Well I didn't quite get in a mega-mileage weekend, but it was still a great time. So here is the report of such times of greatness.
Friday night was the 29er Trifecta. I got there at about 6:15pm figuring I'd catch up with peeps I haven't talked to in a while. The roll-out time was supposed to be 6:30, but Lincoln peeps had to get there and Shim had to put flat pedals on his fixie. Both situations completely understandable. Right. The group of about 35 got going a little before 7pm. Within 6 blocks we had 2 flats. Yeah, that was fantabulous. After we got going, it was really interesting watching the reactions of drivers and passerbys. Some people asked from their cars, "What group are you with," or, "How far are you guys going?" Most drivers that were going in the opposite direction on a 2 way street stopped dead in their tracks. I guess it was kinda weird seeing a group of 30 some cyclists coming at you with insane headlights. Ryan Feagan had a home-made light that had to be the brightest thing I've ever seen. Basically it was like a car's highbeams. He had it on strobe most the night so we could do shadow puppets on the trees as we rode along. Other notes of interest: Nate Woodman and Matt Gersib are magicians on their bikes. Nate had a fixie, but rode the thing like it was 2nd nature to him with skids, bunny hops, and some strong climbing. Matt would put on mini-trials sessions any time we stopped. He can ride his 29er like a BMX bike. On the route, there was this huge climb that I didn't know even existed. Just West of 30th St on Belvedere blvd, it's a 3 or 4 block climb that snakes back and forth. It was murder on a single speed. That is, unless you're Eric Brunt (the guy in the middle) who was on a 46x19 fixed. He made it look easy, along with all the other climbs of the day. I think he lives on his bike though, so that makes sense. So that was about 30 miles in 3-4 hours. Nice easy pace with lots of stops. Plenty of time to socialize and enjoy the night.
Saturday was a group ride extravaganza. I had 6 other riders at my house before we took off to join the Bike Masters ride, Ryan Legg, Brady, Matt, Sean, Ryan and Roxy. I was kind enough to let Sean use my racing machine while I used my commuting tank. We had to hurry to the BM ride since we started late and there was just a couple good climbs getting there. Then we waited as others were more late than we were. I guess that's to be expected when the lot is full of 30-40 people! We took off and the nice weather must have fueled some people's rage as the first 45 minutes turned into a hammerfest. The group strung out for a good mile as some wanted a nice leisurely pace and others had to show their stuff. I was stuck in the middle not able to show my stuff on a 25-ish pound 1x9 geared noodle. Everyone came back together at the Elk City turn, however. We headed towards Waterloo and I was able to keep up as it was mostly downhill. A flat happened right before town, so the group had a long rest break at the convenience store. After significant resting, we got going, but had to split from the group since a few of us had to get going home. Bryan, John P, Ryan L, Brady, Sean, Matt, and I ventured home. It eventually became a death march for half our group as the weather and life schedules have not been kind to most. Overall a fun ride with some very welcomed warm weather.
Sunday was slightly different. I got up and was sore all over. I hadn't slept well or enough the last 2 nights so I was feeling it. The weather outside was nice and sunny, but the ground was a mess after thawing. I knew the weather was going to get miserable, but I had to take Michelle into work so my only option was waiting till after noon. I was just hoping that the weather would hold off it's fury until later. Alas, my hopes were dashed. I was ready to call the day a lazy recovery day until Ryan F. had to call and make me feel guilty. I didn't want him and a visiting out of towner, Larry, to battle the winds alone, so I joined in the fun. We met at Ryan's in mid-town, rode down to 19th, North toward Hummel, did the climb once, then over Ponca Rd and 47th st. to hwy 75 into Ft. Calhoun. The climbing was fun, but man, getting onto hwy 75 and facing the 25-35 mph wind head on was quite brutal. I had forgotten how much drafting matters though. As soon as you would tuck behind the guy in front, it was easy pedaling. But when taking a pull at the front, it was a battle just to keep the speed above 14mph. Once we turned South-ish, we were ok though. We got in about 2.5 hours with some intensity and hill climbing so it was a productive day.
So only about 9-ish hours on the bike for the weekend, but it was a blast all the same. I thought I solved the issue with being inefficient on my commuter bike by raising the saddle some. I don't know what it is, but I can't be "fast" on that bike. I don't know if it's the frame's geometry or design and material that makes it feel like a noodle everytime I stomp on the pedals. I know it's heavy, but 8-10 pounds can't make that much difference can it? My muscles just ache while trying to power up climbs or hit a headwind hard to keep up with a group. Any time I take my race machine out riding, I can really mash without feeling sore at all. So maybe it is my position on the bike or the Q-factor of the pedals (stance width) or something else that makes the 2 bikes completely different ride experiences. Well at least the weather is getting nicer to where I won't need to use the commuter for rides anymore.