Monday night's group ride went well, for the most part. It was me, Rich and Glen, and then a new person - Rachel. She hadn't ridden much on roads yet, or maybe even in general yet. So when I got there Rich told me we'd probably only do 20 miles. Not to mention Rich's 400 miles in 4 days trip is this weekend, so he wasn't interested in doing anything too crazy obviously. However, after we were discussing what routes to do, we netted out on the same route that I did with them the first time: up the bike trail, getting off in South Lebanon and then going on a rolling mogul on the other side of the river, then back down the bike trail from Morrow. This is about 33 miles. I was interested in how this would feel since I had done it before.
We started out from the store, in some very heavy traffic to get to the trail by Arrowhead apartments. There was some sprinting involved in order to beat traffic and lights - fun! Once on the trail, we cruised along at an easy pace. I chatted with Rich a little bit. He was pointing out different wildflowers that grow along the trail and are coming into bloom right now.
There was a lot of traffic on the trail. After all it was 75º and sunny after a wet rainy weekend. I learned some more pack-riding terms. I think slipping in was one, when you're riding two up and one person has to slip behind the leader, therefor the person behind has to let them slip in. And Rich would usually say bike left when there was oncoming bike traffic.
When we got to the Powder Factory, jokes were made about the last ride and me waiting at the Powder Factory in the dark. I said "there's my bench!" referring to the bench I sat on for a long time. And Glen said "what? I didn't see a bench!" referring to how when they picked me up it was pitch black. We laughed some more about that ride evening.
At South Lebanon, we assessed how Rachel was feeling. She said she was good. She was nervous about going on the roads with the traffic though. This road didn't have too much traffic last time, but you never know. Glen explained to her the hill drop and to just stay with whoever was in front so we weren't all too spread out. Rich explained we'd get up around 30 mph. For me, that was what worried me about her - it's a little startling to be going that fast all of the sudden and hold your line next to the road if you aren't expecting it. So I was hoping she didn't hit her breaks or anything with Glen behind her. Then we were off. The little hill that you climb before the decent was nothing this time! I can't believe I thought it was a hill at all the first time!
We plunged down the hill and it was awesome! I think I topped out around 31 mph. We kept moving around 19 - 20 mph. We got to an intersection where we could go back across a bridge and get back on the trail and assessed how Rachel was doing. She said she could go on, so we did. Glen explained drafting to her. She was second at this point, behind Rich. Then me then Glen. Before I knew it we were done with the road section and ready to get back onto the bike trail. That was it? That was cake! I was pleasantly surprised/shocked at how easy it was. I guess the hilly 35 mile ride really helped for my legs to have some perspective of what hills and climbs are!
Back on the trail, we stopped in Morrow for Rachel to use the bathroom at an ice cream shop. Then when we started out again, but just feet down the road had to stop. Rachel had a flat. No problem - we pulled over to the old rail road depot station... except she didn't have a tube. And her bike is miniature, smaller than mine. I offered my tube before realizing her tire is a 600 while mine is a 700. So she called her inlaws who live in Lebanon to pick her up, and after making sure it was ok and exchanging some cell phone numbers, we left her at the ice cream shop. Aww. Later she called Rich to confirm she was picked up and said she'd be back in two weeks, and with a tube! Lucky her, just had to wait at an ice cream store... much better than a bench beside the powder factory in the dark! lol Many more jokes were made about Rich and his curse of dropping riders on rides.
So it was just the three of us on the way back. I thought maybe we'd go a little faster on the way home, but we didn't really. There were a few sprints to get around people which was fun. Glen can really move on the bike. Since I was always behind them, when they'd take off I had to really work to catch up, so that kept it interesting. Glen and I chatted a little about triathlons. He's probably going to do Caesar's Creek. I was trying to talk him into doing the Tri for Joe as a practice one. It appears he and I might be about the same running pace. But he probably rides in the mid-twenties for those races. I'm very very curious what I'll be able to pull off for the bike portion of the Tri for Joe.
It was almost a little boring coming back down the trail. I much prefer the ride we did that I bonked on that was out in the country on the rolling, curvy hills. But it was a great ride! The only bad thing was my stomach started hurting around mile 7, kind of similar to the night I bonked. I definitely had eaten enough food. I'm not sure what was going on. I kept trying to straighten up a little, thinking maybe the hunched over position was causing it. In a way, I'm glad it was such an easy ride because I'm afraid if I had to push myself maybe it would have gotten worse? I don't know - need to figure this out though.
When we got back to the store, Rich insisted on the three of us having our picture taken. He bugged someone sitting outside of Starbucks to snap of photo of us for a newsletter that he has to do for the store. When I get the photo from him, I'll post it here.
So - it was a great ride. 33 miles like that is nothing now, which really surprised me, pleasantly. I'm really looking forward to another hill ride, and maybe ramping up the distance into the 40s!
The sky was very neat looking when I got home. Big clouds moving in and the wind picked up quite a bit.