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Friday, September 30, 2011

Finally Took The Sprint

Yesterday I rode with the Firstone & Summit group. We did a modified version of the Super 8 since the days are getting shorter. I rode 2nd wheel for much of the ride doing a few pulls along the way. Coming down Spanish on the approach to Maygarden I was 2nd wheel. Bob Graves pulled off after turning on to Maygarden. I pulled for about 500-600 meters then pulled off. The pace increased. Doesn't it always after I take a pull? Several people took pulls and I hung on to the back. With about 300 meters to go riders were speeding up and positioning. With about 150 meters to go I saw an opening on the inside, so I took it. With around 100 meters to go I went by the other riders and then poured on the sprint. I couldn't believe it; everyone just seemed to stand still and let me go. It is almost as if I took them by surprise and then once they saw me it was took late.

Yea, I'm pretty stocked about it. My first sprint win. I almost thought I had it if I could only be present for the sprint. I usually get dropped way before the sprint; so I've never really been there. I got to enjoy the win while I can. There is no telling how long it will be before I get that opportunity again.

Tomorrow is the Lillian loop which is one of my favorite rides. It is going to be chilly in the morning and a lot of wind. No doubt there is going to be some suffering.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nice Ride to Hurst Hammick

This week end the Firestone & Summit group did the Hurst Hammick ride. It was a very nice ride with lots of tempo.

My son had come home for a wedding. We were able to get two rides in together including this one. I enjoy riding with my son very much; in fact he is my favorite person to ride with. He tried to take a 5k flyer off the front at the end. He almost made it; he was caught 25 meters from the finish. As Bob Graves put it; "there was just too much horse power in the peloton". When my son and I rode home from the finish I decided to make a jump on Scenic Highway. To my surprise, my son didn't catch me. Sometimes all you have to do is put a little distance between yourself and those behind you. I bet he won't let me do that again.

The Pensacola Classic was weekend before last. There were lots of racers and competition. I heard there were almost twice as many racers as the year before. I had really wanted to do the race. I had been planning on it for almost a year. But, I didn't do it. I've been out of town a lot; therefor I haven't been riding as much as I would like. Plus I've been having lots of skin cancer cut off lately. I just wasn't feeling it and decided I would let some one else have the privilege of paying to come in last. That being said, I'm already looking forward to next year.

Speaking of next year, it seems strange to me that here it is the end of September and for many of us the racing season has come to an end. It seems to early to me to be thinking that way. But, the track racing is now over. I enjoyed the track a lot and I do plan to do it again next year. I just got to figure out how to train for that over the winter. We do have some more cycling events coming up, but those are just rides, not races.

There is still lots of good weather ahead for some awesome riding. Fall is actually my favorite time of year. If I can just get work figured out, then I can get in some more really great rides this year.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Got to Ride When You Can

This morning the Firestone Group ride was scheduled to leave Fish and Wildlife at 7am. At 6:20 I get an email saying the ride was pushed back to start at 8am with a shorter course yet to be determined. You see, we have a tropical storm going on and it's been raining. There was to be a lull in the storm between 8 and 12; then stormy weather for several days to come.

I really wasn't feeling it. The streets were wet and the trees were dancing in the wind. None the less, after another email I was encouraged to suit up and meet other brave souls.

I had woken up with a song in my head, Girl From Ipanema that stayed in my head for the first hour of the ride much of which was with a tailwind. At the break it started to rain. So we got to practice riding in the rain. On one corner turning off of 10 Mile Rd onto Foxrun my rear wheel slipped a little, but no spill. I felt like I was suffering the whole ride and was relieved to finish with the group; they did wait up for me a couple of times; thanks guys.

The point is that we had to take advantage of the lull to get a ride in. It might be days before the group gets to ride again. It will be a week for me because I have some responsibilities to take care of that are going to keep me off the bike for a week. No, the weather was not perfect and we still got rained on, but the rain wasn't a hard rain. This afternoon it has really been raining and blowing hard. So I'm thankful I got a bike ride in today even if I did suffer a little. Lord knows I needed it.

I had something similar happen to me this past Wednesday evening. The group ride started at 5:30pm. I usually try to ride about 10 miles before the group ride to warm up. Well, I was busy working. I didn't get up from my desk until 6pm. I almost talked myself out of riding. It was a bit windy; I was tired; I wasn't feeling it. Well, I went for a solo ride anyway and I'm glad that I did. Riding helps settle my mind and it is the only form of exercise that I get. Again, I rode when I could. It wasn't the work out I had planned on, but it was nice to be on the bike.

With the Pensacola Classic coming up I'm still on the fence as to whether to race or not. I know that I should, but I'm not in the form I had hoped to be in. The last few rides have been hard for me. I have my doubts that I can be anywhere close to being competitive in the races. It's just not where I saw myself, but that is where I find myself; life ... well you know, it doesn't always cooperate the way we wish it would. More than likely I will race. Maybe I should say I will ride. To race one should be competitive.

It's kind of sad in a way. I'm already thinking about the end of the 2011 season and thinking about 2012. I'm hoping next year will be my breakout year. I'm feeling strong and confident. I just don't have the fitness right now. Sadness and disappointment aside, it has been a great year of bicycle riding for me this year and I have really enjoyed all the group rides, solo rides, riding with my son, riding on the track, and riding with my wife.

So fellow cyclist, enjoy that bike ride when you get the chance. You will most certainly be glad that you did.