Saturday, March 10, 2012

Power of the People

Heading out to Lone Star Lake--for the first ride of Spring.

The last week of my Celebrity Spin Class was probably the toughest week of workouts I've ever had. Last Sunday I planned to saddle-up and put in some miles after the class, but soon as I got home, took a shower, got a bite to eat I was quickly running out of gas. And as I got the bike ready to go and filled a water bottle or two, the wind brought in rain clouds--and within about half-hour skies were grey and cold. I found myself heading back to bed and sleeping a couple hours instead, Gentle Readers of This Blog.

With Celebrity Spin drawing down, a lot of us were worrying that we'd lose our fitness if we weren't out riding--so with a great Saturday forecast--and several emails to set the time--I went out for my first Spring Ride with blokes from Spin. Other Bike Club members they ride with were going today and we met at the park, and then before you could say "Allure Libre" we were off!

Farmers gotta get out and burn somethin'

All I can tell you Gentle Readers, is that Celebrity Spin gave me super-charged legs! And I would need them riding with these guys. We rode fast! Jon, from Spin--the man is big powerful, and driven! Also Tommy--a stocky dynamo--lead the pack for many miles as well! Two totally different body types and each with just as much power as the other!

Steve was there who I rode with once before and had a great time flying through the back roads--and his young son Tim. Tim was very much the classic looking Italian-type rider; lean, strong, and Alfa Romero quick. Also along was Sally, a former Tucsonian like me--her lament was that all the years she road it she never won El Tour de Tucson, just came in second many times.

I am happy to report that I was able to stay with the group, and we rode fast and hard, and took turns pulling through the strong head-winds that were now gaining steam. The big difference I felt today is that I had power. When it seemed I would start to drop off, instead of just giving in, I sprinted and got back with the group to ride in the paceline.

This is essential when riding out here in Kansas with the wind bearing down on you. From my spin training I was able to recover quickly in the draft of the other riders. A few time Jon dropped us but we were able to re-group and then speed up as a group and catch him. I have to say that riding is a group like this is so much fun--I was beside myself with joy that here I was, the big Clydesdale, right up there with the rest of 'em!

At Hwy 59, for the home stretch back into Lawrence, we regroup.

Young Tim bonked and got dropped for the last real hard stretch up to 59. The wind is brutal there and Jon and Tommy dropped Sally, Steve, and Yours. I was getting tired now, mes amis, and had to be pulled up to 59 by them. We realized we dropped Tim, so Steve held back to wait for him while I tried to keep up with Sally.

Young Tim and Steve--Young Tim admits to Dad that he didn't eat breakfast--or lunch! Running on fumes the Kid is still the fastest thing I've seen out on the road!

Jon, Bruce, Sally, Steve, Tommy--photo by Young Tim.

After 10 weeks of tough spin class, and six weeks of weight training, I felt very glad about my new-found power. But I was somewhat dismayed at seeing that I'm still carrying the weight; I've not lost weight like I thought I might, mes amis, but eventually I might be able to get a few pounds lighter. I'm still at 250 pounds and if I can ride like I did today, where I felt stronger than ever--how would I feel if I was 10 or even 20 pounds lighter?

On our way back into town on Hwy 59.

A quick ride through Haskell Campus back to the Little House.

Back on the road.

One thing different about this first ride is that I really pushed myself to stay with the group--it was great to be in that paceline and riding fast--but I know I was riding way up in my zone 3 and zone 4 heart rates. I didn't take the HR monitor this ride for some reason.

After I got back, every muscle in my upper body was aching, and is still aching as I write this post, Gentle Readers of This Blog. My legs feel okay, its just that the rest of me needs the rest day. If I can just keep up and stay with these guys and ride like this, I know I'll continue to gain some skill.

But this was just 30 miles--and no way can I keep this pace riding a brevet. March 24th and the 200 km brevet is almost here. I know I'll finish--I am sure I'll finish stronger from all my training this winter. Now I just need to stay healthy and get a good long ride in so I'll be all set for my first 200!

The Mighty Trek.

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Cheers! Bruce


Sir Bikesalot said...

Nice! I'll be riding the Owl Buttes 200k on the same day! It's always nice to get out on a ride and find new found superpowers :)

Bruce's Bike Blog said...


Best of Luck on the Owl Head Buttes 200 that Roger's putting on! You will enjoy that 18 mile stretch from the Frontage Road (that we know so well!) to Hwy 79--probably the most scenic and pristene that I've ever seen. Watch out for the cattle on the road mon ami!