I did my second RACC (Ride Around Clark County) again yesterday. Last year it was the longest ride I had ever done and I mostly remember that I had horrible quad pain from about mile 40 and on - major cramping. This year the time seemed to fly by and I felt super strong. It's a 67 mile ride - mostly flattish but with a couple mean hills.
My morning started with me waking up at about 3 or 4am to major downpours pummeling my roof. Not a good sign. I SO did NOT want to ride in the cold and rain. Really thought I might put this ride off until the next day and just figure something out on my own, but when the alarm went off, I got up, got prepped and headed out the door. The rain seemed to have slowed down and to my surprise, when I arrived at registration, Sheryl was coming out the door. She and Dan and Coach Scott and Ilana were doing the 100 mile option of this ride and although invited to join them, I had declined. I thought they were leaving at 7am, but they said, no 8am. I wished them well and BSd with Randal for awhile and realized while I was talking with him that I was REALLY warm, so I made the decision to leave my ear muffs and fleece jacket behind. I thought it might be a bad decision but went back to the truck to drop them off. On my way back, I ran into Sheryl and Dan again and they STILL weren't on the road and since the rest of my group would be taking off shortly and I knew they would catch me, off I went with Sheryl and Dan.
We led the pack until Ilana got a flat and then when my 67 miler group caught up with us I took off with them while the 100s fixed the flat. Whoops...bug in my eye - MUST remember to buy new glasses! While I'm trying to dig the bug out of my eye with my glove on, I realize I have a flat tire. DANG IT! Just when I was whizzing along KEEPING UP WITH EVERYONE. Do you guys hear that?? I was keeping up with no extra effort with everyone else!! Having a road bike ROCKS!!! Unfortunately, I had decided to be at the end of the chain of everyone and so only Tiff heard me stop. Also unfortunately, she needed to get this ride DONE so she could get on the road for the Eugene half on Sunday. I told her I would be fine and to go ahead. I got the tire off and the huge piece of glass just did NOT want to budge from my tire. Took me forever to get it out and by then, Dan and Sheryl caught up with me. Shortly after, Scott and Ilana showed up, so the girls went on ahead and Dan and Scott finished up with me. "We'll catch up with you girls" they said. Ya right...they will catch up with them, but now I am officially at the back of the pack...as usual.
So I got the tire on and off I flew - leaving Dan and Scott in the dust. Felt kind of rude, since they just stayed with me for my flat, but dang it...I'm going to stay out of the back for at least a minute or two. Finally (I should really say shortly), Dan caught up with me and said something about how fast I flew out of there and then I could feel Coach Scott behind me for some time before he pulled up beside me and complimented me on my cadence and how fast I was going. He said I was really strong and basically made me feel like the best rider and then he asked me the ill-fated question to get into my big ring. Now, I'm not afraid to get in my big ring but honestly, I rarely do - simply because with this double crank, I just don't use those big gears that much and I've gotten lazy about shifting into my big ring on the flats and downhills. So I tried to get into my big ring but my shifter wasn't working. I explained to Scott that it was stuck and I've had troubles with it before (I really have!) and that it just wouldn't work. I tried for about a mile to get it to shift before he pulled up beside me and asked me to do it again and then in only a way that Scott can do - informed me that I was using the wrong shifter, but that it's ok, it's an easy mistake that lots of people do and that I shouldn't be embarassed. HAHAHAHA. Right! I just looked like such a fool! I must have turned 40 shades of red. Anyways, I caught up to Sheryl and Ilana just like the boys said we would. THAT has never happened before!! Then at about mile 40 or so I had to split with those four crazies that were doing the 100 and I was on my own again until I caught up with everyone at the 2nd aid station. I rode the rest of the way with the rest of my team and I felt really really really good about my strength increases from last year's ride! And really really great about the confidence talk that Scott gave me.
And...the choice to leave all my fleece behind turned out to be the right one. Although it rained on us off and on the whole ride, everyone was way too overdressed and people were running out of room trying to stuff all their gear in those teeny pockets on the back of our riding shirts. Everyone looked like the michelin man - all stuffed and puffed.
Now I have a 10 mile run I need to get done sometime today...