After all the traveling I've been doing with work, I really had to get into training for the Hershey - NYC ride that's going down in early October. Somehow, walking the hills of San Fran just isn't the same.
Back in town, I hit the road with the Lancaster Bike Club. 42R 13 C. That means, 42 miles in rolling terrain with a 13 mph pace. I thought, yeah, I could do that, but I'm sticking with the leader who's supposed to pace-set at 13.
In past rides, I found myself starting off quickly, keeping pace with the front group. What was comfortable at first would quickly turn into a dilemma by mile 15. I wouldn't be able to keep up with the group as easily, but the trailing group was so far behind that I was worried I'd end up in cycling purgatory - not knowing where I was in rural Lancaster. Commence torture because I'll be damned if I get dropped and lost. I have too much to do on a Saturday!
Of course, at the very worst, I would just ride up to a nice-looking farm and ask to make a call. If it happened to be an Amish house, I would see if they could buggy-ride me and my bike to a busier intersection where I might find my way.
This ride ended up having a very fast group of riders who I heard ended up averaging 17 mph. Thank goodness I didn't keep up with them. I also heard there was a huge crash. A rider got his tire stuck in a groove that the buggies often leave behind. You can usually ride your way out it. It's not pretty, but at least there's no skin breakage. This time, though, he ended up falling. Right into a grate with a huge concrete curb. I hear there are broken bones, blood, and an ambulance involved. That really sucks.
But what I remember most about the ride, which was otherwise incredibly beautiful and enjoyable, was the beauty of Lancaster country. Anytime I saw a really beautiful site, I would yell, "Postcard Moment!!" I said it a lot that day. It's also the ride that went by a buffalo farm! That's right! Can you believe it? I was enthralled.
There's nothing like riding through Lancaster. As much as I complain to my friends and family that it's not the most cosmopolitan city, there's much to savor and be thankful for. Riding is one of those things.
As we rolled into the parking lot at the finish of our ride, I asked the leader what our average speed was. He was afraid to look. "Because it was way too slow?" I asked. "No," he responded, because I'm afraid it was way too fast..." Turns out we ended with 14.2 mph. Funny, it's usually what I end up with at the end of my rides when I start out too fast and end up dying and cursing the sport. There is something to the Tortoise and the Hare after all.