It was a true Echappe Royale that rolled out of Soma this crisp fresh morning. Twelve riders in all including maybe ten of the fastest 15 Bloomington residents, one out-of-towner and your author, a very average Cat 3. I felt like a journalist allowed to join the Pros in their pre-season camps with one major difference- there was no gentle rolling to facilitate conversation! Oh no it was very much ON from the gun. Onto Bottom Road and the Axe-Murderer decided it was time to hammer and with testosterone in abundance there was no backing down from the other riders. Over freshly unpaved Bottom-Roubaix everyone was chewing the stem and your author knew he wasn’t long for the group! Excluding a few dog, route and bathroom induced pauses there was constant tempo in the upper 20mph. After 90mins my time was up and with a wave I bid the group adieu. I hope the remainder of the ride was as ‘enjoyable’ as much as a hammer-fest can be!
For an unrealistic rider my experience might have been demoralizing but your author thinks not! The facts are such that: 1, I am an average Cat3 2, many of the other riders have nationwide racing ambitions and 3, 90mins at ‘race-pace’ is much better training than rolling around at a much (much) lower pace!
To add a personal indulgence to this tale, this time of year allows me to add some perspective to getting dropped on a ride. Eleven years ago to the day your author was lying in the ICU with two broken femurs, two broken arms and a shattered tibia (an estimated 20 pieces). Now that long-gone bike wreck is not the reason I am not rocking it with the fast boys and my comeback may not be of Armstrong quality (my performance detracting substances are beer and wine!) but it adds a certain sense of satisfaction to be just out there and riding!
So until next weekends hammer-fest and the racing season beyond!
5 days ago