what’s really nice about starting the day with heavy legs is you have lowered sense of expectation of what’s achievable. so anything beyond that feels like gravy on your biscuit. such was the sensation throughout the day.
despite having rolled my legs to submission the previous night using a foam roller (or as i call it “the bitch device that makes a grown man cry”) my legs felt like they were going to snap off at the knees at any moment.
the roll-out was pretty interesting however. i hear there were bunch of pro’s on the ride today. among them was someone named jeff who will be riding tour of california this year. i was unable to figure out what team he’s on. maybe kelly or bissell?
then john b. went down in hartsdale while putting on his gloves. fortunately he wasn’t hurt seriously but there will be hell to pay if his wife ever finds out. i told him to tell his wife that scrapes on his hand were just blisters from pushing sox up the climbs all day. i hope she’ll buy it.
on the ride, jesse kicked us off with a solo break up the ibm hill. robert soon followed and they were off in a quick hurry. the condition was windy enough that i thought, if we just keep them in our sight, we could bring them back if we worked together. now i know that’s a big “if” but it never hurts to dream big and keep hope alive.
the paceline over the bedford rd. section was simply laughable. it was the same story. too many people sitting at the front without pulling through, surges without a cause, etc. still few of us just kept at it. steve, will, wayne and that guy on cervelo were instrumental in keeping things going and filling up the gaps left behind by people who were unwilling or simply did not know how to rotate through.
when we finally caught them on picket fence*, 4-5 riders took a flyer again over the top. all but robert and jesse dropped off eventually and got reabsorbed by the pack which by now was a bit more efficient at pacelining. by purchase jesse had been gapped but he was still bravely hanging on in the no man’s land. it was painful to watch him trying to stay ahead of the pack for like 10 minutes. i am sure it felt far longer and harder than that for him.
we caught jesse and rob in quick succession just before the first sprint and now we were all together again coming into rye. i thought about leading out for will but wasn’t really sure if my legs would respond. then, jesse, once again, drilled it up the poggio with few guys in tow. he couldn’t sustain his effort but the move created a promising last minute break including rob and will. will actually went straight through rob and he was now trying to hang on to a 15 second lead over the first hump. but soon it appeared he was struggling and looked like he was going to get caught before the sprint so i jumped. it was a pathetic 25mph 53x15 effort into the headwind but why not give it a shot, right? i passed will and tried to grind it out for few more yards.
then something pretty amazing… will was coming around me again. i don’t know where he found the energy to make a second jump like that but he came around 4-5 other guys sprinting to the line to cross the line first. that was pretty impressive. he did that new fancy danny’s cycles team kit proud. and i got to say i ended up leading out for will after all - no matter how unintentional.
* correction: jesse was not caught on the climb. he was actually still ahead of us when rob attacked and bridged across to jesse.
it was either riding for few hours or watching fargo at home under the cozy cover of my blanket. i made the wrong decision. quick question… medically speaking, is it okay chug a bottle of whiskey and cut off your toes with a plyer?
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.