it was a decent outing. i thought it would be a lot colder than it actually was. it took some doing before i was able to establish blood flow back to my fingers but the temp was far milder than forecasted. the only thing i really noticed was the wind which was pretty hard to cut through at times.
i actually got to ride for a couple of hours yesterday following a half-day at work. while my co-workers took a field trip to catch the opening of cloverfield, i had asphalt field in mind. i did my normal short loop and stayed in the small ring the whole way trying to remind my legs the spin i once had. i think that’s the first thing to go and last thing to come back if you don’t train regularly. i can still mash and grind in spurts when i need to but that suppleness i once enjoyed seems like a distant memory. and i really really miss it.
so i thought i would small ring it the whole way today. if i want to pedal circles again, i have to start somewhere and it’s better late than never. i did stick to my plan in the first half. the pace was moderate and i spun in the lowest gear i possible could without getting gapped. even when bernie took off on the ibm hill, i made sure not to instigate a chase too early wanting to stay in my 39xsomething without having to spin my ass off.
actually i didn’t realize the solo attacker was bernie until way later. if you guys don’t know bernie, here’s my favorite story. about 3 years ago on the long ride, i saw bernie pull from the last hill on 22 all the way to the end of the ride. and i mean all. the. way. think about that for a second. yea, he’s a manimal.
thankfully he was behaving much more civil today, only dangling a hundred yards in front us. at one point he was joined by another rider who bridged across to him but we managed to pull them back before the situation got serious.
when bernie was caught on the base of the picket fence climb, i countered and threw in a little small-ring attack to see if i can draw out few people interested in forming a breakaway but nothing really materialized. from there on, we rode ‘compacto’ the whole way.
in the first sprint i was trying to set up will and things were going pretty well. bernie was pulling, will was right on his tail and i was tailing will calling audibles. we had a small gap and i thought we had the sprint bagged until 3-4 riders swarmed us without me noticing. when i yelled at will to jump it was already too late. i had botched a perfect setup for will by not looking one more time in the last 50 meters. shit.
even more disgraceful was the last sprint where i *almost* botched it again with the same setup and the same 3 people! this time i was the one at the front stringing out the pack. we created a small gap again. when i started to stall on the top of the last hump, bernie swung through with will on his tail. i was utterly popped and almost forgot to notice someone had jumped behind me and now closing fast on the duo. “left! left!” this time i relayed the call to will just in time that he could grab the guy’s wheel and beat him at the line. it would’ve been pretty embarrassing if i botched twice on the same day.
we had ourselves a true tempo ride today. it was all good. good weather (a bit windy at times), the road was dry, and the pace was well maintained. it could’ve been a “great” ride if we had few more people willing to share the work, but i really can’t complain much.
despite having hamean and stiggy on the ride, the only person to take a chance on an early solo flyer was pedro. he headed out into the wind and hung on for a while. we weren’t chasing him down that hard. instead a bunch of folks got to the front and tried to organize a paceline. when it was working, it worked beautifully. will, akin, myself and maybe 2-3 other guys found the right rhythm and rotated with pretty good precision.
the only trouble was the constant gaps that opened up just behind the 5-6 guys working at the front. i don’t really mind people hitching a free ride on the train, but i really wish they will at least keep the gaps from opening unnecessarily. a couple of times i had to encourage them to stay on the wheels.
cliff set a smart tempo for us on the picket fence and the double-whammy was also climbed at a pace that most folks were comfortable with.
after the first sprint (will took this like he was on a sunday stroll) i felt like i had enough gas left in the tank to think about attacking. tentatively i thought about having a go on the con ed hill unless a better opportunity presented itself.
that guy on cannondale took the descent into rye train station pretty hard and created a 10 second gap. when he realized he had some daylight behind him, he just kept going. after staying on clarence’s wheel while he chased, i attacked and bridge across to him on the con ed hill - sort of like the plan i had in mind. i didn’t know how strong he was and i didn’t want to regret playing tactics with him and getting caught, so i just put my nose down and went as hard as i could for as long as i could.
i only turned around to take a peek when we were on the first hump. it was that guy on the cannondale, hammean, and clarence i think. i was pretty pleased with how long i was able to stay away so i eased off and rolled in with the pack who caught me with 50 meters to go.
i’m trying to remember the last time i had to take off a layer before the ride started and i can’t. so there i was stripping in public (again) when i was greeted by some familiar faces. first, pedro rolled up. there goes my prediction that we weren’t going to see him again on the g-ride for the next 5 or 6 years. his wife and the baby are both doing well and he took the opportunity to sneak out the house. there’s so much to learn from this guy.
then manny (aka juan, aka manuel, aka juan-manuel) showed up with a dozen+ representatives from toga. it was so nice to see him again. it was the first time since “the” accident. i gave him a huge bear hug - but not in that prison movie kind of way. he looked really good. he said he’s about 60% back. i will debunk this later.
the regular ride ended up being very similar to the last week’s. ryan kicked things off by turning the screw on 22 and i sat near the front watching when the train will form and when to get on it.
when will jumped with 4-5 toga boys in tow, there was no question it was the right time to go. the first split ended up being about 10 guys. about 3 guys from toga did most of the pace-setting work. i was convinced they were setting up something for their team mates and just kept an eye on things. but i was way off. they were just looking for a hard ride, nothing tactical. still the pace was unbearable at times for this has-been weekend warrior and i started to struggle to hold the wheel in front of me.
things got really bad on the double-whammy. a climb where i could always manage to hang on to just about anyone was now turning into a moment of suck-it-up or get shelled out the back. i was heavily leaning towards the latter when will encouraged me to stay on his wheel. a very kind gesture and a clear sign that toga boys weren’t interested in shattering the breakaway group.
just before the first sprint, the chasing group caught us and now the leading pack had ballooned to about 25 riders. i feared things weren’t going to slow down any time soon and just tried to hide and skip pulls like my life depended on it. on the other hand, manny “i’m only about 60%” jumped out of the saddle to bag the first sprint. i caught up to him and asked him to to redo his math :-)
after we rolled into rye, will jumped near the poggio and got a 10 second gap. toga boys, who’s been fantastical all day, were again exemplary. they weren’t blocking but they weren’t exactly flat out chasing down their own team mate either. it was up to the rest of us to chase him down. and we did. that tall guy on a seven, who put his nose into the wind alll day, did a really nice job of coming through and closing him down with 2k remaining.
i was definitely popped by this point. actually i’ve been popped for the whole 2nd half of the ride but i still wanted to lead out. i got a chance when the pack slowed down at the top of the first hump. hoping that either will or clarence would be on my wheels, i jumped into the valley.
as soon as i made my jump, i knew that wasn’t going to cut it. you know the feeling… like you’re pushing your bike with your shoulders rather than pedaling it forward. but the effort was good enough to build a 20 meter gap on the rest. will came around me in the last 50 meters to win the sprint. the guy wasn’t even breathing hard. manny finished 3rd few yards behind me. it looked like he took pity on me and hit the brakes just before i crossed the line.
“UCI said it plans to conduct 7000 out-of-competition tests in 2008 - 6000 more than were taken last year, and therefore placing an increased burden on its whereabouts system.”—uci biological passport taking shape
“My first problem was that I abandoned myself and so I had to draw a stopping point. From that point I had to restart my life because I believe that as a successful man with a family and two children I needed to have the capacity to find the right way. There is nothing that I have done that is irreparable. So I said to myself, ‘starting tomorrow I’m changing.”—basso
it was a pretty messy ride. the weather, the way we rode, and the tempers (including yours truly) that flared… it was just kind of annoying. but then again… i feel funny about complaining as long as we get to ride and no one gets hurt.
rob took off on the picket fence and we never brought him back. it was impressive. and will took the final sprint from mr. green jersey.
thanks to bunch of guys who took pulls and tried really hard to organize a chase. the fact that we couldn’t paceline for more than 10 seconds is no reflection on your honest efforts today.
and a special cool-guy award for pedro who stayed back to help out the teach when he flatted at the reservoir.