Undertrained and undergunned

Sunday I did a benefit road ride with a very strong group. Was it fun? Well, it was sort of like a long road ride …

Occasion: Last weekend were two big fundraising events for the new Colorado High School Cycling League. Saturday was the benefit dinner and auction; Sunday was the benefit ride and lunch.

Preparation: Finley and Fiona. Seven months without sleep. Tons of work. Vastly reduced riding time. Dramatically increased intensity. Generally increased toughness.

Equipment: The Ultra Mighty S-Works Tricross with road tires. Wow, what an awesome ride. Quick, smoooooth, agile, confidence inspiring. The only issue: it doesn’t do long climbs very well. At least not with me on it.

Crew: Your typical collection of cycling heros and citizen hammerheads. Dave Weins, Susan DeMatei, Davis Phinney, Connie Carpenter, some young pros, the figureheads from NICA and NorCal, Lennard Zinn, a fast group in Boulder is a fast group.

Route: From downtown Boulder through the rolling hills toward Lyons, up Left Hand Canyon Road to Jamestown, then back to town over Olde Stage Rd. Almost 50 miles, with a brisk pace and a fair bit of climbing.

Tick, tick, boom! I road at the front of the A group — and felt good about it — for exactly 70 minutes. At that point we hit a steep pitch and the captains pushed the pace. Blammo, off the back I went. I wasn’t hurting, I just couldn’t go as fast as those guys (and gals). It’s ridiculous how fast a fast climber climbs.

Regroup: NICA founder Matt Fritzinger and I formed up at the front of the B group and pinned it down Highway 36. You know cycling is the new golf, and we had a nice little work chat. I started feeling better, and we bridged up toward the A group.

A or B? While the B group headed straight back to Boulder over Olde Stage, the A group kept climbing to Jamestown. I was on the tail of the A group, not feeling like more climbing, but wanting to descend and not wanting to quit. I sat up for a minute to decide which way to go. When I looked up I was alone. That’s fine: I’ll mosey along until the A group comes back down, then I’ll latch on.

Heroic: I’ve always been a huge fan of Dave Weins, longtime racer and recent hero of the Leadville 100. My first real mountain bike was a 1989 Diamondback Apex, and I rocked the day-glow team kit just like Dave and his wife Susan DeMatei. As I slogged up Left Hand, he cruised through — apparently coming from the B group — and we chatted. Super nice guy. And: He also has twins! Knowing he put the Leadville screws to Lance Armstrong with twin boys plus another boy at home makes him the biggest stud ever.

Here they come! As I neared Jamestown, riders started trickling down. When I saw Matt’s group I latched on and immediately felt better. Nothing like a fast, twisty descent to boost my spirit.

Pinning it! Oh man, I love descending on road bikes. So much precision. So much traction. Laying into corners, setting edges, waiting for the tires to break loose, but they keep holding. I worked my way through the slow traffic and found myself in a group of cycling heroes and citizen hammerheads. We sprinted out of corners, set up passes, railed sweepers and basically pulled each other down the road. I felt awesome. A few powerful strokes here and there took me to the front, and clean lines kept me there. Oh man so fun!

Boom! We turned right on Olde Stage Road and started climbing. BLAMMO! Off the back I went. Seriously, from the front of the big group to the very back in like a minute. Crazy. But hey man, I spent what I had, and I spent it willingly.

Regroup: The group waited for me on Lee Hill Road — super kind — and we rolled through town. Hillarious: I found myself pushing the pace on the short climbs. Someone yelled, “Hey there Fast Twitch!” I was like, “Hey man, that’s all I got, and I’m gonna rock it.”

Lunch! We all met at Bácaro for an Italian lunch. The Wife came down with Finn and Fe. Dave and Susan held my babies! That was a big moment for me; I wish I had a photo.

Know more. Have more fun!

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