Training for Ironman means a 60 mile ride is a short ride. I did my last "long" ride prior to race day yesterday... only 59 miles... HA! Really, though... it seems short. That is a good sign. Averaged 18 mph on a very hilly ride... Mountain Gate, Old Anglers, River Road, Query Mill/Glen Road, Democracy Blvd and then up to Georgia Avenue from the park. Some highlights from the ride...
1. Meeting the "Gang" in Georgetown- Tuan and his IMFL group were there. So was the "A" Team. Chad, Bobby, Patrick, Phil, Eric, Andy, etc. I departed with the A Team and it wasn't long before we were going 27 mph out MacArthur. We were in a paceline and I was definitely expending energy. But, it wasn't as bad as back in May. I was able to hang on all the way out to Glen Echo. There is a stop sign there and as there were a couple of cars, I slowed a little and lost the wheel of the guy in front of me. The guys behind me shot by and I was dropped. I saw them at the one lane bridge again (up ahead) but then they were gone. I managed to catch Laurel going up Old Anglers, which felt good. She hadn't done Mountain Gate. The A Team cut off at Oaklyn and head home so I rode up to the BP and waited for Tuan's group.
2. River Road- Readers of this blog know that I have a love/hate relationship with River Road. It's hilly, has a lot of traffic and wind can affect the ride. But, I've been on the road so much this year, I'm *starting* to get the hang of it. I left with Tuan's group and tried to stay at the rear of the group.. but the pace was too slow and by Norton Road, I went off the front and before long, I couldn't see them behind me any more. There are essentially three hills on the way out River to the "T"... at the top of the second hill, I double back and let the group go by... then I got in the rear again and by the top of hill three, I was third one up the hill. I think there were about 10 IMFL people out there. At the "T", they were intent on going back the way they came, so I bid farewell and headed out Seneca to Esworthy.
3. The Bicycle Place Group-I rode through the back hills of Query Mill and Glen Road by myself. Very peaceful. A head wind on the way back, unlike the last couple of weeks. I saw Jody of Conte's again... she was riding with her Cervelo jersey posse. Funny... I think I've seen her 3 out of the last 4 Saturday's I've been out on the road. There is a 1/2 mile stretch of Democracy that I love... with a tail wind, I've hit 40 mph and consistently can do over 30 mph... even into the wind.
Newbridge to Gainsborough... makes me feel fast
So, I'm cruising about 35 mph yesterday and I can see a group of half a dozen cyclists approaching the light at Gainsborough. I pick it up because, well, I'm competitive and I want to catch them. I'm amidst the group by the time we get to the light at Seven Locks.Turns out, it's a group of five guys and one woman from the Bicycle Place. I draft off the rear as we go up the hill to Montgomery Mall... but again... they're going too slow for me... so I pass them at 270 and by the time we get to Old Georgetown, I can't see them anymore. I let up a little and as I'm heading *downhill* on Grosvenor, two of this group have caught up and fly by. The light is green as we get to 355 and roll into the park. I draft off them until we get to Connecticut. But, as we get a green light and proceed down Beach, I get it going and drop them and with satisfaction, go under the Beltway and take the left up the hill to Georgia Avenue. They are out of sight behind me.
Editors Note: I realize this group probably didn't realize they were "racing" me... though their attempt to pass me on Grovesnor does suggest other cyclists had a competitive streak, too.
Thinking back over this training year, many memories stick out. A friend of mine, Chris Rolinski, turned me on to a live Judas Priest CD from 2005 that I hadn't heard before. They do a killer version of a song that I love... "Riding on the Wind". They didn't play it when we saw them on 8/22... but two highlights of the training year have been the night Chris and I went to the concert and also when this song came on my playlist while on a training run. I'm sure it'll be going through my head on the run THREE WEEKS FROM TODAY!!!
Judas Priest... the Metal Gods... "Riding on the Wind"