First I must confess that I really didn’t care all that much about doing this ride, no disrespect to the Misaligned Minds, its a nice pay ride, but I’ve done it several times, it never changes, and while the roads are nice, the low flat riverlands west of Paducah don’t make for exciting rides, but Shauna was excited and conviced me to go. We decided to make a weekend of it by camping at Land Between the Lakes Saturday night.
The only real thing I had to do for this ride was pack my bag, Shauna did all the work and organizing the camping gear. I failed miserably at my one task. I packed an extra set of riding clothes, one holy T-shirt and a pair of sweat pants. More on that later. More important at this juncture is that I had forgoten two key elements of my bike gear, water bottles, and chamois cream. The deal was that Shauna’s alarm didn’t go off, and my alarm was set an hour late on “accident.” So it was a mad dash to make the ride.
I found a small water bottle in the back of the car, but couldn’t get any luck on the Chamois cream, I thought about just going car to car and asking, but couldn’t get my line straignt,. “Pardon me, do you have any Butt Butter,” just didn’t sound right. So we all gathered up and listend to the organizer tell us there were some rough spots here and there, then he told the fast people to take off. I looked back at my wife and our two friends who were also there. At this point I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. On these rides I usually ride full blast to the first rest stop where I collapse from fatigue. I wanted to get to the front and see how long I could handle the pace today, and I wanted to go farther then the first rest stop, but I didn’t want to abondon my wife either.
I abondoned my wife and took off in about the middle of the pack. After we got through the rough roads and got out onto the opening highways I started going full bore to the front. I passed group after group of riders and was maintaing a 24 mph speed. Eventually I found what appeared to be an organized paceline and latched on. I checked my computers average, it reported an average of 21 at this point, not bad I thought to myself.
I worked my way through the line of ten or so guys then we were passed two girls and guy who were literally blasting. I jumped ship and hung with them for awhile, but realized they weren’t in this for the long haul. I found myself at the head of the peloton and looked over my shoulder, there was a line of riders behind me as far back as I could see. I got in the drops and cranked out a steady 22 miles per hour.
The first rest stop blured by to my left, three people were there. I had allready ridden around 15 miles and it felt like a few minutes. I was pretty sure that I was in front of the ride, the “Tete de Course.” Behind me the huge line of riders fell into disarry as some slowed to pull into the rest stop. My racing sense, well honed from watching a couple of races on TV, was telling me it was my chance to solo this ride to victory, but I remember it wasn’t a race and I was full of crap. So I slowed down and reconnected with a few guys, and after they followed my draft for a few minutes I pulled off.
There was a group of about 8 of us I think and someone shouted orders out to the guy in front to “pace himself.” I couldn’t believe how easy it was behind these guys. We were doing 23 mph but I was coasting more then I was pedaling. They were taking turns of about 5-10 minutes each and before long I was back in the front. The guy in front of me had been turing up the pace and sprinted up a few minor hills, I looked back and saw we had lost a guy or two. I finished my turn trying to just do a good job and pulled off. I was surprised to see we had lost a few more.
I was begining to feel guilty and we had just passed the turn off for the 40 mile route my wife would be taking so I told the 3 remaing guys that I had to go back and find my wife, and that I was near my limit anyway. The truth is I really felt fine, I felt better then fine. I felt like the King of the Lower Midwest, but I think that was mostly adrenaline.
The next 20 minutes were kind of surreal as I rode backwards through the ride and saw everyone I had passed on my mad dash to get to the front. I also realized I hadn’t ate anything yet and my small water bottle was empty, my stomach was starting to stretch itself inside out.
I found Shauna, she was doing fine and she gave me both a water bottle and half a Cliff bar. Did I mention she’s the best, like the best ever. Even better after riding about 8 miles with her she gave me the green light to go ahead and finish the 65 mile course. She’s the best.
I hammered myself to the second rest stop on the 65 mile course and met my friend Mark there. He’s a fellow member of the imploded River to River Cycling Club. I’d provide a link to the shiny website but it disapeared like the rest of the club. I rode the next 15 miles with Mark with both of us sporting our offical club jerseys I’m sure we turned some heads. We talked about all manor of things and I ate several cookies I’d snagged. We discused the sad failure of our bike club and I even found out he’s an avid reader of the Barn Door. I’m sure my high school English teacher who told me I had no business being a writer is out there turning in her transandentalist grave, actually I don’t think she’s dead yet, so scratch that.
I finished the ride and Shauna was right there waiting for me, that was nice. We went to Bike World and took a shower, that was also nice. They have a great shop and put on a great ride. I realized I didn’t bring underwear, that wasn’t so nice. I left the shop looking like a bum in a holey T-shirt and baggy sweatpants. We went to the first clothing store we came across which was Kohls, and I found a nice ten dollar pair of shorts on clearance, underwear was a little tougher. The cheapest underware I could find was a pair of Ralph Lauren boxers on sale for 7 dollars. I swear I’ve never bought a single pair of underware before, let along a single pair that cost 7 dollars. They are pretty nice though.
Camping at LBL was nice, until about 1 in the morning when the assholes camping near us started hooting and holering. See I told Shauna that LBL was a super campground and everytime I had camped there the people were great and it was very quiet, well I’m a liar. We got to listen to 80s heavy metal all afternoon, but that wasn’t so bad we could barely hear it. The drunk jerks were a different matter. I kept thinking about going to tell the rangers, but as soon as I got the nerve they would shut up. I was woken up the last time at 4:30 in the morning by their moronic drunken slurs.
I crawled out of my tent at 8 in the morning and noticed that my neighboors tents were all quiet, but their idiotic children were riding their bikes down the hill and trying to power slide, all unsupervised as their negligent parents slept off an all nighter. After several minor crashes one finally went end over end and layed sprawled out on the ground crying for awhile. No one ever came and his older brother laughed, and laughed. I guess that’s what older brothers are good for.
I decided my rear end was too sore to ride today, I had done 80 milesSaturday without Butt-ButtR. Luckily Shauna agreed and we went to do some shopping and eating in Paducah. Moral of the story, from now on Shauna needs to check my bag before I go anywhere, camping still sucks, bike riding rules.
Thank you, and good night.