Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hills of the West Coast Ride Report

Miles: 53 Climbing: 2158’ Route: Sam Smith Park—Mercer Island—89th—May Valley—Issaquah-Hobart Rd—216th—244th—Lake Francis—Cedar Grove—Jones Rd—Rainier—Seward—Sam Smith Participants: 17 Cima Coppi: N/A Soldier of the Day: We took turns Attrition Rate: 0

Today’s ride marked the change of seasons for the HOWC. Every year we back off the pace and shorten the miles come September. We adhered pretty well to that policy with a fairly benign route, and a solid but not super hard effort level. At times the hammer dropped, but never with summer ride intensity.

We had a good sized group and for the most part very quiet roads, so we took advantage of the conditions by doing a fair amount of pacelining. After traffic started to pick up we split into two groups, and the pacelines worked well.

We did have a minor incident, and as always, I guess there is a lesson to be learned. Today’s lesson is that with a little bad luck, misfortune can strike anyone. Our unfortunate rider was the last in a group of nine, and went down after a touch of wheels. I was at the front of the following group of eight, and I saw the quick dive to the right. The rider is fine other than a scrape or two, and a little hole in a nice pair of bibs. At the same moment that the group was slowing, our rider said his attention momentarily wavered. The next thing he knew, he was overlapping wheels on the right side with nowhere to go. Perhaps no one called out “Slowing” because the leader of the group was looking for a turn. In any case, it was just bad timing.

There were a few new faces at the start today, and it was good to see some riders that we have not seen for awhile. Just as a change of seasons brings some new weather patterns, I think the HOWC is a lot more interesting when route, pace, and participants rotate throughout the year.

When I was riding back home to Downtown Seattle after the ride, I felt like I could go again for another round. In contrast to several weeks ago when we had a hard HOWC the day after my first hike in a long time, right now my legs feel as fresh as a daisy. Considering I did a 100 mile ride with 7000’ of climbing to Artist Point just three days ago, well, I’m pleased. I’m hopeful that I feel good because I am fitter than I was a month ago, and if true, that would certainly come in handy for some seriously hard riding I have planned in a few weeks. Starting with BOMROD on August 18th, I have had some recent very high quality rides with a lot of rest in between:

Perhaps I am not fitter, but simply fresher. Dialing in the elusive form is often difficult during periods of fine weather. It’s hard to stay off of the bike when the sun is shining, and there is always the temptation to ride hard and go long. Maybe there is a silver lining from our crappy August weather after all.

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