A Confession of Sorts
I had been preparing for this ride, building up to it. Some might call it training, but I’m not usually consistent or well-thought-out enough in my approach to cycling for it constitute “training.” Basically, I had been striving to ride longer distances once each week, with a (hopefully) better pace than before. In short, the work payed off. I finished the 33-mile ride in approximately 2hrs, 36 min., with an average speed of 12.8 mph (excluding time spent at two rest/SAG stops).
This was the second year I’ve participated in this ride (check the short Archive list for last year’s notes), and it was, again, one of the best organized cycling rides. The course is just fantastic and, although no one has any control over it, so was the weather. The ride was scheduled earlier in the Summer than the previous year (or years, I’m not sure of their history) which may have helped with the weather.
It was also coordinated to sync with the first ever “Pork Tenderloin Throwdown” event.
Apparently, the Pork Tenderloin sandwich is the “Official Sandwich of the State of Indiana.” Really? Who knew that was a thing? But, I digress…
As good as all the individual elements were that day, it was somewhat personally overshadowed by the realization that I’m a bit of a jerk, at least as far as cycling/riding companions go. Y’see, my friend and usual ride partner CheapCyclist, had climbed into the bike saddle for this ride, as well (and he brought extra friends, too! Something I couldn’t pull off), despite having some setbacks and frustration with his own cycling training/preparedness. I knew this. He had even publicly posted about it here. This is the guy who is/was the encourager/motivator that got me and the Lazarus bike out of retirement. And yet…
When the ride started, off we rolled like the Four Cyclists of the Apocalypse. Since it is NOT a race (y’hear that Paul!?), there is not a large, group start. As long as you begin the course by a certain time, you’re good to go at your own pace. Now, CheapCyclist is fond of quoting from one of his favorite cycling bloggers, “If there is more than one bike, its a race.” While we weren’t racing in any sort of technical sense, we only clung together as a quartet, for oh, I don’t know the first few miles?
I felt like I was riding strong, but trying to not be the front runner. At one point early on, I was big-gear speeding through a nice downhill when I tried to gear down for an approaching uphill…and got my chain wedged between the chain ring and guard. I didn’t fall, but it certainly took a few moments to 1) realize what happened, 2) safely stop and get off the bike, 3)get my gloves and fingers incredibly grease-covered while yanking the chain free, and 4) finally getting back on the bike to continue.
Later, after the lunch stop at the Lake Santee Sea Shack, I got a serious leg/muscle cramp in my right thigh/quad that I thought would wreck me for sure. Thankfully, I was able to soft-pedal my way through it, it ceased being a major concern, and I finished the ride.
Anyway, without any pictures whatsoever of the course to distract you, and for brevity’s sake, I’ll get to the main point.
CheapCyclist was riding conservatively for his own well-being and was resolutely following his plan to not overextend his pace beyond what he was comfortable with that day. Again, I knew this. My chagrin and regret is that I did absolutely NOTHING to encourage, support or assist him in his efforts.
CheapCyclist rode the course essentially alone, the highs, the lows, the thrown chain, all of it. (with the exception of an unknown cyclist sidling up to him near the end, not that I was around to witness it, though).
Near the end of the ride, my conscience TRIED to overtake me by suggesting I stop and wait so we could at least finish together. But selfishness in the guise of shade and a non-bike place to sit kicked my altruism to the curb (somewhat literally).
As glad as I was with the ride overall, this reminder of my self-centered pettiness made it a less enjoyable experience than last year. I permitted my own task/goal-oriented character to cast a shadow on what should have been another great, shared ride with a friend.
To @CheapCyclist, I extend an OVERDUE apology. I’m sorry for being a jerk.