Thursday Night Road Ride and Thoughts from 198
Last night, a group of 4 of us hit up a local Thursday night road ride in Roswell, GA. This was the first time I had ever done this ride, but I was familiar with the route as I have ridden it once before. The route takes you through fantastic areas of Roswell as you follow the Chattahoochee River and end up riding straight through historic Roswell.
After a long downpour earlier that afternoon, the thick air was fog filled and the sun was bringing out some serious humidity. There is nothing quite like trying to breathe in thick air! The ride started out at a nice warm-up pace as everyone shuffled their way in line. Many of these riders do this ride on a weekly basis, so they knew where they needed to be. I was going to attempt to hang on to the A group for as long as possible.
As we turned the corner into areas of lesser traffic, the A riders put down the hammer and started climbing. Over the next couple of miles, they would continue to spread the distance between Joe and me as they continued to hammer out the small climbs. As we reached a really flowy downhill section, I saw it…Joe wanted to catch back up to the A group, but we were going to have to work hard at it. We started hammering the downhills trying to pick up time where we could. When we got to the flat, I watched as he started using the draft of slower riders to slowly pull us back up to the front. Use the draft…pass…use the draft…pass…and sure enough…the next light we were caught back up and tired as hell.
It was my mission from that point forward to keep with this A group for as long as I possibly could without falling off the back. I knew the only way this would happen is if I could ride closer to the center of the pack to stop from falling off the rear. Throughout the next sections of the ride, there are steep ups with fast downs throughout Roswell, GA. With calves burning, I continued to hold on for the climbs with encouraging words from Laurie…”head up!”.
As the A group continued to get smaller and smaller…I was still there attempting to not look as worn out as I really was. About mile 21 of the 26 mile ride, it happened. We started on a slight incline over a long distance and I fell off the back of the pack. Now by myself without a draft, I kept pushing as hard as I could to keep the riders in sight. Eventually, I hooked up with another rider and..whether he knew it or not…we were going to catch that A group again if I had to rip my legs off to do it.
As we reached the final stretch back to the car, I caught a huge break. As they were waiting on the final red light, I hit it when it turned green and passed most of the A group back to the car. I did it! I finished with the A group through a ton of hard work and a little bit of luck.
Hey…sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.
Personal Thoughts from 198
The truth is…I am not an A group rider. There are a half dozen of those riders that were just out of a weekday ride and they could have done the entire ride over again at the same pace or dropped me like a bad habit during that ride. Still…it is extremely satisfying to finish with the front of the pack. There were multiple times that I wanted to just give up, but I kept on pushing.
I have found that I am much harder on myself than anyone else. As I was riding without a draft, I found my thoughts wandering to…”come on jackass…you own a mountain biking/cycling website and you are going to finish all the way back here…pick it up!” As much as I would like to think that everyone cares so much about my corner of the web, they could really care less where I finish this ride. Do most of those roadies at the front of the pack even know that I spend half my time sitting in front of a computer screen typing about riding a parts? Probably not…
When it comes to riding, I am my own worst critic in my quest to become a better rider, so when I post up the riding tips on Mountain Biking by 198, those are not skills that I have mastered…they are skills that I am personally working on as I write those articles. I am on a never ending quest to become a better rider so that I can enjoy the sport in new ways. To accomplish that goal, I have to keep pushing the limits of what I consider normal, and…hopefully…by sharing that information I can help others become better riders at the same time.
This site is not backed by huge corporate dollars or a print publication. It is just me (with the help of several others) trying to bring cycling, reviews and stoke to other riders throughout the web. As I finished the ride yesterday, all I could think about is how fortunate I am to have such great friends and blog readers that I consider friends.
So…thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this site and allowing me to experience the things I do. Mountain Biking by 198 would be nothing but code in cyberspace without you guys, and I am very grateful for the success this site has seen up to this point and beyond.
Stats from yesterdays ride. From the Garmin Edge 705 on GarminConnect.com
Elevation Summary: Thursday Night Roswell Ride
Speed Summary: Thursday Night Roswell Ride
Ride Summary: Thursday Night Roswell Ride