There are days when that’s true and then days when that’s complete bullshit. Today was one of those days when all the variables lines up to have a perfect ride save for the fact that you’re way under-trained.
The kids are back in school and I have no 9-5. The weather is beautiful. No humidity, incinerating heat and not a cloud in the sky. Today could’ve been epic. I ride up to The Bikery in Montclair to join a group ride. The race season is at a close and come this time in the year most road racers have shot their respective loads and peaked. You won’t hear Ligget or Sherwin use that last diddy. A few Cat “this’” and Cat “thats’” show up. I look around the field and instantly know that my ass is going to be handed to me; repeatedly. My road fitness has taken a turn for the worse. My trail fitness on the other hand is pretty darned good having had an off year. The problem was that we weren’t riding off road today. I was already adequately lubed up, so I decided to give it a shot.
Before we even got to the open roads the pace was high. These guys had shot their loads, but still had some spirit left. Our heading was northwest. I hate that direction leaving the Montclair vicinity. It means roads that go up. I wasn’t in the mood for such chicanery, but like I always say, “Leave it alone if it ain’t Patron and also if you want to ride, you have to be prepared for whatever and then gut-out whatever else is up the road”.
We zipped out of Fairfield and eventually made our way up to Denville. We humped two walls to get there. One of which, I had to stop, which really upset me. I’ve been on Waughaw Rd before and handled it fine. Not today. The spirit was willing, but this time the mind was handily dealt with by the matter.
I never truly recovered. This ride, I was that guy that everyone had to wait for. That sucked. I fought to hold wheels, but then had to set those wheels free. That also sucked. Now I’m out in the country without a wheel to pace and not truly knowing where I was. By the time I regrouped, it was time to hit it again. No rest for the weary.
We balled that jack on rt 46. The plan was to steadily hit it at 35mph. I looked around to see that I was only one who found that idea humorous. As advertised, the pace was near 35. I held a steady 27. Do the math. I saw asses in the distance as the gap grew. I spun my way back to a decent state of recovery and attempted to bridge. I knew better, but gave it a shot anyway. The locomotive on that paceline is one of our mechanics who happens to be pure horsepower. I rode in damage control until we got back to civilization. Great ride, and a reminder to me that this sport will eat you alive, if you don’t stay on your game.