I was cold, I was tired, and my back hurt, but getting up to go on the Cadence Against Cancer bike ride this morning really wasn’t much of a sacrifice. Actually, I thought it was pretty fun excuse to pull out my old winter cycling gear. So that’s what I did first thing this morning.
When I first arrived at the booth at the high school this morning, the temperature was supposedly around 37 degrees (for you celsius folk, that’s probably around 2-4 degrees) with the expectation being that it would drop progressively until about noon. I was a little surprised to find myself the only cyclist at the booth at that hour (although in retrospect, who shows up for a charity bike ride 45 minutes early when the temperature’s close to freezing?). I bought a t-shirt and headed off to warm up on a nearby hill.
Sure enough, when I got back most of the gang had shown up. There were a couple of guys who were doing the 25-mile ride, but most of the group was doing the 50. Of course, then someone asked me what distance I was doing. "I’m doing the 10." "How many miles are you doing [Caloi]?" "Why don’t you just broadcast it to the world–I’m doing 10 measly miles while you guys are all doing 50!" I managed to get a few chuckles out of the group with that one. But that also lead me to the only other guy who was doing 10–Sam. He was on a junky looking bike (at first he came up to me and asked if I wanted to trade), and he was dressed in a hooded sweatshirt and some sweatpants, but he looked pretty cheerful. Perfect freezing-weather bike company, I figured. The two of us got lined up together while the 50-milers started off.
"I have to get this done pretty quickly–I have somewhere to be," Sam said.
"Yeah, I heard you tell the other guy–you have somewhere to be at 10 a.m.?"
"No, 9:30." Which meant we had a half hour, and we were starting a little late. "You think we can do it?"
Sure. Why not? That meant that instead of a leisurely recovery ride, we were in for a little fun. Immediately, we bolted to the front of the main group, announcing the whole way, "10-milers, coming through, watch out." Again, a few chuckles. Ahead of the main group was a small breakaway (it’s not like it was a race or something) containing Jason, whom I’ve ridden with a bunch before, and a cat 2 racer named Rob, the president of the Idaho Cycling Enthusiasts group that was putting on the event. I figured, what the heck, why not keep up with the ‘fast guys.’ So we hard-charged and quickly caught and passed those two. I mean, heck, it’s not like we needed to save our energy for something.
I think our passing got the egos a flarin’ because the breakaway started hard-charging after us, and when I came to a point of hesitation–where the course said to turn when I was sure we were supposed to go straight–they caught up, and we blended. I’d already spent almost the entire time on the front, so I was okay with sucking the energy out of two ‘fast guys’ who were still in the warm up phase of their ride.
We drifted off the back as we came to the far corner of our ride–where our courses would stop overlapping. I moved off and let Sam take the front for a while into a beastly headwind. We rode about a mile in that direction until we turned final and headed back to the race point. Sam was keeping a good pace–especially when you take into account the fact that he was riding a junkier chromoly bike and was wearing some decidedly un-aerodynamic duds. Nonetheless, when it came time for me to take my pulls, which were appropriately a little longer, I’d have to let up a little and Sam would struggle to get on my wheel–especially on the backside of the course.
I left him behind just a little at the end of the ride before we got back, and then I let him know how tough he’d been. I was impressed to say the least. "Heck, on a better bike and with some slightly more aerodynamic garb, you’d have been kicking butt."
For me, the ride was just a fun reminder that I do enjoy the occasional group ride, even if it’s been a while since I’ve been on one. Maybe I should get back into that scene sometime. I’ll bet it’d be fun.
P.S. I’m suddenly realizing that none of this has anything to do with cancer or cancer research, except for the fact that our money went toward that cause. Don’t go thinking I’m heartless or don’t care or something, because I do. I’ve even had a relative die from cancer, but that wasn’t really on my mind when I agreed to do the ride. I hope we make some serious progress in the field of cancer research (special thanks to our very own cancer researcher, Botched).