Sunday, May 26, 2013

Wilderness Road Ride - Year FOUR!

It's pretty weird to be at a point where I am now doing races and rides for the fourth time. I did the Wilderness Road Ride in 2010, 2011, 2012, and again this year. I did the 58-miler that according to my Garmin had 4400' of elevation change so there was plenty to enjoy. There are also 29, 78, and 100 mile options. Despite doing the same course each year, it's always a very different ride in terms of weather and ride companions. This ride is the preview for the following day's BIG featured ride, the Mountains of Misery century/double metric century ride (one that I have no interest in doing).

It's a hilly ride!

This year my local tri-pals were not doing the ride so I reached out to the Roanoke tri/cycling folks and found out that a big group was coming and I was invited to join in. I was told it would be a social ride, which was perfect. A large group of about 20 gathered at the start and as the lone tri-bike and feeling a little intimidated by all the "real" cyclists, I positioned myself at the back of the pack. It was single-file riding on a bike path for a while and after we got to the roads I had some work to do to catch up.

The group quickly segmented and I found myself separated from all but one person that I knew - Lynn. Lynn is a also a master's athlete and I'm well aware of her strengths as a cyclist. I spent the first ten miles wondering if I'd be able to hang with this group for all 58 miles. This was NOT feeling like a social ride, but hey, I was game, and knew it would be good for me.

Among the group was a lanky eleven-year-old and his dad. This kid was amazing. That's all I can say. Focused, hard working, and no complaining. Awesome!

I am a lousy picture taker, and forget pictures WHILE riding so I have little photographic evidence of the ride. Argh! Dressing was challenging given the unexpectedly cold May day. We started off in temps in the low to mid 40's so I was in winter gear - pants, toe covers, and a long sleeve jersey.

riders looking over their food choices

There are no better peanut butter & jelly sandwiches than the ones on the Wilderness Road Ride!! It's so nice to have the luxury of aid stations with real food on a ride.

The 78-milers, including Lynn, split off from us and then after a while it was two girls and me. Then they sent me off to catch up with a rider named Floyd spotted up ahead. Floyd and I rode pretty aggressively together for a while and then toward the end he waved me on.

It struck me how cycling is pretty unique in that you can not know people, but by virtue of being on the same supported ride and having a common interest, you can pretty much join up with them and it's not that weird.

I can't think of too many other things like that.

Thanks to the FCA and Mark Long for hosting this great ride! I look forward to next year!