Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ride for the Ages

My memories of Memorial weekend are of loading up the car and rolling out to the Quad Cities for three days of suffering in shitty weather, drawing straws to see would sleep on the floor, and eating my height in Subway turkey sandwiches (they were cheap).

As much as I miss the proverbial demarcation line of the "real" racing season, I no longer do these things. I am, if you remember, a self proclaimed recreational cyclist. A "boludo globero" if you will (another day, another blog). Therefore, Memorial weekend was comprised of work and play.

"Work", because I worked at the shop on Saturday. It was a busy day because most people don't bother to think ahead about Bike the Drive, an early morning, closed course ride on the historic Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. Most can't seem to figure out how to pump their tires up with the "skinny" valves. And most people are manic grumpy chumps anyway.

All the bad washed away with the door's quiet whoosh behind me as I rolled away from the shop to begin my two days off. In a row!

Sunday started off rainy, which threw a wrench into the plans of a 6:30 AM start time. After just getting over a nasty 7 day flu last week, I wasn't going to ride 3+ hours in Mother Nature's tears. So, I went back to bed for an hour or so and then woke up to watch the 2007 Giro's best stage yet on RAI. By the time the race was over and I eased my grip from the armrests of my chair, the sun was shining and I was inspired.

I rolled westward on a ride that is only known as "Batavia". I rode hard into a gusting headwind and suffered much of the way. It felt good. I also enjoyed the idea that it would be a wind I would sail home on.

Monday was epic, as far as rides have been for me the past several years. I haven't been riding with many of my old mates (they all moved, live far away, or have different schedules) so it was a treat to see the two Jasons along with the perpetually reliable Dr. Giggles. We rode at a steady pace going out and stopped for coffee and laughs at the usual spot.

We took a slightly different way home than what I usually do on Jason W's recommendation. This turned out to be yet another route I will add to my book of rides. I will dub it the Batavia Screw. We rolled through some nice, traffic-less, roads and tree lined streets. Before I knew it, we put the afterburners for the last 10 km. I dug deep into my reserves and suffered much, but managed to end the ride with my self respect intact. Bravo, strong men! I tip my cap to thee!

I had to be back by 10 AM, because I promised a day at Starved Rock State Park to the wife. Being late because of a bike ride breaks one of the cardinal rules of Cycling while Married (will blog on this soon) so I wasn't about to ruin my weekend. I made it home within the allowed 15 minute window. I suffered again hiking for 3.5 hours in the heat and undulating terrain, and felt adequately destroyed by day's end. I hope future Memorial weekends are this year's equal.


The King said...

Should I take you off the e-mail Chicken List? We rode to that morning as well and headed to that known as Batavia as well. Your group could have hooked up with us to make one Grandiose group. I guess you don't want to ride with us no more?

Strangelife said...

Nah. But, you guys leave too late for my schedule (usually). 8:00 AM, as I recall. Roll with us a little earlier sometimes and beat the heat at 6:30 AM. The wife and I only share two days off a month together. So, to ensure I don't spark her wrath, I ride early.