Monday, May 11, 2009

Rides Worlds Apart

I went on two bike rides this weekend, and they couldn't have been more different. The variety of experiences a person can have on a bicycle is amazing, and I pity those who never get out and ride.

Saturday morning I woke up, and after waging a serious debate against myself, I drove up to La Jolla for the San Diego Bicycle Club (SDBC) Saturday morning ride. I ride with the "B" group (not quite as fast as the "A"s, but certainly not there for joy ride). This is supposed to be a "training ride," a good fast workout. But for a lot of the people who show up on Saturday mornings, this is their weekly race. They attack each other, take off on sprints, attack the climbs, and generally push the pace to a blistering tempo. The problem is that there is no finish line for any of these sprints, and no points awarded for King of the Mountains. It isn't a race, just a chance for someone to have their "moment of glory." Some guy will go off on a wild hair, and make everyone work really hard to keep the group together, then the dude will fade very quickly to the back and spend the rest of the time trying to hang on. Meanwhile some other dude is now pushing the pace. It gets old.

The good part of all this is that you can get a great, fast ride in. The regular route starts at the La Jolla Village shopping center, winds 35 miles East and North, through the hills, to the coast, and down to Solana Beach. Then everyone stops for coffee or a smoothie, before finishing the last 12 miles back to La Jolla. This Saturday, the group I rode with (started with about 50 riders) averaged 20.3 mph for the first 35 miles! That's fast in my book. I did the run up Torrey Pines back to La Jolla by myself, and finished with a 47 mile average of 19.4 mph. I felt great, and had a wonderful workout to prepare for Tuesday Night Racing.

Sunday morning Gelsey (my wife) and I participated in a ride which is pretty much the polar opposite of the SDBC Saturday morning pain-o-rama. We joined the DownTownies for the weekly two-wheeled jaunt about town. The leisurely roll started at Velo Cult bike shop in South Park and toured several neighborhoods (South Park, Morley Field, Normal Heights, Kennsington) before settling in at the Old Trolley Barn Park in University Heights for a picnic. It was a wonderful group of people to spend a beautiful Sunday morning with.

All in all, a great weekend of bike riding. Toss in a Nuggets' improbable (and somewhat sketchy) win over Dallas, and the long awaited viewing of Slumdog Millionaire, and it really was a great two days. I can't wait until every day is a weekend.

(The picure is from two weeks ago at the velodrome. I'm in back. This was during the unknown distance race. #2 is fast, and I couldn't get around him for the win. I got 2nd.)