So the weather was appropriate for name of our Tuesday night start. Downright hellish, and as we gathered (those few stalwart enthusiasts), I had an sinking feeling that that ride was going to be all it was intented to be.
We had Mark Brooke, and Correy (sp?) and Scott Herzing rolling out at 6:02 into a 20+mph west wind. Correy – new to the Hell Ride – did not look like a savior (for me at this point) and didn’t act like one either, in spite of taking the point position in the wind on the ” warm-up” early on past the first railroad crossing. My heart rate is already going well above lactate threshold (LT) and I’m thinking… oh … “dear” while Mark and Scott are carrying on a relaxed conversion about the Bearmouth Race last weekend.
So we cross the second set of RR tracks and up the hill we go – let me promise you – I’m not leading, in fact I’m thinking – oh,… “dear”. I’m not catching them on the descent and then they let me catch up on the slight rise past the Whistle Stop Store. So how long does that last? Less then a mile before Correy breaks out a sprint and off they all go…. All the way up to the fire house finish I’m bearly able to keep the last person in sight (Correy, I think), inspite of keeping my heartrate well above LT and close to max. As I get to the last dip before the firehouse, however, Scott and Mark are circling around and urging me on to the spring finish so I push it up to top end. Mark, Scott and Correy finish 1,2,3.
Bearly a breather and I, as “Ride Leader”, say “come on let’s roll out – I hate slowing down”, so off we go (my poison pill). So I lead it out down and up (not a smart move), and yes off we go again with me training off the back… but Correy, Mark and Scott take pity and dial it back for a while (cross wind still hammering from the left front quarter). But again, too much, and off the back I go with about 2 miles (damn) to Lincoln Road (I did encourage Mark to jump at that point). OK, so a another solo finish for me, with Scott, Mark (or vice versa) 1,2 and Correy who leads out the hill sprint way too soon (so I heard) in 3rd.
Dang I’m thinking, this isn’t getting any easier, even with a 20 mph tailwind for the 3rd sprint. OK neutral roll out for the 1/2 mile to the tracks – hey I can be in front (yeah, but how long???)! How long? Not long, off they go on the first surge, with me with no legs left. So third sprint to the top of the hill – 4 miles down. I have no idea of the finish order, I’m so far behind. But I push it , in the spirit of the Hell Ride and catch the others as they easily roll along with a tail wind halfway between Green Meadow and Applegate.
We make the turn onto Applegate and the breathing finally returns to conversational rate (for me).
Tough ride? You bet! Did I feel slow? Hell yes. Demoralizing? No – I’m riding with some strong riders! Motivation to ride harder and better? ABSOLUTELY YES.
So come out out and join us. Don’t let the wind scare you, Don’t let the hills or good riders scare you. They can all (and in case of these riders are very happy to) teach you lessons, and that’s not meant in a mean spirited way. We love our sport and we love to share what we know about it. Come out and learn,