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Monday, March 6, 2017

The Geezer Ride...

...was a local group ride I learned about a couple weeks ago from Nick down at ReGroup.  He said it was fun, kinda fast, kinda slow....depending on what they were hitting....and pretty laid-back.  I found it online, signed up for the messages and forgot it.  Til Friday night when I remembered.  I had to be over to the meeting spot by 8:30....LATE by AZ standards.   Which are NOT my standards by the way.  7:30 to 8 is perfect for me...in a town that most people want to roll by 5:30 AM year-round.  Maybe by summer, I'll be there.

Anyways, my wake-up call wasn't just my alarm but my gut telling me I had too much drunken fun the night before.  Two beers at Vines & Hops, a couple glasses of wine at Chelsea's with friends, a few more glasses (two bottles between the four of us) at LGO.  I ate as much as I could but I still woke up hurting.  I knew a good hard spin would clear the shit outta my blood...but how long would it take?

Well, it wasn't immediately.  I pedaled over and was SHOCKED at how many people rolled in.  Some were def'ly permanent residents, others just winter-time visitors.  We sat there for a bit but soon we were out and rolling.

Around the golf course, onto Doubletree.  It wasn't fast but it wasn't slow...or unpredictable so much.  Everyone rode with good space, made hand signals...seemed cool.

Through a ton of stoplights, I'm sitting mid-pack and doing "okay" - stomach wasn't making noise and my legs felt alright.  Somewhere after the 4th or 5th light, I'm on the far right, coming up through the pack....no faster than anyone else really....when the dude to my left, older fella...seemed to know everyone, decides to stand AND look left at the same time.  He's ON my shoulder now, I hear him exclaim, "OHHHH!" and his weight is pushing me right....towards the curb.  I stiffen and lean a bit myself to the left.  I can feel him wobbling a bit but he's not screaming anymore.  I stay on the pedals and soon he's gone.

I wouldn't see him again the ENTIRE ride.

I make my way further up, settle in and close gaps as I have to.  We're on Mountain View and the pace is ramping up.  The group has whittled down from about 40-50 to about 20 or so in the front.  I'll settle in and then have to bridge.  It's wearing me out, too....but I do it for a bit until I realize we are in a single-file paceline and going pretty hard....for me.  My heart rate is JACKED UP.  I can tell I don't have it yet.  I peel off, the gap closes quickly as I was only 4 or 5 from the back of a dwindling pack of 15 maybe.  I jump on and fall in behind Jeff Goldblum's doppleganger.  I rattle off, "I just don't have THAT"....but he is expressionless.  Enh.  Foreign?  Numb?  Whatever.

He falters a bit and I settle into motoring.  Still in Zone 4 but manageable.  We reach the left turn and he's beside me.  I fall onto his wheel....and I don't remember how it happened after.  I know when we passed 124th I was anxious to latch onto some group 'cause I didn't know this way.  I settle in with a scattered pack of about 8 riders, none of which seem to be trying too hard.  The road angles down and I motor.  I woulda bridged the gap too but when I come around a corner across from a yard sale, a car is sitting IN THE MIDDLE of the road.  Brake a little, go wide and I'm fine...but the momentum is GONE!

Now everyone is in sight so I'm less about bridging and just about surviving the Via Linda climb.  Soon I'm settled in with two older guys, one with a Wilier & Di2 in a Napa Valley jersey and another small guy in a Geezer's jersey.  We all kinda pace off each other...or close to each other.  Napa insists on riding in the lead...but unexpectedly just sits up twice maybe.  I go around, lead for a bit before he's coming around again.  He seems frustrated like he should be better on this day.  I feel his pain.  I'm pretty sure I must smell as much like a wine barrel as I look.

Hit Via Linda proper and I'm done.  I settle into a Zone 2 pace....and lumber up the hill.  Make the top just as the regulars (all 15-20 now) are rolling out.  The descent is quick but we weave over to Desert Cove.

And that was the moment the wine was gone!  From here on out, I had LEGS.  I don't ATTACK the climb but I let my legs do what they want.  I don't even glance at my erratic-acting heart rate and I just spin.  I'm at the top quicker than expected, feeling good.  Even still, one older fella would just stand and motor by two or three times as he checked on people.

Up to Via Linda again and the pace LIT UP!  It's a rolling downhill and Jeff Goldblum's doppleganger is HAMMERING the front with now 6-7 behind, me included.  As we pass one older guy just cruising, I "think" I recognize him from the earlier "bump".  I slow to apologize and he has NO clue what I'm talking about.

Old White People.  They all look the same.

I sprint and try to latch onto the ever-growing front group.  I get there....just in time to stop at the light.  From here it was semi- time trial from light to light back into the Gainey Ranch area.  I split off with about 4 more, figuring I'll go get some climbing in.

Feeling a bit dejected with myself, I wonder will I go back.  It was FUN, definitely a challenge but I wasn't sure how I fit with the crowd.  I definitely wasn't the fastest but I wasn't always at my limit either (after my bloodstream cleared).  As we make our way, the Jeff Goldblum doppleganger comes up and thanks me for the long pull we shared.  Really cool.  As I peel off on Mockingbird, the older guy who kept passing me on Desert Cove hollars, "Nice riding, young man!"  I thank him....and go in search of climbs feeling good about this group.

Later.

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