26 Mar Spring Training Rides, The Etiquite of Strangers, Enzo’s Embro (what?!)
Since Sunday’s forecast was lots of rain, we decided to do our long training ride on Saturday. I sent the e-mail invitations to the team and a select group of riders, knowing all the players are tough nut seasoned racers, being solid when fatigued. The temps were going to rise into the low 50’s by midday with the start of the ride close to 30F. As anyone who rides in this part of the country will tell you, dressing for these temps can be difficult. You are either warm at the start of the ride, while over heating at the end, or cold for the first hour and perfect later in the day. Choosing cold in the beginning worked out nicely, not having an overload of cloths in my jersey pockets. The plan was to head north to Lake Geneva about 32 miles, stop at the LG starbucks, coffee up, and smash each other on the way home. The bonus of this ride is the loop around the lake, about 20 miles of hilly terrain that connects back to the 32 mile route home. The 84 miles always seem to wear on a group with this much power.
On the ride up we faced the Northwest hurting crosswind making the paceline quite nice. We only lost one a few miles from the starbucks, as the hills started and the up-tempo. This was the only rider in the group that had not done his homework this winter. Credit to him for hanging as long as he did, as we will not disclose his name. He agreed to skip the loop around the lake and head back south after drinking the caffeine. Once again Bob was dragging his feet, the root of his glacial pace is only buying cold drinks creating a spike in his forehead when drinking quickly. Pushing the group to leave the comfort of this stop quickly, we roll out looking forward to our future, the happiness of training to race and suffering together. We are messed up perceiving pain and suffering as enjoyment.
Rolling up the 1/2 mile hill out of town I set a comfy pace. I know this because the group was still talking, this pace is short lived as Ryan hits the base of the next steep hill attacking the group. Watching from the back no response by any of the boys, that means gas on for the old guy going hard as I bridge. Any of you that have been on Ryan’s wheel know what I am talking about, for you numbers guys/gals, the SRM file recorded a 34 second avg. of 613w. Small potato’s for some, very hard for a 144lb.52 year old, as my HR was through the roof. Cresting the top the kid sees me and says wow where did you come from slowing slightly, I say that was really hard keeping the gas on. Now some would think this is foolish, but I had the kid in difficulty which rarely happens so I throw the, I feel better than I really do card at him, trying to make him think, dam the old guy is hurting me. Laughter. We stay away for 5 minutes, the boys catch and we are back at it. Ahhhh places to hide as I find big Tom Doughty politely pushing one of the new guys off his wheel and take the prime real estate. Now we are rolling along, the talking is over and the pace is slightly uncomfortable, nice. I see a rider coming the other direction and we exchange hello’s and I see him looking like he is going to flip, and he does. He is a local racer that rides for another team and decides he is going to join the ride. Does not ask, just jumps into the rotation, but when gets to the front takes the short pull and drops back into 3rd wheel. Now I am not a fan of this guy’s riding/racing style, having watched his shenanigans in the past. I decide to not say a word, suspecting he has no idea about the etiquette of jumping in a ride you are not part of. As I try to recover from a hard pull Bob Karlow is at the front pushing the pace, Bob has only been riding outside for a week, as he pulls off the uninvited rider turns up the pace for 30 seconds and Bob goes out the back. I now go to the front to return the favor and plan on breaking this guy, but guess what he does. He says I have to go see you later and turns off. We keep the gas on for the last 4 miles until our neutral zone and wait for Bob.
The moral of the story is, etiquette when joining up with a ride is simple. Manors and respect first, use a few kind words and you will be accepted in most any group. Use any other method and it can be received as arrogance, lack of respect, or selfishness!
We are all together now, we have a quick photo shoot and are on our way. Of course we have a cross wind that is a head wind at times, awesome, only 35 miles of this. We have a nice rotation going though after about 15 miles we are loosing 1 guy from the rotation every 3-5 miles.
I do not mind since applying the first batch of Enzo’s embrocation, which has pleasantly warmed the old legs, enabling me to keep driving the pace with Big Tom. I laugh because the two oldest guys in the group are doing the majority of the work in the closing miles. Now I know the payback that the kids will give us later in the season will hurt and I look forward to that.
The fact is now the old guys have the bragging rights and will quietly enjoy the advantage.
Back at the barn, everyone is safe and quite satisfied with the effort today. Good thing we changed the ride to Saturday because the weather Sunday was for the ducks, not bike racers. Until the next post, keep laughing and clean with ButtonHole Chamois Crème. A cute little plug.