Monday, August 3, 2009

Go the extra mile

Even if it’s just because you took a wrong turn. :) More on that later.

Like last Sunday, I decided to get in extra miles before meeting up with the Thorns and Roses for the Sunday group ride. “The Plan” was to head out at 6:30, get in an easy 16 miles and have a couple of minutes to recover in the Caribou Coffee parking lot before heading out again. So much for plans!

Actually everything was on schedule until I realized at 6:28 that I didn’t have my gloves. On short rides I don’t worry too much about them but knowing it was a long day I really wanted to find. After 5 minutes of searching and no gloves I decided I better get moving if I wanted to stick to the plan.

I ended up rolling out of the Garage at 6:35. I still wasn’t worried because with fresh legs I knew I could make up the five minutes over 16 miles. Once I got into the “country”, which only takes a few minutes in Western Cary I was feeling pretty good. A deer was grazing next to the road, then a few hundred feet further one trotted across my path; not too close, but close enough to get a really good view. I thought about stopping for a photo but then remembered that I was just barely going to make the start of the group ride. By the way, someone needs to come up with an easy way to carry a camera on a bike.

A few miles after the deer spotting I came to Green Level Church Rd. and couldn’t remember which way to go! I tried recalling a picture of the map I pulled the night before but the details just weren’t clear enough. I chose left. After a 100 feet or so I was treated to an awesome downhill at near 40 mph and then a nice climb back up. When I got to the top the map in my head suddenly cleared I realized I needed to go the other way in order to make the 16 mile loop. After repeating the hill in the opposite direction I was on my way again. This route is basically a large loop into Western Wake county and back to within two miles of the house. Of course now I’m really cutting it close after the wrong turn.

It was 7:28 and I still had to get across Hwy 55, Davis Dr and finally to Cary Parkway where the group meets. I knew they usually ran a little late in starting so there was still a chance to catch them. I put it in “high gear” and flew down High House. I pulled into the parking lot at 7:35 and at first thought for sure that I had missed them, but then I saw them gather up on the other side of a large SUV. I made it!! But they were all mounted up and pulling out as I pulled up. I had time for a U-turn and then just had to get in line. I was SOOOO glad I brought a third bottle of water!!

Luckily the group starts with a warm-up through Prestonwood neighborhood at about 12 to 17 mph so I could get my legs back after the sprint to the coffee shop.

After a few miles the group ended up on Carpenter UpChurch (road where Green Hope High is) and at the end is a sprint to an imaginary line. This week I was ready for it but the veterans still got the jump on me. I was able to pass one of them though and came in a close second. That made up for the stress of the first 15 miles.

The makeup of the group this week proved to be more difficult than normal. Usually we have 3 paces called the Thorns, Stems and Roses. Thorns go to races on the weekends and think nothing of riding 70 miles a day, Stems want to Thorns, but are hard pressed to keep up and Roses ride for the scenery, although a few move up to Stems and Thorns as the weeks go by. Well this week there was 1 rose, 2 stems and 5 thorns. I’m really with the Stem group, but can keep up with thorns most of the time. Since we really didn’t have a Stems group I road with the Thorns while the other Stem road with the Roses.

Other than riding a little faster than normal, with a few extra attacks, the rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. We did go through a “squirrel crossing” and had a flat later in the ride.

The group leader ends up posting the details of the main ride on their blog so I’ll let you get the rest of the story from there: .

By the end of the ride, with the wrong turn and few extra miles in the group ride, I ended up with 51 miles at an average pace of 17.6 mph. If you’ve kept up with my posting you might notice that’s the farthest AND fastest in 3 weeks!!

See you on road!

- Dwight.

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