Tuesday, September 9, 2008

66.6 Sunday

Sunday morning I met the group at South Side for a long bike ride. My plan was to get 70-75 miles and the route looked like it would give us close to that. Annette had ran 13 miles and she was going to bike with Brenda and anyone else that wanted fewer miles at a slower pace. The fast group I was in consisted of Mark N., Bobby, Gary, Curtis, Rock and myself. Bailey joined us for a little while also.

The weather was great for our 9am start. I thought this was going to be a much better ride than the last couple 50 milers I had in the heat. We started out from South Side and headed towards Keo on highway 89. I started out at the lead at just a moderate pace of around 17mph. I really didn't want to push it today but that was going to change. It wasn't a mile before one of the guys comes speeding by me to take the lead. I think it was Mark. Then not to be out done here comes Gary. So that's the way it went. A total hammer fest from the start. We did get a good pace line going for a change and were averaging probably 20-21mph all the way to Furlow. I looked back at one point and I didn't see Bailey. "Where's Bailey?" I started asking. Gary said she would catch up in a few. Another mile and still no Bailey in sight. Well, Curtis being the great guy that he is decided that he was riding back to look for her. We rode on, not backing off much at all and stopped at the store at Furlow to wait on them. Curtis called Gary and said he couldn't find Bailey so I called Annette to see if she was with them. She wasn't. We got to figuring maybe she just turned back and went home. After all, she had done a hard 13-14 mile run.

We waited at the store a little bit for Curtis and then took off. Annette called me back when I was on the road and told me that she had talked to Bailey and that she just went home. I felt bad as she was told that we were going to ride easy and then everyone started hammering. She was tired from the run and got dropped so she just turned around and went home. I don't blame her at all.

Everyone gets dropped but when you do it is not a very fun feeling. Sometimes the pace group is just going so fast that if you fall off the wheel in front of you just a little you are done for and there is no catching back up. I have had it happen to me many times.

So we sped on towards Keo on Hwy. 15. We would take turns pulling and most of the time everyone was right together. We really did some good pace work for a change. I figured we would slow down some so Curtis could catch up but Gary wasn't going to have any of that. Taking turns pulling helped a lot keeping everyone fresh. It's amazing how much easier it is to sit in a pace line and pedal at 20mph than doing it on your own.

We stopped again at about 16-17 miles out. Rock wanted to stretch and Gary was riding his new tri-bike and needed to make some adjustments. This also gave Curtis some time to catch back up to us. Everyone refueled and we could see Curtis coming in the back ground. I started easing forward along with Mark and Bobby. Rock and Gary was still waiting. I had thought they were coming so after about a 1/4 mile I turned around. Finally we were all back in a group and Curtis was back with us. On we went. This was the nice part of the route with little traffic. We actually slowed the pace some and carried on conversations. Most of the time Mark and I were pulling. Curtis came up and rode with us for a few miles then we looked back and Gary and Rock were dropped. Curtis again went back to check on those guys to see what was up. We went on, slowed our pace so they could catch up. Not really sure what was going on but I think Gary was having issues with his bike. Mark, Bobby and I made it to the 25 mile turn around at Keo and waited for the others to catch up.

We ate and drank but still didn't see the others. We got to thinking that maybe they turned around or something. Maybe they had a flat. Who knows. We headed back towards Cabot and figured if they were still coming we would see them on the road soon. About a mile down the road we saw them on the side of the road. Gary was having to adjust his bike again. No flats thank goodness. So the group got back together again. We swapped out pulling among us for several miles and really helped our pace. I guess one time when I was pulling I must have pushed the pace too much because when I looked back it was only Mark and Bobby behind me. We had dropped the others. Mark and I started alternating pulls, 30-60 seconds, then back. Before long we had dropped Bobby. We were doing usually 20-21mph, sometimes more. The road here is flat and usually windy. We had a little wind but nothing too bad and nothing to help us for sure.

As we kept going, I looked back and told Mark that they were gaining on us. I kinda laughed and told him that if they were going to catch us, they were going to pay for it. So we worked it even harder. Drafting and working together like a breakaway from the peleton. That's exactly what it was and it was three against two. I guess they passed Bobby and kept working it trying to catch us because at one point Mark just said "this is futile". "We are done. They are going to catch us and there is nothing we can do about it." That's exactly what happened. After a few minutes of trying to kill ourselves they caught us. From there we kept going and when we crossed 70 we stopped to wait on Bobby. Once we had him back we were off again and decided we were going to stop at the store at Furlow to get more water and ice.

After regrouping, Mark and Bobby said they were splitting off at Oliver Lane and the rest of us would be adding on at Mt Tabor and 321 to take on the hills. Fun fun. Well, as soon as we left the store, Gary, Curtis and Rock dropped me like I was sitting still. For some reason this stretch of road always tests me and I always get dropped here. Not that I was riding slow but once they refueled they had a full head of steam and they were gone. I was still averaging 18-19mph and there were some uphills now. I just figured at that point whatever, If they go on I'll just turn on Mt Tabor and do my thing. Well, when I turned on to Mt Tabor I heard someone call my name. They had stopped on the side of the road and I went right by them. So again, we regrouped. This time Gary said that we were going to drop the pace and do like 17-18. Sounded good to me. Curtis led off and was on the low side of 17. Wasn't long and I passed him to pull a little bit.

I guess I had a burst of energy because I ended up dropping everyone. I slowed down but I guess they were slowing too. I ended up stopping at the church on Mt Tabor and waiting a minute for them to catch up. They didn't stop so i just jumped in the pace line and kept going. Curtis said we should up the pace and pull 30-60 seconds at a time then drop back so we did that all the way to Hwy 31. We stopped there for a minute then worked our way back to 321. This started the hills. But Curtis wanted to play. He challenged Gary to sprint to the next mail box so he could show Rock who was the fastest. Of course Curtis won. The point being on sprints its more about the rider than the bike. They did this two or three times and it was kind of funny. At 60 miles into a ride and they were doing sprints. That doesn't count the 14 miles that they ran early that morning! I tell you, those two guys are animals!

The hills on 321 were not that bad to me and I could have done more mileage. They did hurt, and there was not much working a pace lines on these. Gary made the comment that these hills were just like Ironman Louisville the previous weekend. Curtis had to jump in and say no, these were worse than Louisville! In any case I felt good that I could still make it up and down them.

Final tally for the day ended up being 66.6 miles at just over an 18mph average pace. I felt pretty good afterwards and nothing like I did on our last 50 miler. I think the cooler weather made this a much easier ride plus we really worked the pace lines which would give each of us a little rest. I would like to see everyone adopt a "no drop" policy. I feel really bad that Bailey got dropped and she turned around. It doesn't always have to be a hammer fest.

The Big Dam Bridge 100 will be much different though with hills through 90% of the route. I'd be really happy if I could average 17 on that one but we shall see.

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