Two weeks from now I’ll have completed the 2012 Bike MS: Pedal to the Point in northern Ohio. It’s a 180 mile bike ride over two days. The ride goes right through the best part of Ohio: the flat part and the part that I lived in for 18 years of my life. This is my 5th year riding a Bike MS ride and my first time riding in northern Ohio. I can’t wait to make the trip. I have one more training weekend to go. Next Sunday evening I’ll be disassembling my bike, packing it into a bike case, and trusting its care to FedEx so that I can have it for the ride. If you’re able, please consider supporting my participation by making a donation to the MS Society. Every little bit helps. I continue to participate in this event because I’ve seen too many friends and family affected by the disease and I hope to see a cure in my lifetime.
This weekend I participated in the Tres Burritos ride sponsored by Bicycle Sport Shop, a very friendly and supportive local bike shop here in Austin. I chose the “Go the distance” route which left from their Parmer Lane shop, about 9 miles from my house. The longest “distance” route was only 60 miles so I knew I needed to add miles in order to continue to follow my training plans. With that in mind, I set out from my home on my bike at 6:35 am (!!) to make it to the shop in time to check in before we rolled out at 7:30 am. I made it in plenty of time. The morning was humid but nice.
I don’t have many photos to share from Saturday’s ride for good reason. I got caught up in the intermediate pace group a number of times. In a pace group you ride close together to take advantage of the aerodynamics of the group and therefore it requires concentration and no one-handed picture taking while riding your bike. I made it out to Andice, TX in good time mostly on my own. The rest stop was at the Andice General Store and I paused there to grab some snacks and fill up on water and ice from the gigantic water reservoir and ice chest.
After that stop, I headed west into a decent headwind on a bumpy road. After crossing 183 with the assistance of an off-duty sheriff keeping a watchful eye on traffic, I headed into an area with some short rolling hills. At that point, the intermediate pace group passed me and because of their aerodynamic assistance, I was able to ride with them for quite some time, which made my speed increase considerably. I rode in this group of about 20 – 25 men for quite some time before being ejected out the back on some hills where I couldn’t build up as much speed as larger men on nice light bikes. During that time I realized what riding in the peloton must be like. Smelly! I could no longer smell the nice fresh air any longer and could only smell sweatiness. Thanks guys.
I made it back to the rest stop in Andice for another fuel stop. I caught the pace group again which had dwindled in number and rode with them for much longer, until about 12 miles remained at which point the riders stopped at a rest stop and I kept going. I knew I wanted to get back to Bicycle Sport Shop as early as possible so that I could grab my t-shirt and tacos and then ride the 9 miles home. The pace groups make riding in wind so much easier and I was very grateful for their assistance. I am not fast or strong enough to lead a group that fast in the wind so I was sure to keep to the middle or back of the group to avoid getting caught in the lead position.
After making it back to Bicycle Sport Shop, I picked up my event t-shirt and two free veggie tacos from One Taco. With 9 miles to ride before making it home, I didn’t want to eat my tacos yet, so I rearranged all my stuff so that I could put both the tacos and my t-shirt into my jersey pockets. I’m sure I looked ridiculous from behind but it was well worth it. Those tacos were delicious! I ended up riding 79 miles that day. I expect that this is my peak training distance for this season.
On Sunday I planned to sleep in (and I did, kinda) but was still on my bike by 7:45 am because my body is so used to waking up early these days. It was another nice morning, although breezier than Saturday. I rode a more residential route so my pace was lower. It was also shadier. Part of my ride was in the Balcones Country Club area. I love riding through some of the older neighborhoods like this one in northwest Austin. The houses have interesting and eclectic architecture and are shaded by huge trees. My ride ended at 36 miles. A very good riding weekend.