Thursday, August 19, 2010

Women's Ride

As Ironman training has wrapped up for me for the year, I am finding time to do some of the things I have been waiting all summer to do. Wednesday nights, that means joining the local Women's Ride leaving from North Boulder. Oh, what fun!

Last night was my second showing, and it was a good one. Nine of us rolled out from the Bus Stop just after 5:30. The ride was started this summer to let local women, from various teams and abilities, meet and try and ride fast with each other, further developing the local women's racing scene. The purpose of this weekly ride is to ride hard, practice your attacks, sprints, counter attacks, etc. all within the company of a bunch of fast women cyclists. Most of those who turn out are category 3 and 4 racers who have raced at least a year or two, but all women are welcome. That's a good thing for me and my developing cyclist-legs. Yes, they even welcome triathletes! In fact, last week there were two of us tri-sport types, and we both did fine.

This ride is run as a drop ride, meaning show up ready to ride hard and be ready to work your tail off to stay with the group if needed, or ride home on your own if you get chewed up and spit out the back of the group. They are not waiting for you at the next light if you fall off the back, you can chit-chat but at your own risk of missing the next attack, and there are no hard feelings if you're the one up front pushing the pace and blowing everyone else away. That's not to say that the ride is anti-social or unsafe. We keep it friendly, but push each other as we are able and ride as hard as we can (of course, in the pack has its advantages and allows you to adjust your personal intensity to some extent, if you can stick with them!), and you always have the option of trying to cover an attack or sit up and block, just like in a race situation.

This all boils down to just the kind of suffer fest I need to start sharpening me up for the 4-day stage race in Steamboat Springs over Labor Day. And, oh, did I suffer last night! I think it was definitely harder than the week before, the attacks just never seemed to stop!

We modified the route yesterday a tad as some of the county and state roads are currently being chip sealed and are at various stages of fresh oil, tar, and gravel. We rode up 36 to Neva, then 63rd, jogged to 65th, turned right on St. Vrain Road, and rolled into Hygene before tacking on a baby-Box loop up and around Highway 66. The attacks were frequent, and I did my share of initiating them, but my legs were loudly protesting too much effort. Twice I was off the back and dropped hard, but both times I willed my way back to the group. We stopped on the return through Hygene for fresh water (it started hot last night!), then headed south on 75th to Neva/Niwot road and retraced our path to the Bus Stop. I lead the pack up Neva and covered attacks up until Highway 36 was in sight, but my legs were toast by the time we reached the small climb up to the highway, and I soon found myself spit out the back again.

Ahead were 3 of my teammates and 2 other fast chicas, and behind me were two more who joked that they were not connected to anyone who had stolen my legs for the night (where did they go???). As we rolled back into town, I caught Tasha and Lorna, but the other 3 were out of sight off the front. Fast!

What a great night! It was beautiful out there, not just because of the lovely Front Range scenery, but because of the healthy dose of Fast and Hard that we kept throwing at each other. And we even threw in a little double pace line on Highway 66 just for kicks. Good stuff!

I rode all the way back to the start then turned for home, turning on my two headlights and rear blinky tail light as the daylight was fastly fading. I took the ~4 miles of downhill and flat to try and spin out the legs some, but still needed ~30 minutes in the NormaTech to flush them out well enough to sleep last night. There is hope that my legs are making a return from Ironman Lake Placid! Yeah!

Ride on (and join us next week, if you're a local chica)!

P.S. One of the night's highlights was getting home and having dinner waiting. E spoils me! On the menu was home made fried rice with odds and ends from the fridge, including veggies from our CSA allotment, yum! Fried rice was the perfect accompaniment for fried bike-legs!


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goSonja said...

Hey Amber! Great to race with you today. Great job out there! Your fierce girlfriend!

It you email me your address I will send you the podium pictures my hubby snapped.

Sonjawieck AT mac DOT com