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Friday, October 24, 2008

1st Century Survivor

Yeah, I guess the title is a little misleading to those outside of cycling circles.
No, I'm not 2000 years old.
That's established.

I did, however, recently complete my first +100 mile ride.
I've come very close in the past, but never pushed over into triple digits.

Foxy's Fall Century accepted my application, and I have the T-shirt to prove it.
Though considered one of the easier local centuries, I have a certain enhanced confidence, now having passed this milestone. Frankly, it was far easier than some of the training rides leading up to it. The majority of the training rides ended up being solo. Cycling is enjoyable for me, so riding alone is no big deal. However, riding with over 1000 other cyclists definitely has advantages.

I asked a uniformed group of cyclists from Sacramento's Bike Hikers if I could ride along with them for the day. Cordially I was included, and I owe a great ride to their assistance. The company alone makes for an easier ride, as there are other things to think about than the growing pain in your quads and lower back. Ultimately, however, the greatest assistance came in the form of stronger riders to draft off of. The value of this is incalculable - for me at least.
Solo rides put your own face into the wind, with you suffering from the gross lack of aerodynamics inherent to the human body. No amount of spandex and shaving can make a hunched over human form aerodynamic. However, if you place that form behind another one, that is punching a human body size hole in the on rushing air, then you get what we call a draft, and thereby a break for the drafting rider.

I drafted much of the day, while my new friends "pulled." I believe they understood that if I were left at the front to pull, then the line would certainly slow by several miles per hour within only a few minutes. There were times I rode alone. On all of the climbing sections, which accounted for about 1/3 of the ride, the group separated out, each finding his rhythm and pounding it. Of the 4 of us, I found myself to be the second strongest climber. Definitely encouraging.

Though the start and finish were informal, with no official time keepers, I believe we finished in the top 20% at least. Within the first 25 miles, we had passed hundreds of riders that had left before us, and joined a pace line of nearly 30 riders who met up with what I believe was the first group to reach the water stop. Each water stop saw the leaders and followers trade places, as some stopped longer than others. At the end, Daniel, one of our group's riders, noted that the tally of our time spent on the bike was approx. 5 hours and 20 minutes. This totals up to a nearly 20 mph average for the 106 mile course. That makes it by far, my best ride ever.
Teamwork was the difference.

If you guys ever see this blog - THANKS!!!

1 comment:

  1. This is Mom thinking again---Have been thinking about the “drafting” principle. The Lord goes before and we benefit from the “draft” when we are following Him. I recently read through Deuteronomy and remembered God told the children of Israel that He would “go before them”. Interesting to think on---He was not just making a “human body size hole in the on rushing air”, but going before and preparing the way for victory and protection.

    Deuteronomy 31:3 (KJV)
    3 The LORD thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the LORD hath said.

    Deuteronomy 31:8 (KJV)
    8 And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

    I thought of how the Good Shepherd talks about the shepherd putting forth his sheep and going before them, as they follow him. And how He, the Good Shepherd goes before us leading us, protecting us, and providing for us.

    John 10:4 (KJV)
    4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

    The Lord has promised to lead and He does lead. Our responsibility is to “draft” behind Him. But how easy it is to go our own way and then wonder why it is so difficult. Uh, maybe because we are cutting our own way; would not it be much easier to “draft”. Is it because we do not trust where He is going? Or do not like the road He is taking? Interesting to think on.

    Love and prayer,