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Saturday, July 26, 2008
So, I participated in my first bike rally last night at the 24 Hours of Booty Cancer benefit ride. We started out at 7pm with about 1100 cyclists - we were somewhere in the middle of the pack. It wasn't Le Tour, but having people cheer you on when they don't really know you but are happy for what you are doing was very rewarding.
The loop was 2.97 miles and started out with a fifty foot decent over about a half mile and then a seventy foot climb over the next 2/3 mile. At first the climb didn't seem that bad, but every lap that hill took more and more out of me. By the end of my night's ride, I was in a very low gear but able to keep a reasonable cadence.
The loop then turned to a flat for about 1.5 miles of so then a hard right into a downhill for about half a mile or so then turning up hill again to the start-finish line.
In our first ride, I was able to finish seven laps for 20 miles in about 1 hour and 20 minutes. I averaged 14.5 miles per hour and had a max speed of 28 mph. I was lapped in the first three laps of the rally as there were some serious cyclists and cycle teams on the course. It was my first time riding in a group ride as such, so I didn't know exactly when to say "On Your Left," in fact I never said it once although there were plenty of times it was said to me. I wasn't sure if people were saying that to me to remind me of how slow I was, at least relative to them, or if they were speaking from experience of having wrecked before. Either way, I didn't get passed by everyone. By the fifth lap I was lapping other people, so that made me feel a bit better about my ride.
Having finished the first 20 miles, we stopped and grabbed a bite to eat and a few minutes rest. Around 10pm we saddled up again for the second 20 mile leg. Riding at night was an experience that often made me nervous but I am glad to report that I didn't wreck nor did I wreck anyone else. However, as soon as we started the legs immediately started to scream on the first assent, but I turned the first lap in 11 minutes and was able to get the legs going for the second and third laps. At the end of the fourth lap, unfortunately, I had to stop for a breather.
Two things influenced the decision. First, given that the most I had ever ridden in a day was 20 miles last Sunday, I was getting tired after thirty miles. Second, my bike needs to be tweaked because of significant pain in my elbow tendons and in my thumb joints - to the point where I cannot easily squeeze my water bottle and definitely can't do it safely while riding.
After a five or six minute blow, I started the fifth lap with hopes of finishing the run while taking it a little more easy on the big climb. Midway through the sixth lap there was a point when I asked whether I should stop or continue. Funny enough friend John T. had recently pointed out that you can go further than you think you can if you can overcome the mental aspect of the ride. Thus, I told myself to finish the run so that I could say I had done two twenty-mile runs.
The seventh and final lap was a grind, but I got through it and felt good at the end of the run.
After a couple of beers, I knew I was done. My two teammates decided to stick around and ride another 20 miles after daybreak, but I decided to come home instead.
Overall, 40 miles in about 2:45 for an average 14.5 miles per hour.
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