Those were some of the thoughts blasting through my head when I set out from my house this morning. I figured I'd ride over to RBM. Did you know that RBM was Lance's first sponsor? Yes that RBM. These dudes are serious. Its something like 8 miles from my house to RBM. So I left a bit after 8:00am and rode over there. The east-west rides come right by my house. The 47 mile ride looked good distance wise, and I could dump out at my house on the way back. But those dudes average 20-21 MPH. I have never averaged that pace. But in a group - would it be different? Ya know if I get dropped so what, I could fall back to the next group or finish solo.
As I pulled out on Renner Road on my way to RBM, there was a guy on a bike heading my direction. After a couple of miles he caught up to me. His name was Scott and he was like 10 feet tall. He was on an absolutely huge bike. Scott told me he was also heading to RBM. He was finishing up the 47 mile loop that he started at 0600 and then he was going to do it again with the group. I told you these guys are serious. And of course I am kinding asking him if the pace is gonna kill me. And he is kinda not really saying anything - which is smart - thats what I would do. I would not want any blame for blowing up a newbie. He is like,"how long you been riding?" Which I figure is dumb question since I am wearing my 15 dollar Wal-mart helmet; a Brooks running singlet; and lets not forget my 'dangerously" wired 15 dollar GT bike computer. Pretty much I am screaming rookie. Oh yeah and I was also jamming out with the ipod. So I tell Scott - six months. But Scott told me that I was welcome to hook with his 0600 group any time. So I might do that. Scott was wearing Plano Cycle Mart team colors. PCM is where I bought my bike. Terry says PCM is the anti RBM bike shop - whatever that means. I figure the PCM dudes are cooler than the RBM dudes.
Scott and I arrived at RBM at like 0840. The killer group was scheduled to depart at 0905. I went into RBM and got me some Mocha Gel stuff. In all the years that I ran Marathons - I never ever took a gel. But I only had a Red Bull before heading out this morning and if I was going to hang with the maniacs, I figured I needed something for an edge. I went back outside and sat down on a bench and consumed the gel. As I was sitting there another dude rode up and was like "Chris?". Hot dog! Someone I knew! It was another permenantly-barred-from running, and former-member-of-my-running-group - none other than Mr. Dave DeSosa! (Check out Dave's 2:05 800m and my 4:30 1500m time here. Those were the days.)
So Dave and I talked. Dave usually goes out with the slower group. But today he was going to run with the big dogs. That was perfect for me - since I had already stupidly talked myself into that group as well! Dave was a bit concerned about my ability to keep up. But I had pretty much made up my mind. Big Dogs or die trying!
So off we we went. Did I mention I have NEVER ridden in group before? So I get on the back of the pack along with Dave. It was then that I learned lesson #1. These dudes rocket from a dead stop and if you fall off the back its a bitch getting caught up. So it took a couple of stops for me to get with that program. Once I figured that out I was cool, but as I rocketed up from the start I was no longer in the back of the pack. Now that was scary. Overall things were good. Dave said as soon as we got out in the boonies, these guys would drop the hammer. Whatever. We'll just deal with that when the time comes.
I hung with the group for about six miles or so. Until we got to SH190, AKA The Bush. We hit the light there. When I did the rocket manuever I heard - Pthphthphth. That could mean only one thing. A flat tire. BTW in the exact location where McGehee split his head open! This was probably a sign from the good lord that I should not be riding with the Big Dogs. Also this represents another strike against Terry - who recommened these super duper no flat tires.
I am getting pretty damn good a repairing a flat. Frankly its a skill that I'd rather not be the expert. The 18MPH pace RBM group leaves five minutes later than the Big Dog group. The dogs are faster - so I had something more that five minutes before the next group would come along. I had the tube on and was getting the tire back on the rim when the next group went by. BTW I had picked up a staple through the sidewall. I got the bike together and started to chase the Not Quite Big Dog group.
One problem that I had was that I only had a vague idea of the route that they were taking. So I figured worse case, if I did not catch the Not Quite Big Dog group and maybe even if I did catch them, I might double back and try to pick up the Big Dog group. Anyway when I got to Sachse, I saw some riders heading out on 78. I figured I'd head to Miles Road. I thought I saw another guy going that way. And he went that way but he did not turn on Miles. He kept going north down a road I was not familiar with. What the heck. I kept following that guy and low and behold I went right by the RBM Not Quite Big Dog group who were waiting to turn on the road I was on. And they were coming my direction. I was in front of them though! Acckkkk. It had taken me about ten miles of hard riding to get caught back up. I was a bit bushwhacked at that point.
We were coming to an intersection so I waved trying to figure out if I should turn. Indeed they all started screaming RIGHT! Excellent. I hooked the right hand turn, and there were a buncha riders from the Big Dog group waiting there. Including Mr. DeSosa! Apparently if you get dumped from the Big Dogs - this intersection is where you catch the next group. So now I was back in the pack and hanging pretty good. We did a big loop of Sachse, and as we headed back to Richardson - I got dropped. Dave helped me work back. Then I got dropped again. I was toast. Eventually a group of about six of us formed and we headed back to RBM.
I found Dave. He told me he got dropped from the fast group. He told me that I did well under the circumstances. Still I feel like a complete rookie and am in WAY over my head!
Distance: 52.756 Miles
Max Velocity 34.5 MPH
Ave Velocity 18.7 MPH
Ave HR 168 BPM
Max HR 192 BPM :-)
My HR profile will qwell any doubts that I was working hard today:
Tags: Texflats Cycling Richardson Bike Mart
All views expressed in this post and on this blog are my own. None of my comments should be construed to represent the views of others including and not limited to: BMC Software Inc., Corel Corporation, Dun and Bradstreet and AC Nielsen. Copyright Chris Hughes 2004-2012