Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Chase

Just a grey sky with hint of rain greeting us when we woke up and fed.  Must have been day 3 or 4.  I really am a morning person but sometimes it takes me a while to get up to par.  Today was no exception.  I tried stalling to let me friends head off without me but that did not work.  Joe decided to stick with us.  I was not really in a mood for fast bike action.  I like to warm up slowly, hitting proper operational status by mile 20.  But I was in a fast crowd and I knew I'd be dropped.

Leaving town I spotted a photographic opportunity.  The Bad River.  Never have seen nor heard of the Bad River.  Could not let this one pass.  I yelled to Mary and Joe but they rolled on.  Just as well for I'd be miserable trying to keep up until I was ready for the ram-jam biking that had been the order of the day.  Of course, I stopped on the bottom of a hill.

RASDAK is held the first full week of June.  Ride Across South Dakota was in its second year.  This was our third bicycle adventure in this state.  Unlike Ragbrai, it is often cold.  After about the third hill I had to stop and take my jacket off.  Despite keeping Mary and Joe within visual distance for some mile this break separated us for good.  Time to focus.

Drink some water and focus.  Start riding in the drops.  Shift to big ring and keep leg speed up.  By mile 10 I was up to speed.  Respectable 20s.  Feeling good.  Leg speed was good, plenty of power and no fatigue.  Found that perfect spot between pain and speed.  No issues from my back being contorted to allow me to keep my hands in the drops.  Another drink of water and keep pushing on.

Finally I saw the turn.  The rest stop was set up and many bikers were standing around.  I went through my checklist: speed good, body not in pain, no need to pee since I did that a few miles back causing me to drop further behind, still in the drops, water bottle adequate for another 10 miles and 2 Powerbars just in case. And yes, bicycle functioning perfectly.

I could make out their faces.  They were watching me.  My friends who traveled here with me every year. How long had they been there?  It was a T intersection.  Left or right or straight on the gravel parking lot that served as the rest stop.  Left was the direction we were to go.

I looked to the right, no cars or bikes.  The left was clear as well.  My speed was good and I was still in the drops and in big ring.  Keep it up.  Look for cracks and prepare to lean the LeMond into a left turn without losing speed.  HAMMER!

The town was maybe 7 or 10 miles.  What would that be, 20 minutes?  Keep it up!  They would give chase.  the road was flat and the wind was nonexistent.  Stay in the drops, spin high in big ring and do not look back.  I could beat them there.

A few hills emerged.  Mostly rollers.  The last one into town forced me to drop out of big ring for a bit but I was almost there.  Out of the grey emerged a truck stop.  Here I will stop.  Get a water and a Mountain Dew, eat a Powerbar.  Have a banana and rest a bit.  Read the map and wait for Mary, Joe, Donnie, Jeff and Riggs.  Ask they what took so long.

The truck stop was warm.  I did not realize how wet I was.  Sweat and the moisture from the cold sky.  When they finally showed up Joe said they could not gain any ground on me.  Yeah, fat bastards have their days.  This was mine.  I had to put the jacket on when we rolled away.  I probably took it off on the second hill.

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