Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Riding Buddy Fail

This morning my plan was to ride the "hill route".  While we are in a primarily flat area there is a nice collection of short 8-11% grades near the lake that you can hit in quick succession.  I had coordinated the night before with riding buddy Keith to meet up while on the warm-up portion of the route.  That didn't exactly work out ......

I managed to leave on time as soon as Angelia returned from her 5:30-6:30am swim (better her than me at that time!).  My route started northbound which meant a warm-up in a headwind (what's new?).  There was a bit of a mist in the air and it wasn't too bright out.  Still, I had my dark lenses in expecting the sun to be popping up.  Keith was going to be riding in the opposite direction from his house until we spotted each other.  There were no other riders out until right about the point I expected to see him.  Bingo!  I spot a Rockwall Cycling jersey and red handlebars.

Keith and I with our relay partners after the TMS Duathlon
Mistake 1: Keith has a red frame, not red bar tape!  I should have realized that regardless of what else I saw through my mist covered dark lenses across a multi-lane divided highway.  I sit up and raise my hand high in the air to signal him and he responds in kind.  I slow down and pull to the side waiting for him to turn around and join me.  A couple dogs check out me and my bike but they seem friendly so I don't worry about them too much.  Where's Keith?  There was a good spot to turn around right there - why did he pass it?  For some reason the dogs start getting agitated.  A little pacing and subtle growls plus a third dog charging across the field tell me it's time to get moving.  I go up the road a bit, make a u-turn, and head south thinking maybe Keith was confused about the route and was waiting for me.  Not only was he not at the intersection but he was nowhere in sight.

Mistake 2: Keith would have waited.  No doubt about it.  For some reason I start to entertain thoughts like perhaps he didn't realize that was me back there and he would still be plugging away southbound looking for me.  A ridiculous thought for sure as the giant hand signal I gave earlier went well beyond the usual "acknowledging a fellow cyclist mini-wave".  In the end I added several miles to my warm-up and got the lucky bonus of doing the northbound section into the wind again.  Yea!

Keith had some time limitations so I knew that even if we found each other at this point he would have to break off on his own anyway.  Looks like this would be a solo hill route after all.  All of a sudden I hear a bike coming up behind me.  It pulls alongside, I take a look, and think "Crap! Red handlebars and a Rockwall Cycling jersey, but I don't know this guy!"  I asked the obvious question and yes, this is the guy I waved to earlier on.  He was doing threshold intervals per his coach, which happens to also be my coach.  We chatted a bit before hitting a main intersection where he turned back for his next interval and I headed to the hills.

The route had about 1200ft of climbing and as you can see the majority of it is packed in a 12 mile long segment from mile 14 to 26.  1200ft may not be a lot on a long ride but packed into that distance it's enough to get your attention, especially at grades up to 11%.  I conquered the first few with relative ease but when I hit the real stuff (around mile 19 on the graph) it was obvious I wasn't going to have my best day.  The hills just seemed longer today.  I made it up all of them and completed the route, which by the way is a heck of a lot more than I accomplished my first time through these hills, but my performance just didn't meet the level I thought I was at now.  Oh well, workout completed.  Side note: The day never got any brighter nor did it get warmer.  In fact, by the time I got home it was 57 degrees, windy, and wet.  It never really bothered me while riding even though I was in minimal gear, probably because I was focused on keeping my heart in my chest at the crest of each climb.

I did of course touch base with Keith when I got home and the story just got crazier.  Those who have followed this blog may recall me switching out the color scheme on my bike, changing out the yellow tires and bar tape for red.  Hmmmm, I was on a bike with RED BAR TAPE and wearing a ROCKWALL CYCLING JERSEY ...... sound familiar?  Yep, Keith spotted that other guy too ..... and followed him.  However, Keith being smarter than me on this particular morning realized his error sooner and turned back.  I believe we actually were both heading south at the same time out of each other's sight then turned around and headed north at the same time.  Obviously, that's a difficult way to cross paths.  Oh well, guess there's always next time.


Dawn said...

Was it a good workout regardless?:)
(The dogs always get me moving. You sound braver than i!)

Tri4Success said...

Dawn, hill climbs always make for a good workout! Thanks for commenting.

info said...

The poor guy who probably thought...who are these two and why do they turn around and keep following me...damm stalkers!

B.o.B. said...

I am impressed with anyone who cycles like that. I'm new to the tri, and the bike is my weak link. I'll be coming back to your blog for tips for sure!

And yeah, it would be difficult meeting up with someone that way. LOL!

Shannon (IronTexasMommy) said...

Nicely done on the climbs! :) Just looked at your race schedule and looks like we'll get the opportunity to meet at the Hooty's Kids Tri! I'm the mktg dir. for the hospital that puts it on and I'll be out there volunteering! Yay!

Tri4Success said...

@info - I assume this is Keith .... No doubt the guy was much relieved when we finally got a chance to chat and shared a laugh at my stupidity.

@B.o.B. - We're all new to the tri too! Bike is my strongest and I have yet to even hit the pool this year.

@Shannon - Awesome! Both boys are excited and I was thrilled to find any event that allowed a 4yr old. We may also do the Try the Tri as a test run (if I ever start swimming).

Michael said...

That's a hilarious story! But glad you still got your ride in!

Mike said...

Very nice hill workout! Funny story about meeting up. At least you got a decent workout.