This organized ride thing is so different from racing. We had a 'rolling start time', there was no pressure or nerves, everything was laid back. There was no grand beginning or end. It was actually kind of nice. There were a various distances to choose from. 15, 30, 44, 62 and 100. Dad was doing the 30 and Steph and I were heading out on the 62. She's from Texas. She has ridden all of ONE time in CT / New England... uh, two days ago. It's a little hillier (she would argue 'mountainous') here than it is in Texas. We set out and I was prepared to do whatever she wanted to do. If she wanted to suffer through the entire 62 miles of hills I was going to be right there with her.
We went over the Hudson River on a foot bridge. We had to go really slow because it was a FOOT bridge with a good deal of foot traffic, but I guess that's good because it made us take in the scenery.
|Dad and I.|
|The view of Poughkeepsie.|
|Steph and I.|
We got to the 17ish mile mark and we were coming up on decision time. I could tell the hills were wiping her out a bit, but I stood firm that it was up to her. She opted for the 30 miler. I think it was a good choice. She is just getting into cycling... and has zero experience climbing true hills, er mountains, and she didn't need to kill herself over ONE ride.
I decided to finish up the 62 mile ride. I need to get my butt in gear w/ this training thing ... because I guess I am technically training. Off I went. At first I thought I wasn't going to see another soul then I started passing a guy here and a guy there. I passed one guy (an older guy) on a hill as he was taking a shot block or something. He grabbed my back wheel as I went by. I had intended to try some pacing on this ride as I usually blow myself to pieces on the bike, and I'm not exactly distance fit right now. I also didn't have a ton of fuel with me ... you know the kind you need for BLOW YOUR QUADS to SMITHEREENS riding. Anyway, so this guy grabs my wheel and all of a sudden I feel compelled to kick it into high gear. I'm torn as to whether or not it was my pride feeling like I had to prove to this guy that I do in fact have some skills and fitness or being kind of irritated that he just grabbed on.
Either way I took off.. though I did follow my plan to take the climbs easy then kick it in on the flats and descents (working my strengths). And when I would slow down a bit thinking either he would take a turn or just pass me he would just slow down and hang back there ... SERIOUSLY! I know at this point I did get irritated. Did this guy think he was just going to ride my wheel for 44 miles? I came to the first available rest stop on this 62 mile section and had planned on blowing by all the stops, but hoped this guy would keep going. So I pulled off to grab some DELICIOUS beef jerky (really.. I always wondered who the hell eats beef jerky on a ride, but it was good). Wheel sucker cheater dude continued on to find another chick wheel to suck and I was able to get barrings as to how much further I had to go. Note: I tried to drop the guy, but couldn't. Tom said he needs to teach me to use power in the out of the saddle climb. He said it's good to give a little look back about 3/4 up the hill and then take off. He's got more skills than I.
So off I go to finish it up. I was cruisin' along by myself happy to not have some solitude to ride my own ride w/o the pressure of feeling like I needed to maintain a certain pace. (though I have no clue what that pace was as I had no computer.) At about 15 miles out I ended up being taken over by three older roadie dudes. We chatted a bit and when they set a pace line this time I grabbed the last wheel. I wanted to hurry back to meet the family and knew it would get done faster if I got with them. I FULLY INTENDED TO TAKE MY TURN PULLING IF THEY WOULD LET ME! They were finishing up the century ride, but were looking strong. Frankly after looking at their back sides and legs for a bit before seeing their faces I was shocked at their age. First thought: Gotta get the hubs back on the bike so he can 1. still be doing it at that age and 2. so he's still looking that good at that age.
Anyway, I rode in line with the guys and it was so fun. Not only did I feel like a rock star rolling as the only chic w/ the dudes (cause I like to pretend I'm a badass every now and then) it was so much more fun than riding by myself. It's such a different ride to ride a pace line than it is to ride alone. You have to be more aware.. no mind wandering. And pulling is HARD WORK! The first time I pulled we went almost immediately into a hill...not the best for me. I had been doing okay keeping up with them on the hills (yes, I was proud) and thought maybe I be able to suffer through enough without slowing down too much, but the group broke almost at the top and someone else pulled ahead. Bummer. When the front guy came back to get behind I tried to let him in, but he said, "you took your turn you should stay in".... barely took a turn, but I guess it counts. Later in the ride the group broke on some back roads for a little break and I waited a while than took off (nice long flat ahead) and hoped they would catch my wheel. They did and I got to do a nice long pull almost to the end. Felt good to lead (though I was surprising nervous and had no idea as to pace bc I had no computer). I was glad they let me. I was thinking they might pull the 'dad' thing and try to carry me the whole way because I am a girl and am young enough to be their daughter.
When I came in... I'd say to the finish, but it was just kinda.. done. Anyway. I saw part of the family standing on the stairs and headed toward them. Mom yelled that I needed to get my Tshirt. I said, 'yeah, I will." she said, "Now." What? Okay. So over I went and Jason and Lily handed me my t-shirt.
|the Kids volunteering.|
|Best Coconut water EVER!|
After I got my shirt and we stooged around waiting for Jason and Lily's shift to end I strolled around the 'uh, expo' and found Zico Coconut water booth. I was a bit dehydrated and wanted some nice cold coconut water. They had this new chocolate flavor and I was haggling the woman saying it couldn't really be that good. I mean chocolate WATER? Really? She said it was good and told me to try it if I didn't like it I didn't have to drink it. OMG! It is SO damn good!!!! I mean really. It's nice and creamy! Apparently they put coconut cream in there. It does have a little bit of sugar, but it is minuscule compared to your standard (hfcs) chocolate milk. She said it was a new flavor. You better believe I'll be stalking the shelves at my local grocer and requesting it until it arrives.
I had a great time with Steph and dad. They both did a great job on the New England hills. Steph shows great promise as a cyclist. Hopefully she'll find some more people to ride with at home to keep honing those skills! I was impressed with her drive to just get out there and see what she could do. She didn't let the hills intimidate her and she didn't let them take the wind out of her sail. She just kept going. She took breaks as she needed and kept plugging along. Great job Cous!