Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1st Road Ride

I met up with 20 or so riders from my HammerinWheels group for a 31 mile road ride on Halloween morning, and the weather was just perfect for the 9:00 AM start and noon-ish finish. I got there a little early and had time to catch up with a few of the riders I hadn't seen in awhile.

FF&FF crew getting their Halloween on!

While we were forming up, and listening to our ride leader give instructions, my other bike group, Feisty Fun & Frisky Fitness showed up with a small group of fast riders to do a ride of their own. Later, at the end of the ride our mtb HammerinWheels group showed up with 3 dozen riders for a nice mtb ride along Folsom Lake at Granite Bay. It really was just the perfect day for a bicycle ride!

Lourdes giving instructions - back from the chiropractor and bike shop after her fall on Wednesday

The first part of the ride was fairly flat, and ended with a long stay at a coffee shop and nursery where, along with our 23 bikes, there were bikes from 3-4 other groups. I looked around the parking lot and realized there were $100k in bikes gracing the parking lot. The sun was out in force as we filled the back patio while munching on pastries and sipping excellent coffee.

I was out front watching the bikes with a few others of our group, when a couple came out with a very friendly dog. I just couldn't help myself, so I took a knee (the calf was really burning after that) and was rewarded by a few friendly licks. I had a great chat with the owners while Lourdes snapped this pic, and I remembered how much I missed my Sheltie dogs.

Puppy love

With my right leg folded under me I could feel the lump that runs across the width of my calf where I tore it, and it did complain a bit by the end, but also seemed to stretch it out nicely.

D31 Granite Bay to Indian Hill loop -REAL Slow Poke's Edition

As you can see from the ride profile below, there is a substantial three mile climb of about 7% going up Indian Hill. We stopped for a breather at Flyers gas station in Newcastle for a few minutes before climbing it, and starting out after the break my calf was hurting, so I resolved to take it easy up the climb.

That lasted until about half way up the hill, when a group of 8-10 riders passed our slower group up front. I protested that I had just been 'chicked', and hit the gas. I jumped on the back and proceeded to reel them in, one by one. Even limits have their limits!

I had tried to chase down my friend Fred on the major climb of the first leg of this ride, hadn't made much progress, and didn't make much progress on this climb until the grade flattened out towards the top. He's lost at least 35lbs this year, and I had gained about 8lbs over the 6 weeks off the bike healing up. It made for a great challenge though. I really enjoyed it.

Fred had trouble with his coffee, but he's an excellent ride leader and a good friend. Kudos on the -35lbs dude!

By this time I was at the front of the pack with 4-5 other riders and we started down the back side of Indian Hill and onto a long shallow decline on Auburn Folsom Rd - which has excellent surface and nice shoulders. Have I mentioned I go downhill like a rocket? :D I passed all but one rider just working my tuck while they pedaled away. I took great delight in passing Fred, pedaling like mad while I cruised by in a tight tuck. We jockeyed back and forth a bit on some rollers before I had to brake hard for a light.

The light changed just as I was coming to a stop, so with Fred 50 ft behind me, I spun through the gears until my Garmin said 41mph - which I later confirmed meant I was turning 135 rpms. Man, that HURT! I have been having cadence issues since returning from the calf injury, and that high rotation speed really hurt. I think it did me a lot of good though, as my cadence came a lot easier the rest of the ride home.

Tim, a big rider new to me, was out front, and I tucked in behind and coasted a good part of the way, moving off to one side or the other to slow down and keeping a clear view of the road ahead while down in the aerobars, careful not to risk a collision with his back wheel as there are no brakes on the aerobars.

The "Timinator" at Flyers, before the big climb

We had a blast, Tim out front, a rider loosely behind me (who I thought was Fred until we got back to the parking lot) blasting downhill at 21-25 mph with spikes above 30. When the road got technical I moved my hands to the drops, worked the gears, and stayed vigilant, but mostly I focused on being nice and smooth and maintaining a nice 3-5ft gap. One of the hidden advantages of aerobars is how little work you add for the guy you're drafting off of. I don't think Tim could even tell whether I was tucked in tight or out wide 5 feet back.

One of the riders asked me how long we had been waiting when the main group arrived. I think it was 21 minutes. Whatever it was I thoroughly enjoyed that last 9 miles at a blistering pace on very smooth surface. I am also very happy with my progress in rehabilitating my calf tear - I really didn't know what to expect - and was happy I not only completed the ride, but at the front of the pack.


Lourdes said...

This is really a recovery or noodling ride for me. A good excuse to go to the Flower Farm. One of my favorite routes to introduce a new hill rider to some new climbs in the area. Thus, the sweep. Glad you liked it!

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

and youuuurrrr BACK!! Love the post and the added pictures only help complete it. So glad that you are on the bike again. I know you sure are :))

Grey Beard said...

It sounds like you and Fred are ready to explore EDH and Green Valley Rd. A nice start would be the Fish Hatchery up Iron Pt, Green Valley then returning Bass Lake and back over EDH on Wilson.

Robin. It sure felt good to be out in fresh air riding with friends again. It's really hard sitting on the sidelines watching the world go by without you.