I went on a bike ride last weekend. A road ride. A long one. At least long for this time of year. I'm still tired.
It was cold that day. Not as cold as today, but cold for bike riding. And I was not, as they say, on my game.
In fact, I wasn't "in" the game at all in that I could have easily been left behind. More than once. Many times more than once. In fact, it was my preference to be left behind a few times.
There were only eight of us to start. We rolled away from the meeting point on the lower south hill, made our way through Vinegar Flats and started up Thorpe Road. I was "there" at the bottom, and then I started drifting back. I am well over the weight that I can keep up with fit guys on hills. My best hope is to be the slowest guy in the fast group. I have a ways to go to get there this year.
As we the inclined increased, my "power" was doing less for me and my "strength to weight" became the dominant factor. I and one other guy trailed off. For some reason I kept feeling like I couldn't get a full breath; like my lungs were stopping at 75% full. It didn't help at all.
The other guy and I bobbed a bit and then dropped off. I guess I was lucky in that I was close enough that I was in sight and could catch up whenever it leveled a bit. The other guy trailed off far enough that he was completely out of sight down a road with a long sight line. The etiquette in those situations is tough. Some rides are clearly "no drop". Others are clearly "every man for himself". Some rides are big enough that the group naturally breaks up into a couple of groups with different expectations of distance and speed. In this case, no one had said "no drop" but it was small enough that it leaned that way. I was still huffing and puffing up to and into the group when the speed picked up again. We were definitely close enough to town and lots of well-known roads that I think the collective wisdom was the the guy trailed off was okay on his own and it would just be disheartening to try to keep the group together with 5 miles down and 30 to go. I wish I had realized better and just dropped off myself.
Instead I had a couple of friends who kept an eye on me and kept making sure that I was "with" the group. When I did get my ass handed to me again and fell back, one or both of them would slow the group a bit, drift back, and draft me back to the pack. I didn't know whether to be grateful or resentful a couple of times, but they kept helping, I kept trying and eventually I made it through a lot of wind, over Betz Road, into Cheney and held on for a very fast trip back to Spokane.
I know that it is those rides that will make it easier and more possible to keep up later in the year, but I was hurting. And I'm still tired. Five days later.
Single Speed Dad