Saturday, February 27, 2016

Come together, right now

Two weeks ago I rode the SFR Two Rock 200K, which was supposed to be an easy ride. It has  over 6000' of elevation gain, as I discovered. Didn't think to check.

Another factor might have been the rider on the front of the tandem, the guy whose jersey pockets I stared at the whole ride, a very strong cyclist. He and and his wife Emma, the regular stoker, set a record on RAAM last summer. They were taking a little breather during the fall and winter months. That's where I come in. The bike itself was magnesium, every bit as light and responsive as a single. The bike was not the issue.

At the midpoint of the ride, as the hamlet of Valley Ford came into sight around a curve, it was barely 10am. At the same time, a rare view when it's just me and the Waterford: the lead group turning south on Highway 1, leaving the control. Maybe 5 or 10 minutes ahead? I felt an unfamiliar twinge. Is this how it feels to be among the 1%? 

As you might have guessed, there was no time for existential questions. It unfolded like the thing it was: an 8-hour spin class. Constant, intentional forward motion. Almost no coasting. The controls were places to get in and get out of, downing fluids, sugar, electrolytes. On hills, as my quads screamed and refused to push harder, the hamstrings took over, using the upstroke. Those infamous rollers between Tomales and Point Reyes Station, we tried to scoop them, using momentum on the descents to reach (almost) the top of the next rise. We pulled a large pack of singles and they stuck to our wheel like packing tape, no chit-chat. 

At the Palace Market in Point Reyes Station, there was a bench and the noonday sun. Munching a sandwich, I could not have been happier. Or more hammered.

I like fast. I like early. With a taste of that kind of speed I almost get it now, why the fasties delight in pushing each other so hard... The pain is really just a side effect. Everything else about going fast is good.

Lots of folks on the Two Rock have been hibernating. For many this was the first long ride since last August, since Paris-Brest-Paris. So the conversation starter of choice was "how was your PBP"? It echoed in my head. How was my PBP? I struggled to answer. It seems like a long time ago.


Someone said "did you hear about Lois? She had some kind of accident outside the control at Dreux. Broke her wrist. It was in the RUSA magazine..." With shame, I had to admit I hadn't read the magazine at all. It lay unopened on the piano bench at home. Other people's stories were in there, but I haven't been ready to read them. 

First I need to tell my own. 

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