Saturday, May 24, 2008

RIde of the Raiders

Chris and I spent last night getting ready for this ride because we had to leave the house SO early this morning. We had to meet the group at Compo Beach in Westport at 7:30 for this ride, which was a fundraiser for the Westport Historical Society .

The plan was to ride to Danbury and back along the route that the British Army took during the raid on Danbury. I found the concept interesting, as often times I ride along these roads I know have a 200 year old plus history, and often I read the markers, think about the ghosts of the foundations in the woods, the walls that marked pastures, etc. The point of todays ride was to point out all those things I often wonder about, but never get to talk about.

As we headed out of Westport, away from the coast the terrain starts to change. I find myself thinking about several things that my friend Deej had said at the start; the area was deforested as it was all pastureland. Climbing a ridge meant that you could see the sound. There was a comparison made to the contemporary wars in which raids take on a similar format, time changes but history repeats...

As we head out onto the Post Road, Chris takes off riding and misses a turn completely. I give chase, but it was the guy behind me who managed to catch him. He was a bit embarrassed and chose to stay with me a bit until my pace was uncomfortable (5 minutes later). He rode up ahead with the group for awhile again heading to the front of the pack with ease and then I lost sight of him, then I lost sight of the group...then my mothers angst set in and I started to get a bit panicky. I really had to stop and live up to my stump queen name, but I had this thought that Chris took off after some rogue cycling group and would eventually find him lost in CT with no cell service. Oh how the mind wonders, I caught the group at the Bluebird Inn. I relaxed a bit but this would happen several more times over the course of the day. Mostly though, Chris stayed with my little group talking to Deej and Scott. I think he actually liked hearing the stories.

The group as a whole, fell apart before we hit Bethel. Actually, one wrong turn kind of dispelled the group. First we tried recon work, again chasing down the pack, (of course Chris was with them and seemed a bit surprised to see me pretty much right on his tail- my interval training now complete for the day) which worked to some extent. I caught up to them waiting by the park but I wasn't sure the back of the pack had followed me, I wasn't sure what to do. Some of the people wanted to go back, some wanted to go ahead, we decided to that we would get to 302 in Bethel and just wait, as that was a spot on the route that seemed doable from where we were. As we embark on that decision that back of the pack catches up. We gather at a left turn we are supposed to take, discussing the logistics of the route. Some go left, some continue on the route we were on. The group was essentially shattered at this point. We plod on into Bethel and then Danbury. My chain seized up in the middle of an intersection at the Danbury/Bethel line. I could almost hear Mikey going OH OH ... but I managed to clip out before the fall into traffic. As we wind our way through Danbury, we stop at a place for lunch where they had stopped in past years only to find the place no longer making sandwiches. We were only a couple of blocks from Hanna's on Lake Ave so we headed there. At this point I was in home territory so my navigational skills took over for a while to get us back onto the route.

The route itself was a bit hilly, though nothing like last weekend. I found myself almost ready to crack at one point in Ridgefield at the thought of having to climb Barrack Hill Rd. I didn't mean to utter some negative words for the group to hear, they just came out. I was tired, I was near home and my body was wanting to go in that direction; my shoulder starting to twinge, the awesome chicken gyro I ate at Hanna's in Danbury sitting heavy, the thought of 20 more miles... Surprisingly, a stop in town soothed my attitude. Coffee was just the thing I needed. I settled into the rest of the ride quite nicely. I seemed to forget that the route back was mostly downhill so when my body kept rediscovering it, I was thrilled.

I was worried a bit about Chris, who seemed to be wearing thin and not eating well enough to sustain the rest of the miles. The gelato in Ridgefield was probably one of the best choices he could have made at that point. He had some issues with cramping in Wilton, actually I was sure it was something mechanical when he uttered I can't pedal on a hill. His groin muscles were in spasm. We stopped and made him down some E-gel and some water, spin on the downhills and be more conservative on the climbs. He pushed through it and had a wonderful finish to the ride.

The hardest part about training again is dealing with how much speed I have lost. My competitive soul has to deal with this major ego blow. I have only lost a few pounds since I have started this endeavor in January which is a bit disheartening. Here we go again, back to the ride 200 plus miles a week on average and eat right only to loose nothing. I try not to get discouraged, but sometimes I am just so frustrated with myself as I let the stress of a job let me slide back into an seemingly inescapable cravats. I find myself drawing on the real important task at hand, getting Chris ready to ride 800 miles and this time the coach actually gets to participate. I know that intervals will bring my speed back up, and we will start this sometime this week as Chris's track season will finally be over.

40-50 miles tomorrow.... maybe a White Pond visit?

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