As always I prepare all my stuff including water bottles the night before, since I got to be quick in the morning. 40 minutes to the Westwood shop requires efficiency and I have a job in the city so that requires me to time things before and after.
Roger said 6AM sharp. That means we will likely leave the shop at around 6.20AM. Fin-time. My compulsion concerning punctuality and the severe punishment I would receive from my conservative parents when I grew up in Italy (I am now 38 but still plenty of trauma left over) make my 5.50AM arrival at the shop possible. Oh well…nobody is here.
The ride was announced to be somewhat of a test….now I understand the word “somewhat” only served the purpose of “cutifying” the magnitude of this ride. TEST. I asked myself how I am feeling today – answer – not so bad. I am happy about that. I had the one or the other ride on Wednesdays were my poor sleep pattern has left me tired. Today was not one of those.
“Chatterbox” Evan, his collegiate friend Alex (climber build all the way), Jumbo Raheb, Al Blanchard and Mark (one other WV whose name escaped me) are off into the morning fog. We generate a nice pace up to Bear Mountain. A mix of “saving yourself” for the TEST and “starting to work” early develops in the group.
Roger looks at me and says at one point that he noticed himself pulling the group the entire time. That was certainly true and so I decided to go to the front and do some work as well, still keeping in mind that soon we will be in the TEST ZONE. As we arrive on the bottom, Evan, Alex and I pick up the pace and we look back briefly only to notice that we already have a small gap. I look for a second back again and Roger was there (I realize that his legs feel good, as they always seem to do…). So we ride a nice tempo for the first 4-5 minutes. I am feeling very good and looking at my heart rate I don’t appear to be overly labored for the watts the SRM is showing me. Happy. Maybe too happy…
I decide to accelerade and see what would occur. I open up a gap. Now I feel even happier and the gap is slightly opening up, wow. I am pushing harder and harder at this point and I look down and see that I am pushing pretty unrealistic numbers (for me – every day stuff for Roger) for the climb to this point. Doubt briefly settles in, Roger is back there and my heart rate is now pretty high, my happiness played a joke on me! I noticed the attack position as I look back and I can see Roger’s silhouette getting bigger and bigger. Damn, this would not work.
The guys catch me as we get closer to the gate. I manage to hang on but I need a bit of recovery now. Lifting the bike accross the gate should do just that, happy again. I try to slow this process, but would not show that to the guys :-)jump on and up the steeper part we go. I look down and see my HR still pretty high, I am working now….we go up and everyone’s breathing becomes more audible (not Roger’s – cannot hear a thing…)
He and Evan finally, half way up Perkins, open a little gap and Alex and I are left to climb at our own pace. I hear Alex commenting behind me, &#%^$&* and I feel the same way…I felt so good and now…
Oh well no biggie, the numbers were good and I knew that if I had not been overly excited further down the hill, I could have done even better towards the top.
A quick snack and a coke on top and back to the shop we roll. The ride gets quite fast and I do nothing to slow it down either since I need to time my way back to NYC – the job is waiting.
We arrive in WV – a great 3.5 hour ride. So good to be alive, so good to be celebrating the passion of cycling with friends.