on your ride.