OK, I admit it, I’ve been slacking a bit missing the last three write ups, but I have an excuse…slackers always have an excuse.
These last four days have been a bit of a whirlwind. Between multiple evening dining engagements with friends, cooking for friends, drinking with friends, our dog getting spayed, and an army of painters, tile workers and pressure washers descending on the community as it gets a major facelift, I really haven’t had enough time to sit in front of my trusty Mac and spew out some “words of wisdom”.
Being that I have an apparent small window of opportunity right now (I managed to wear out my son at the park today), it’s time to play a little catch up, so here goes.
Friday: A quick 40 mile run out to Coconut Point and back with Señor J, as well as a visit to the Trek store in Estero. The first half of the ride was surprisingly hard as there was a relentlessly constant head wind making the first leg of the ride feel as if it was an endless uphill climb. We managed to keep a respectable average into the wind, but the break at the Trek store was very welcomed. The return leg was a joy as we had a tail wind the entire ride home. Otherwise nothing eventful, which is always good.
Ride Time: 2:05:21
Stopped Time: 55:03
Distance: 38.36 miles
Average: 18.36 mph
Fastest Speed: 28.44 mph
Ascent: 617 feet
Descent: 656 feet
Saturday: We were invited to ride with our friends from the Caloosa Riders club. The ride was an established route departing from Buckingham Park which they call “I like IKE”, covering 42 miles around the town of Lehigh Acres. I had to fly solo on this ride as Señor J was out of town, but I felt right at home since I’ve already gotten to know many members of this club from the past few Wednesday rides. I was warned ahead of time that this was not a ride for beginners and that “the quick guys” tend to up the tempo.
The riders, about 60 in all, split into two groups right from the start, with the B group heading out first and the A group departing twenty or so minuted later. I left with the first group, as it had the greater number of familiar riders.
The pace was moderate the first couple of miles as everyone warmed up, and then quickly climbed to 20-21MPH, a very comfortable “ride all day long” pace for me, but we were riding against 12-14 MPH winds, making the ride significantly harder. Luckily the group had 20 or so riders, making the wind far less of an issue as we maintained a very organized, wind defeating pace line the entire time.
We wound our way through the rather bumpy backroads of Lehigh Acres, all taking turns up front. At the 23 mile mark, we pulled into a convenience store for a planned break. We refilled our water bottles and fueled up on whatever snacks we were carrying…btw I’ve become a big fan of the Honey Stinger Waffles. They taste great, are easy to eat, provide a good boost, and are “real food” unlike all the gels and gummy’s out there…they are so good that you’d be tempted to have them as a normal daily snack!
As we were mounting back up, a couple of the A riders came storming in. The initial lead we had over them had now disappeared. As we left the stop, we could see the majority of the A riders blasting down the road about a quarter mile or so in front of us. I was leading our group out of the stop and was gradually bringing everyone back to our previous pace. The A group was easily within reach, that is if everyone was willing to do a little work.
Not being one to like gaps in a group ride, I hollered my intentions to close the gap and catch the A group. There were no dissenters, so I dropped into my aero bars and started the chase. I quickly brought the pace up to around 24-25 MPH and found the gap closing rather quickly, eventually catching them in just a couple of miles. Unfortunately when I looked back, I realized I had pulled completely away from my group and bridged the gap solo. Luckily a busy intersection held us up long enough for both groups to come together.
This did not last long though as my new group was constantly on the accelerator. Instead of that comfortable 21-22 MPH pace, we instead were on a 25-26 MPH pace, and still accelerating. The pace line was fast and furious, as lead riders would only pull for a coupe minutes at best. When the time came for me to pull, we were pushing speeds in excess of 27 MPH…good thing we had a tail wind and the pavement was smooth!
Gradually riders started dropping out of the hard charging group. With less than a mile left, it looked as if I would have one last pull. By this time I was running on lactic acid and adrenalin as my legs were screaming in pain. I knew that there was no way I would be able to pull at a 30 MPH pace, so I voluntarily dropped off and rode the last couple blocks at a “leisure” 25 MPH.
This was a highly enjoyable ride. Sure it hurt and my legs would be in sad shape for the following days Trek group ride, but it was a thrill to ride with a well organized, nice and focused group of riders. I look forward to the next rides, and I’ll be submitting my membership to the Caloosa Riders this week.
Route: I Like IKE w/ Caloosa Riders
Ride Time: 2:06:13
Stopped Time: 8:37
Distance: 40.41 miles
Average: 19.21 mph
Fastest Speed: 28.25 mph
Ascent: 256 feet
Descent: 230 feet
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Sunday: Ah the mad capped Trek airport group ride, the most unorganized fun you can have with a bunch of other riders on two wheels. I always look forward to this hammerfest, but I knew this ride was going to be extremely difficult because, 1. my legs were sore from the previous days ride, and 2. the wind was crazy strong!
The forecast called for “high wind and surf advisory” with 15-20 MPH winds with substantially higher gusts. By the time Señor J and I arrived at Coconut Point, the wind was already well above 15 MPH and gusting like mad. This was not going to be pleasant as we would have headwinds for the majority of the airport loop (as always) as well as the return trip back.
The initial ride to the airport was very quick as the extreme tailwind essentially “turbocharged” our ride there. We hit the airport turn off and, as usual, split into two distinct groups. My sore legs left me little hope of hanging with the speed demons, so I slotted myself near the end of the second group to squeeze in as much drafting as possible before reaching the terminal.
My little strategy worked as I didn’t have to pull at all and scored a little more rest from the 10 MPH limit at the terminal. Once through, I latched onto the three lead riders of the group and powered down the terminal ramp into the “ferocious” headwind. The rest of the group either was unwilling or unable to stay with us as we opened up a very large gap.
The four of us continued a surprisingly fast pace through the old airport, never dropping below 22 MPH, but we knew we’d have little chance of maintaing that pace once we headed headlong into the ferocious headwind. We actually slowed the pace a bit to let the rest of the group catch up. After all, it would be much easier to attack the wind with many riders vs just four of us.
The dropped group caught up with us at the long light on Daniels. Shockingly we caught a tongue lashing from a rider, who shall remain anonymous…at least this time, calling us out for not helping them fight through the winds at the airport. This was extremely uncalled for as the ride rules clearly state that the airport is a speed limit free zone where groups will naturally form based on ability and that it is up to the rider to latch onto a group which best fits them. In short, every man for him/her self until you find a group you are comfortable with, and then assist/benefit from that group as needed.
We were obviously on a different pace from them causing us to pull away. Anyone was welcomed to stick with us, but none did. Knowing the return would be more challenging we elected to wait for them to make the return a little easier, not only for us but them as well. And as thanks, we get chewed out!
I was not very pleased with this behavior/outburst at all. We are out there to have fun and enjoy the camaraderie of all. This only served to make the person look foolish and selfish, especially since said person absolutely refused to actively participate in the pace line once the group had reformed, staying at the end to receive all the benefits without offering any help….really really bad form.
This really soured the ride for me. That combined with really sore legs and the apparent outlook of having to carry an unequal part of the load into very heavy headwinds on the return ride, made me elect to cut the ride short and ride back to my home on my own.
Was this a defeatist attitude on my part? Perhaps. But I’ll just call it conscious objection on my part. I’m sure all hot heads will cool off for next weeks ride and all will be fine. I’ll just blame this incident on crappy weather conditions and call a mulligan.
Route: Trek Airport Group Ride
Ride Time: 1:21:02
Stopped Time: 6:40
Distance: 26.86 miles
Average: 19.89 mph
Fastest Speed: 27.76 mph
Ascent: 153 feet
Descent: 141 feet
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So there you have it. Three days and 105 or so miles of riding and two sore legs wrapped up in a verborreic mishmash. I’ll do my best to no let this happen again….scouts honor.