**As an aside, the amazing thing to watch was this player they just brought up from the Triple-A league. His name is John Bowker and it was only his SECOND day in the major leagues. In his SECOND day he became the first San Francisco Giant to have back-to-back homeruns in his first two games. He also managed to add a run-scoring single and a sacrifice fly that helped the Giants take the lead and in the end, beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-4. Truly amazing to watch! Also, for any non-Giants/baseball fans reading, you should know that the Giants were slated to be the worst team in the National League this year. We went to their spring training games and they just plain SUCKED. It was horrible. They've been playing some of their rookies in these early games and seem to be doing alright and holding their own. Fingers crossed it holds up!
Okay, back to the weekend. So Saturday morning my friends Jim and Lee and I met up at Wolf's Coffee in Santa Rosa. Jim and I were planning on doing a 50-60 mile ride and would break off from Lee at some point since he was going longer (he's training for the Terrible Two). Still had no idea where we were going. My legs were DYING. Thursday I had done my track workout which resulted in severely sore hammies. Then Friday I resumed my weekly weight workout session, which resulted in severely sore quads. Mmmmm...great. Still, I was looking VERY forward to this bike ride where the only extra layers were arm warmers and my wind vest.
Turned out we were heading up to Healdsburg and from there out Westside Road (one of my FAVORITES and about 20% of the Vineman Course) and would continue west along River Road out to Guerneville. In Guerneville we stopped for a quick double shot of espresso and water bottle refill. At that point Jim and I decided to head back and we wished Lee well on the rest of his journey.
Now...before I continue...I must make a confession. Lee is training for a VERY difficult ride that is timed and must be done in under 16 hours. I really admire him for the effort he's putting into this and the commitment he's made to following a very strict plan. That said, he has his own agenda when it comes to speed on rides. He's not trying to play "who can get to the top first," he's not trying to 'man-up' when it comes to seeing who can pull for the longest at the fastest pace, and he's not trying to kill himself in the first half of a ride. He's learning how to pace himself properly and get comfortable riding at a pace he can sustain for a long time.
Given that...I have to confess the first part of our ride had me itching to go somewhat faster (we averaged around 17.5 mph for the first two hours up to Guerneville). In particular, I had a very specific twitch...it was that FEELING. The new bike fit absolutely, 100% ROCKS. I felt like I was on a NEW BIKE. I just wanted to GO, GO GO! Especially once we got onto Westside Road...I couldn't help myself. I just had to. The line was Jim, me and Lee. Right as we passed West Dry Creek Road...I pulled out and just let it fly. Mind you, I didn't even kick it into the big ring because I didn't want to be a jerk and just race away. But I decided here I was, on Westside Rd (one of my favorites), sun shining (thinking of all my fellow triathletes in those colder states - Katie, I was riding for you!), green vineyards and hills surrounding me, air feeling so pristine, not a car in sight, thinking of Marit's post about how she remembered feeling so strong and powerful on the bike, and I just had to do it.
A huge smile spread across my face as I felt the power in my legs surge my bike forward, the breeze gently pressing against my face and my legs as I gained speed, and thinking about how amazing it truly feels to be connected with your bike and experience all of the sights, sounds and smells that surround you. I sped along and just kept going. The rollers came and I powered over them, my heart rate leaping higher and higher. I kept pushing. Faster, faster, faster!! I wanted to get into the big ring so badly and just HAMMER it, but I knew I'll have other opportunities. Plenty more weekends to truly punish my already-sore legs.
I rounded a corner after one last push up a tiny grunt, so proud of myself for just being unrelenting and committed, and feeling so GREAT AND STRONG on my bike. There was a winery driveway that I decided to pull over and grab a sip of water while I waited for the guys. I knew they couldn't be too far behind.
But I waited...and waited...and finally realized that something must've happened. As I began to pedal in the opposite direction, there they were, coming around the corner. "Where were you guys?"
Apparently Lee had a very close encounter with the gravel on the ground, and as Jim rode up to see if he was okay, his front tire skidded and his right foot popped out of his pedal and he managed to twist his ankle on the ground. Poor Jim! He's so accident-prone!!
So, now that I'd gotten my fill for a little while, we rode together, though I did manage another breakaway with Jim hanging on for dear life near the end of Westside Road. Jim's comment: "damn, girl! You're a rocket today!" I just smiled. :)
Back to Guerneville. We parted ways and Jim and I took off back on River for about 15 miles or so. Unfortunately, however, by that time it was about 9:30 a.m. and River Road traffic really picks up as the day gets on. We had taken turns pulling about 10-minute pulls, and I made sure that our pace was going to be considerably faster for the way home. For one, I wanted coffee. For two, I was ready to WORK for my coffee to get it sooner. I knew Jim could handle it. On my last pull, I just tucked down and pushed hard. I focused on my strength, the power of my legs and how finally, it wasn't being WASTED! The pedals were receiving the power of each stroke and my bike was moving faster.
After awhile of this, I knew a turn off was coming up that I wanted to take. I pulled to the side to let Jim move up to my side and I said "Jim, I'm ready to get off this traffic-y road!" Before I could tell him what my plan was, he yelled "THAT WAS PULLER-IFIC!!!" Best quote of the day, right there.
We rode on through side roads and endless rows of vineyards, soaking up the glorious sunshine. It was a beautiful morning.
Finally, we made our way back to Wolf's, where I later calculated that our last hour and 15 minutes back from Guerneville averaged about 21 mph. Yes! That was a great feeling. I knew all along my power output wasn't being maximized on my bike and Saturday was truly the first time that I felt the potential of what I can do on this bike. It was an amazing feeling.
(Below is a picture of part our day's route from where we picked up Westside road in Healdsburg out to Guerneville and back to Santa Rosa; for Vineman people, the route from Healdsburg to Guerneville is the reverse direction of about 30% of the Vineman bike course)
Of course, with the more aero-ness of it came a little bit of a sore back. Overall, though, I give the new bike fit an A+!!!
Sunday was a baseball game. Then when I got home I went out for my favorite 8.5 mile loop run - out to a beautiful park called Spring Lake where lots of people take their dogs for walks and families take their babies. It's a nice place to go for a standard shorter weekend run where I can gauge my time and pace fairly well now that I've done it a bunch.
The run hurt quite a bit at first after Saturday's ride, but eventually my mind got over it and the body followed suit.
I'll finish up this post with a GREAT story from the Sunday ride that took place among some of my other group members. This was what David wrote:
As we turned on to Dry Creek Road, my chain started to skip. bummer. Then I heard a loud snap. My chain had split in half and was wrapped around my rear derailer. Bent it to heck. I put the chain in my back pocket and tried to figure out how to get home... Of course none of us had a chain tool so THANKS to Tim, Brian and Chris, we madeit in to Napa. They took turns pushing me for 8 miles! they even pushed me so fast that we passed a group of ladies that passed us when i broke the chain. They kept me rolling at about 15-19 mph the whole way. I owe them all big time. I think we all agreed that I have to take off 8 miles from my ride and they get to split the 8 among themselves...And here was what our friend Chris sent to our list serve this morning (he called it "David's Chainless Adventure")
How david felt while merrily cycling over eight miles on his new ultra modern, incredibly light chainless bike: (make sure to scroll down)
What really happened, and what everyone who passed us saw:
Some choice lines:
- "Blind biker coming through"
- "It was like two angels, who came down from the heavens"
- "I think you are going to have a problem riding that" - Guy at the bike shop- "Do you have a chain tool?" we yelled to a passing cyclist.. "What is a chain tool?" she replied.AHAHAHAHAAHAHA!!
Jim said "Guess the lesson of the day is that we should be carrying a chain tool."
Now that's what I call teamwork. Good job, guys. :D