It’s been a cold and rainy spring. I last went skiing when it snowed another 4 inches on Connecticut Hill in early April, and it seemed like every Tuesday since then had seen more rain or sleet, or was still pretty darn cold for going on evening bike rides. I did get out a few times, but not for very long.
There were a lot of people waiting at EHP for the first real TNR of the season. A vote declared that this would be a hilly route, and so we rode up Ringwood to the start. Not having any idea how I would compare to those that were actually training this year, I played it safe and stayed with the B group. The route was chosen: Ringwood and Snyder, which is about 19 miles.
The pace was easy for the first stretch, maybe with everyone remembering how to make pacelines work, although there wasn’t much movement rotating through the line. By Rt 79, I noticed that I was having a hard time on the flats compared to most others. My year round commute up the hills certainly helps for hills, but I just don’t have the speed on flat ground. I didn’t feel that great going up Ringwood though, either, but it’s early in the season.
I was able to stay with the front pack, even after lossing more ground on 79 after the first lap. We turned to Snyder, and this is where I knew I would get to see my winter hilly commuting miles in action. I set my pace to where I knew I could sustain it, and powered up the hill. About 8 others were on the same pace, but as the hill keeps climbing, we got down to 4 of us that pulled away.
I stayed behind the others, letting them set the pace up the final approach. When two were showing signs of running out of energy, I passed them and sneaked up behind the lead racer. I used my last bit of energy to pass him as quickly as possible, trying to make sure there was a gap in case he tried to sprint after me, and it was a success. I was so dead at the top of the climb that I laid on the grass to catch my breath. Several people mentioned that I should try racing with the A’s again, and I do plan on that next time, but this was definitely a difficult and tiring race for me!
I’m still working on trying to figure out Strava, but I have uploaded my GPS data for the ride at: http://app.strava.com/rides/548274. Check it out, and if you are riding these as well, you should make a free account and upload your data too.