and sometimes that reason is that you’re stupid and make bad decisions. Take for example Saturday 1/31/15. I decide to test my strength and stamina by riding with Cycle Haus, the local Top Gun School. Anyway it’s always the same route but the ride is always different depending on who shows. Today’s ride took everything I had to only get dropped, twice, ahh…..I mean 3 times. To be fair half the group got dropped within’ the first 10 miles. I lost their wheel going into a hard left hander due to oncoming traffic. I should have stopped but my decision making was impaired by not wanting to get dropped. I slowed down and was on the brakes and……well I got dropped anyway leaving the motorist with the impression that cyclist are a pain in the ass and he would be correct. A fellow rider did stop and fell off the back pretty far. Within half a mile I’m picking up a couple of riders who blew up and we decide to conserve for the 2nd half. The rider who stopped managed to catch us at a traffic light which was a great feat of strength on his part. We cross the intersection and there’s the rest of the group waiting. I’m thinking that they should have called off the attack when the rider stopped for the oncoming car. Cycling is a gentlemanly affair after all, for the most part, with riders often slowing down to allow others to catch up after a wreck or flat. Attacking in the wake of such incidents is frowned upon during The Gran Tour races which of course this ride is not but still it falls within the spirit of the thing. There are sprints throughout the Cycle Haus Saturday route with neutral zones that follow allowing the riders to regroup but this too is left to one’s interpretation, it seems. It sounds like I’m whining but I know what I’m getting into and I’m the one making the decisions on who to ride with and if those decisions are bad ones well………….I guess that makes me stupid. Anyway, I expect to get dropped when riding with C.H. but I’ll continue to show up from time to time to take on the challange. It’s 60% mental and 75% physical and yes that’s 135% but for me that’s what it takes.
The most difficult section of the ride is the Trail Of Tears. It’s a bunch roads that were put in a platted area known as Yorkshire that never developed. I’m not sure why, maybe it was stopped to protect the Scrub Jay habitat, who knows. Anyway, the roads have since turned into weedy rutted rubble.There’s about 10 miles of this Roubaix and it’s a bit treacherous having crater size potholes that I’m sure would be road bike wheel busters if hit. This lunar surface terran does little if anything to slow the tempo though. It’s still all out and once again I’m dropped but have no fear, 4 of us were spit out, we were only able to maintain a 20 to 22 mph pace. The problem is I don’t know the route but no worries, one of those with us is one of the C.H. originals, and besides there’s only one main road with loops to and from and so we venture on completing the Trail Of Tears.
The breakaway group is a long time gone, heading west back to the start while the rest of us are headed south. Several are heading home but I need a beer and I’m off to the Peace River Riders post ride joint lube and liquid amber carb refill station, Beef o Brady’s in Punta Gorda. This is getting to be a well attended tradition. Way back when the manager told our at the time small group, the 3 of us, that if we had 10 at the bar he would buy a round. Well last Saturday we had 17 but the manager was no where to be found, BUT………free beer coupons were given to all. The Saturday Ride leaving the Acme Bike Shop in Punta Gorda is usually well attended and when new riders ask me about the pace my response is that the bars don’t open till 11 so there’s really no need to hurry. Me dear sweet mum God rest her soul would have said something like “Punta Gorda has more bars than churches” and she would have been right.
I’m really slow to finish this post, it now being February the 18th. Lot’s of hard miles between then and now (approx. 500) and my right side lumbar hip muscle pain is flaring again, not dibilitating, just nagging, overuse, muscle abuse. This all fits in with the things happen for a reason and sometimes the reason is stupidity but in my defense the act of riding actually relieves the pain. I hear this a lot from others my age, cycling relieves the back pain, to a point. I’ve done all but nothing in the way of trying to strengthen these muscle but fortunately I’ve discovered that aspirin relieves the pain which means no more nauseating Aleve. Rest is the real solution for this and I talk a good game but the truth is sitting on the sideline is still nothing I care to do. It’s like I’m missing out on something. I benefit from 2 full days off the bike after my typical Friday Saturday Sunday Tri-fecta. It would be best to begin any core strengthening exercise / stretching routine on a pain free well rested back. Fortunatly for my back the weather has been crappy, chilly mornings (feels like 38 degrees @ 5 AM) and 25mph gust in the afternoon here of late, lowering my miles ridden and allowing me to skip the aspirin. Seems to help proving that for me rest is a key factor to having a pain free back.