This is exactly how I felt today when I developed a slow leak right in the middle of today’s Trek group ride. Our ride started out a bit slower than normal today, perhaps due to the cool temperature (it was about 68° when we started), or perhaps it was the stiff headwind. The 50+ riders stayed bunched up tightly, cheating the wind as much as possible as we wound our way up Three Oaks, over the I75 bridge and Tree Line. As we approached the airport turn off, the point where everyone puts the hammer down, I unexpectedly found myself as the lead rider of a long fast pace line.

This was not my intention, as I normally let the A group peel off and settle in behind the wheel of a B group rider, but on this occasion, the three to five riders in front of me quickly pulled out of formation leaving me to lead the group down one of the fastest sprints of the day. Foolishly, I got down low into my drops and stomped on the pedals with all I had into the very stiff headwind.

I held the lead too long, hitting speeds of over 26 MPH, for about a mile and a half. I should have peeled off much earlier, but I caught an Eddie Merckx complex, and pushed myself way into the red for too long. In fact when I signaled to peel off, I came very close to being left behind, as catching the last wheel of the high speed group took all I had. My legs were actually burning as I creeped up on the group, barley making it…and yes I actually did yell “shut up legs!” in my best Jens Voigt accent.

By now the group was splitting between the A and B riders. I was actually finding it difficult to keep pace with the B group, blaming it on skipping breakfast and the wind, but I stayed locked on. As we pedaled up the terminal ramp, my bike felt as if the brakes were on. While in the 10 MPH limited zone (yes there were 2 officers and one patrol car waiting for us), I was able to catch my breath and give my bike a quick look over. Everything looked fine, so I pressed on getting into a tight aero position while riding downhill from the terminal.

We picked up the pace again as we turned off the main airport road onto the winding older airport roads. The main group was easily pulling away from me, no matter how much effort I put in. It was then that I finally realized that my rear tire was looking very lifeless…yes I had a frikkin flat!

It was so disheartening watching riders pass by me as the group quickly pulled away down the road. I came to a slow, very dejected stop at the side of the road, knowing well that my group ride had come to an end, leaving me with a long solo ride back.

I actually changed the flat quickly (under 15 minutes is quick for me) and got back on the bike. Not knowing the old airport roads well, I turned around back onto the main airport thoroughfare and headed back to Tree Line. Being closer to home than the rides end point, and running on a not quite fully inflated tire (CO2 cartridges are wonderful, they get you back onto the road quickly without having to carry a pump, but they do not quite get you up to full tire pressure, at least the 115-120lbs I prefer) I decided to just ride home…not the best consolation prize either as the ride home was against a 15MPH headwind without any kind of relief.

I eventually made it home, dejected, deflated and generally pissed that I had lost out on a good group ride, but at least the first half of it was fun, and Señor J was able to hang tough and stay with the group today. Well there is always next weeks ride….only this time I’ll be sure to stay off the lead…and hopefully avoid sharp bits on the road!

I’m looking forward to a couple of fun even rides coming up. Next weeks 4th Annual Trek Women Breast Cancer Awareness Ride is looking to be loads of fun (there is still time to sign up and save the ta-ta’s), as well as the 2011 Caloosahatchee River Ride on November 3rd. My weekly mileage dropped the last couple weeks due to some scheduling conflicts, but I should be back up to 150+ miles again this week.

Route: Modified Trek group airport ride
GRide Time: 1:34:15
Stopped Time: 8:05
Distance: 26.09 miles
Average: 16.61 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 26.07 miles/h
Ascent: 7 feet
Descent: 0 feet
Calories: 1290


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