3 out of 4 ain’t bad, normally. When its the number of Palo Alto noon rides you have attempted and the amount of times you have been dropped… well you know what, it still ain’t bad.
My first ride was a good attempt, only I picked a bad day to go. Thursdays as I now know are when some of the fast guys come out to push the pace, on a slightly longer route as well. I make it about half way, when I get dropped on a short but steep climb. Not knowing the route I follow another rider who was dropped, and we make our way back a slightly different route from the group ride.
My second attempt on a Friday was good at first. So good that when a break formed I decided to chase it back, little did I know that right after my hard effort where I successfully chased down the break away group, there was a sharp left and a nice hilly section waiting for me. My legs were not happy, I dropped fast and just couldn’t grab a solid wheel.
The next Monday I showed up for a third time. This time I knew the route, I knew the effort needed, and I was ready. Sure enough that was enough. I made it until the end, even challenging a few hill climbs as well as chasing down a hill top sprint and finishing a wheel length in front of the next closest guy, and well in front of the group as a whole.
Thursday attempt number two. I manage to keep myself in a better position among the pack, I manage to keep a wheel in front of me and stayed off the front where I would be pushing myself. I also managed to keep an average HR of 170 and peaking at 192. The ride was kicking my ass, but I was hanging on. Again about half way, we make a right, and they start pulling away as we crest the hill. This time though I am keeping them in sight, just.
As we make a right back onto the main straight, I am just out of eyesight with a rag tag group of stragglers with me. We last a mile as I push the pace in front, but soon I am the last man standing. To my luck I come up on a stronger rider, who is just cruising until the pack comes back and he can rejoin. I ask if he is down to chase with me, and we proceed to chase down the pack. We have a carrot of a group in front of us who is about half way between us and the main group. We slowly work our way closer and closer as we pass the riders that keep dropping from their group. As we finally catch them, the main group has turned around and is going the opposite direction. We make a U-turn and join back up with the main group. I was spent, taking turns pulling had taken its toll on me and keeping a wheel was getting harder to do.
I kept a wheel though, and worked my way to the front of the group. Knowing that Sand Hill was coming up and if I wanted to end the climb with the group, I would need to start at the front and finish at the back. That was my plan… only I finished 100 yards off the pack. Trying to catch up on the down hill was futile as I hit a red light and never saw them again.
Today was one of my best days on the bike, I was dropped twice, and I loved every moment of it. I can’t wait for a real race.