Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lemonade, 50 Cents

Last week I spoke of a ride inspired by the efforts of Frank Schleck and the prospect of being chased down by Action Figure Bill. But for every great ride a guy (or gal) has, there is a price to be paid. Yesterday, I paid.
It started out as just another after work ride. I was looking at doing what has turned into the "usual loop", then Bill drops the line on me, "You're getting pretty well adapted to this loop. We need to mix it up a little. It'll be good for you!"
I was feeling good, so I ignored the classic "it'll be good for you" warning sign. It wouldn't be long before I would regret this blunder.
It was the usual route at first, until we got around Fayson Lakes, and we did...THE TURN!! I got the overall description of the new leg of the ride, and was informed that I had two hard climbs to look forward to. And sure enough, we came to a hill. As I struggled up over the hill (literally and perhaps metaphorically), AFB rode by me like I was standing still and yelled over, "This isn't one of the hard ones".
And he was right. The next one was MUCH harder. I dug deep down into my reserves to muster up the energy to enquire if this was one of the hard ones. Fortunately (I think), it was. As we crested the hill, there was a lemonade stand with a sign saying LEMONADE 50 Cents. Sadly, it was unattended. And I can tell you, some little kid missed a big sale, because I was prepared to throw down a five and say "Keep that sugar water coming!!"
We had a little teaser of a down hill, and then back up. This was the second hard climb. The difficulty wasn't so much in the grade as it was in the duration. Every time I thought I was at the top, my enthusiasm was beat down by the sight of another pitch up. Somewhere in this climb, Action Figure Bill graciously parted with the last of his Nuuns and a couple of shot blocks, which was manna from Heaven at that point. And eventually the climb did end, and we were back on the original course. From there, we still had a fair bit of riding to do, but we put foot to pedal and finished it out.
Fortunately for me, I made it to town just before Nature's Enerqi closed, so I could grab my power ball and an iced tea to pull me the rest of the way home, where I proceeded to collapse. They say that which does not kill you makes you stronger. I have hopes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Want to Be Frank Schleck When I Grow Up!!

Today was one of those days where what started out as a ride disaster turned into by best solo ride of the year so far. If it was a solo ride, why is it the Waffler's Blog? Because although he did not ride, Action Figure Bill was a driving force.

I had wanted to ride today because I had two big inspirations from the Tour de France today: Frank Schleck doing a heroic ride in support of his brother, Andy, and Thor Hushovd serving the Manx Mouth, er Missile, Mark Cavendish a tall glass of shut up. Bill was not able to ride, but urged me on to the road. And so I eventually set out. Five miles in to the ride, I reached for my water bottle for a drink, and realized that I had left something very important at home. You guessed it! There was no way I could do twenty-three miles with no water. I was ready to turn it around and go home, but as a last ditch effort, I put in a call to Action Figure Bill for some Waffler Team Car assistance. He was not quite home from his errands, but he said he would stop at his house, snag a water bottle, and me me along the route. All of a sudden, it was on!

Now, don't get the idea that I thought I was going to beat Bill in his car, but I just wanted to be farther along than he would be expecting when he caught up with me. I figured I could at least make it to the top of the big hill at Kinnelon before my water drop. So I dropped the hammer, and took off. I made great time to the base of the hill, and as I started the climb, i couldn't tell if it was from the exertion or the excitement of the chase. Every time I heard a car behind, I was checking to see if it was Bill. All of a sudden, I was Frank Schleck climbing the Col de la Colombiere. And when I crested the climb and still did not see the car, any pain from the climb was flushed away, and I threw myself back into the frantic pace.

When I came around the lakes, I was torn between the thrill of not having been caught by the team car,, and concern for lack of water since I was getting a bit dry in the throat. Bill caught up just at the right time, handed me one water bottle and doused me with another, and I got back on the pace. Because it was getting a little dark, Bill tracked me the rest of the way back, and hopefully got a few good pix. And this ride was wrapped up with a 15.3 MPH average pace, and two slices of pizza.

And that's how a ride started as a disaster, and wound up wild! (for me at least)