Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tuesday A ride: Hard and Hilly

Wow, am I ever wasted!! It was a hard ride but easy at the same time. It was not race pace but it was still pretty exhausting. It was the last of the A rides from my house as I now need to begin getting used to a later time. In June I will be spending Tuesdays working at the Dr’s office counseling and caring for the barriatric patients that come thought eh office. Ruth’s ride will be where I can get to by 5:30 PM. 3:30 PM was certainly nice but it’s over. L

I had outlined a Barkhamsted loop which is my staple for my hilly rides. Bob Johnson opted for a different ride….. When will I LEARN???? J

Jim Sullivan, Joe Korzenecki, I and Bob J went out and headed for General Knox Rd. This is a stair step climb of a bout a mile that goes from an easy 2-4 % grade at times to near 11%. We all settled into a rhythm and it began t set the score for the day. Bob, Me, Jim and Joe. Bob would launch at the last bit of the hill to the very top and separate from me…just to show he could…..AND he CAN. Ouch! I would try to at least make him work. Jim would usually come up after, and then followed by Joe.

We finished General Knox Rd, labeled this because history says that it was part of the path traveled BY General Knox on his march to deliver the cannons to Boston during the revolutionary war. Legend has it that a cannon from the march is lost somewhere in the woods. I doubt anyone could tell it apart from an iron deposit at this point. We took a left and headed up Rt 23 to Blandford center. It is UP. We actually kept a tame pace and everyone was civil…until the final chopper. Bob launched into it and I followed which set up a gap the Joe and Jim. It hurt…but it was cool. I know Bob has to hurt to get rid of me and in MY twisted mind that makes it kind of worth the pain.

We got onto Chester Rd and headed for Rt 20. Once there we watered up at some rusty pipe sticking out from the side of a mountain. (Don’t ask, I worry now I have some type of poisoning but the more….worldly… of our crew said it was safe….Uhuh) From here we headed for Middle field Rd and began the three and a half mile climb to Skyline Trail Rd. Just say UP with small reprieves mixed in. Bob was in front…surprised? Then Jim, then Me, then Joe. Jim found his rhythm sooner then I did and had the advantage that he had done this hill before. I had not except for DOWN it about 5 years before. Note to self: DOWN is not UP…Big difference. As the hill progressed I was able to get it together and slowly reel Jim in. I was also watching Bob ahead and seeing how he was dealing with each section. When you ride with someone enough you get to now what they do in comparison to what you know you can do. I know that Bob can stand and ‘jam’ a hill or chopper (short steep hill) about as long as I can. So as I clawed my way up to Jim I was actually watching Bob knowing that sections would get easier. I punched around Jim and told him good work. He was right on my wheel and then dropped off just a bit. What an amazing climb in fitness these past two weeks. As I have said before…very soon I will be thanking HIM for the wheel and the tow to the top of the climb. WE eventually caught up with Bob on Skyline and waited to regroup. We had dodged the rain thus far and we held out hope for the rest of the ride.

On Skyline Bob and I played games. On Sunday we had joked that it “isn’t a hill if you can ride it in your Big Ring”. Bob comes by us on this steep but short chopper saying this very phrase while riding his big ring!!! Damn, Here I am spinning and taking it easy in my small chain ring! Damn! I slow, on a hill, and put it to my big ring. How childish, right? I’m a 41 year old man on a pedal bike riding a ton of miles…..I AM a child at heart!!! Well let me tell you that was not a deposit into the ‘smart rider’ account. It hurt to start from almost a stop, on a chopper that hard, and drop it into the big ring and catch up to Bob. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! But I loved it! J I didn’t quite catch him but I stayed with him and he knew I was there so it made it worth it.

We screamed down the 4-6 miles from Skyline down into Huntington. From here we meandered over to Carrington Rd and Headed for Montgomery. Joe peeled off as he had had enough but Jim and Bob wanted to really do it up and come back wrecked. I was up for anything and sure as heck wasn’t going to be the whiner and say I had enough. We climbed Montgomery Rd, another hill I have only done down in the last 5 years. (See note to self above) It was epic and hard. Again Jim and I battled it out for second place. I think Jim started out in front and I caught him but he was able to get back to me after I passed or stayed with me. Whatever, he worked hard and we came up to Bob together.

We screamed down the many mile descent toward Wyben, a small suburb of Westfield. At this point, on level roads, I heard Mike Norton’s voice. “End rides hard like they were a race.” Knowing this was the real last good straight and level area I amped it up between 27 and 30 MPH in areas. Bob kept it up and then Jim did as well. We all worked hard at the end to take it in like racers.

We dropped Bob off on the road to his house and Jim and I ran out of luck. It poured! I mean it poured hard! Rain was so hard it was difficult to see with glasses on. I had to bit an ear piece and hold them in my mouth for 2-3 miles while I road home. The bike needs some TLC after getting so wet but I learned an epic new ride and got in about 60 miles with 5000+ feet of climbing. I had to race to meet my wife for dinner where I had too many glasses of wine, but the food and company was outstanding. The end to a perfect workout and day, great ride with great friends, great meal with great family and some outstanding red vintages. Who could ask for more?

No comments: