Yesterday's Resolution Ride was every thing I thought it would be, and more! I left the house (on bike) as 6:30 AM to get to the Nob Hill Starbucks (the designated meeting point). When I left the house, the thermometer was 33 degrees F. Start time was 7:30 AM, so leaving a little early would give me some time to warm up while waiting for the group.
The other day, I changed my tires to Armadillo's, which are kevlar wheels. They weigh a ton and ride like crap. But, they don't go flat, which is something you don't want to deal with in cold weather. The ride down was frigid. I was hardly awake because I went to bed the night before at 11:30. The whole ride down I kept asking myself why I was doing this ride. It was too cold and too early.
Once at Starbucks, I warmed myself by the fire while waiting for the others to show. Eventually, 14 riders (including myself) set-off for the Resolution Ride. What a way to ring in the new year!
For the first hour, people rode just hard enough to stay warm. My Armadillo tires are extremely heavy and don't roll worth a darn. I noticed my heart rate a bit higher than I wanted it to be. We stopped in Los Lunas to use the rest room and top off on drinks and food. After a few brief minutes, the group rolled off without any warning. I had to scramble to get my gloves, hat, helmet, glasses on, finish chewing my food and jump on the bike to try to catch the group. They already had a significant jump on me. I had to kill myself to catch the group. I looked at my heart rate and it was 175 BPM. What the heck!
Off we went along Highway 6 and it was a fairly moderate pace. After 20 miles, we stopped for a pee break. I decided to take advantage of the break because I was sitting on a full bladder. Being bundled up, it took some time to get myself in a position where I could pee. While mid stream, the pack takes off again at a full clip. Not Again! I rushed to finish the job--something people shouldn't rush. I haphazzardly got my clothes on again and jumped on my bike. It was with another great effort that I rejoined the pack. I checked the heart rate monitor; 176 beats per minute. What's going on here?!
We continued down Highway 6 until we got to a small store (that was incidentally closed on New Year's Day) just before the rode converges with Interstate 40. We stopped and started to shed clothes as it was getting warmer. We ate and relieved ourselves of excess bladder pressure.
Sure enough, the group took off again at full speed leaving me and two others to fight to catch back on. Same story, it was a hard effort to catch back on, my heart rate was much higher than I wanted it to be at this time of year of for this distance of a ride. WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE!
By this point, I was very upset with the group. It wasn't like I was dilly-dallying. There was even a word uttered: Hey Let's Go! Nothing. It was look up, and realize they were half way down the road.
We turned on to I-40 and headed back to town. At this point the pace went up signicantly. I was struggling to hang on. I noticed the group had already split up and the group behind was gradually falling behind. I shouted, "Hey we're splitting up the group!" No response...heads down, cranks mashing. Finally, I cracked and came off the group. My heart rate was 182. I was beginning to feel the beginning pangs of a bonk. I was drenched with sweat. I was annoyed with the group I was riding with. No longer than 2 months prior, I'd riden the same route and was flying. It had been nearly a month after my IronMan that I'd get back on the bike, and, Now, my fitness was at the bottom. I was flat.
I rode at a moderate pace to let my HR drop. The group behind caught me and motored past without even saying a word.
At this point, I resolved to not ride with this particular group anymore. It wasn't any fun. There were too many egos competing. It was Jan.1, and the group was riding like it was their most important race. I felt like I was not part of the group; I'd been left 3 different times at stops, dropped off the back without a single concern, and it wasn't fun. Then it dawned on me...this is exactly how road racing is. It's like being a new kid at school and never fitting in. No matter how hard you train or how fast you race, you're nobody. You may have a good race, and people might want you around breifly, but it's only briefly. It's just not fun.
As I rode, I noticed the group was waiting while someone fixed the flat. I just kept riding. I stopped at Rt. 66 gas station and grabbed some water and took off. The group had caught up as I was leaving. No one said a word. I figured they'd catch me coming up 9 mile hill, but I never saw them again.
I rode the rest of the way home at a comfortable pace. When I got home, I had 120 miles. I was tired and hungry. I ate some food, cleaned myself up, took a little rest, and met the family at the movies and watched BedTime Stories with Adam Sandler. It was good. It was fun.
I don't know if I'll ever do the Resolution Ride again...it doesn't really fit in to my training plan. I've done it more out of tradition than anything else.