Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The View of the Wheel Ahead from a Rookie
It was the last couple of miles of a 30 mile day and Steve and I were pulling the group. The computer read just a bit over 19 MPH. Steve looks over at me and tells me the couple on the Tandem bike are about to take off…”Dave, try to stay on their wheel.” Two seconds later that tandem bike blew by us as if we were rocks on the road. I looked over at Steve, sweat dripping off my brow as the Texas mercury registered 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and responded, “Alright!” I immediately changed to a higher gear, out of the saddle, and pressing hard. Another cyclist had surged as well. Looking up, Marcel in his black and white jersey had excepted the challenge as well…and our two bikes were wheel to wheel to wheel with the tandem bike that had two engines to crank out high RPM’s….in a high gear.
The legs were already spent….the 62 mile solo ride the previous day and now another 30 in the Texas heat. This afternoon ride with the group had proven something memorable. It was the maiden voyage of the Trek in a group setting. My mind was racing, “You show up with a Trek Carbon decked out in racing components, you better have the engine to operate it!” For most of the 30 miles I had been up at the front…not trying to prove to anybody but myself that I had the engine. The ride is easier draftingwithin the peloton, the front guys have it tougher, but that’s what I wanted on this ride…the harder I work now, the less pain during the race…an adaptation to a Marine Corps mantra, “The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.” And so, this was what I asked of my self…from the start to the top of Windhaven hill. Make it hurt more now, and it will pay off later.
We were wrapping up the ride, the 3 of our bikes had surged from the group…with about a mile and half left. I gear up another gear…and look down at my computer; we had just passed the 25 mph reading. Lactic acid poured forth into my leg’s quads, they burned like fire, they screamed like a tormented demon from that fire. The heart rate was high…too high…my breathing labored with quick shallow breaths….and my body went into severe oxygen dept. The mind had become fuzzy and told me to quit…”Dave, you have ridden well…coast on in for God’s sakes.” I tasted salt as sweat dripped into my mouth with every labored breath. My vision was blurry, either from sweat dripping into my eyes or the oxygen dept, I couldn’t tell…but that blurred vision was on the wheel in front of me…on Marcel’s wheel…”Dig deep Dave, I told myself…hold it together!!!” And for the next mile I did…until the tank was empty, completely, and every effort I had was not enough. My mind demanded but my body just could not respond. The mind screamed, cursed, shouted for my body to give more, but there was nothing left to give as the tandem and Marcel began to pull away….and so for the last ½ mile I coasted…the engine had blown…but for the first 28 miles…well…we have room for improvement but the Trek Carbon actually had responded with the new engine….and that was a good thing….a satisfying thing.