Nowadays between primarily leading weekly NEMBA rides and getting together to ride with friends I don't often find myself suiting up for friendly hammerfests. This year has changed that a bit. My involvement with NEMBA Racing has gotten me connected with plenty of folks that love to suffer and are hellbent on getting faster. Not a bad thing but man does it hurt.
Shawn Smith (AKA the Ride Bully) is exceptionally adept at attracting fast riders to his rides and he loves planning BIG days and seeing how the cards (or riders) fall. I was on the fence about this one because I had some stuff to get done around the house but Saturday I was very efficient and was able to free myself up to tag along. Unfortunately for me I started scanning the email thread and the roll call was looking like a bunch of fast guys and some even faster guys for good measure (like guys who race Pro/Elite and two Expert Vet I podium finishers at the NH100, 1st and 3rd, fast). It's been awhile since I've been one of the slow guys in a group ride of 8-10.
But this is good, I feel like I've plateaued a bit lately. I've been getting stronger every year but I'm at that point where if I want to get any faster I have to find some local heroes and get on their wheels, or try to get on their wheels anyway. Today was tough, the heat was actually pretty brutal for Sept and the pace was constant, not blistering but always fast.
I got off to a really ridiculous start, ride was almost over before I even made it a mile. We were cruising along in the equivalent of a neutral rollout (15mph on flatish singletrack) and I was chatting with Steve about how wide his seatstays were on his new SS and then I was on the ground looking back at Carl asking him what the hell just happened. Turns out I struck my pedal on a stump and my bike stopped dead and I went flying. Quite hilarious really. It happened so fast I had no clue, just a loud noise and me airborne. For reference imagine securing a braided steel cable; one end to your bike and the other end to a 4 ton cement block in the parking lot. The cable is about 4 tenths of a mile long...now ride away from the parking lot at a brisk pace. Unfortunately because we hadn't even gotten a mile away from the parking lot my goPro was not on...woe is me.
Banged up my left knee a bit on impact but it was decent for the rest of the ride (stiffening up nice now though). I think the heat was affecting some of my trail awareness and reaction time because I was having a real issue with pedal strike all day which is usually never an issue. And my pedals are now totally whupped, they were old as it was but now one of the bearings sounds like a duck quacking when you spin it.
Unfortunately I hit the stop button on my Garmin with one of my appendages while I continued forward and my bike did not so my data got a bit messed up because it took me awhile to notice. My legs felt pretty good. Most everything else didn't though thanks to the heat but I've got some good post NH100 fitness going. Hopefully I can stay strong through the last few races of the year. I am really looking forward to some 60 degree riding temps after today. Can't wait for Fall riding.
Made a quick edit with the footage I got. Tried a new angle but didn't want to mess with it much because I was too busy trying to keep up with those damn speed demons. I'm not sure how I feel about the new angle. I like the perspective but it does a hell of a job flattening everything out. Even the steep techy descents look basically pancake flat. Kind of a bummer, I was hoping some of the footage was going to look much better, but I like how it came out. Time to drive some traffic to NEMBA Racing...for the vid go here.