Search Lobsterland

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Brewery Run

B double-E double-R U N beer run...

No, really, this is about cycling, a true Granny Gear Artist post, not really a Carpe Brewski one. Well, beer was involved, but only tangentially.

I knew I was getting in over my head, mmkay? Here's the description on the Johnson County Bike Club website:

6:30 pm (F,VF) JoCo's most famous ride. This is a fast ride, with consistent and very large turnouts. Come inside the Brewery for a cold one and some great food. This ride is for experienced, unflinching, powerhouse riders. The party after the ride is for everyone!

I am not a powerhouse rider, I'm not all that experienced (a bit over three months on the saddle, before that you'd have to go back to the first Clinton term to find me on a bike). I definitely flinch.

But another rider who was on the Trek ride yesterday made a comment about this ride, about how it was hard to keep up. I was going to watch Em cheer for a football game, but the games were cancelled because of massive absences (swine flu precautions). And I'd planned to ride after that, so I had my bike and my gear. I work about two blocks from the brewery, so I figured I'd go get in way over my head and see if I could just finish the circuit. In all likelihood alone and in the dark.

The rider who made the comment was there, and what a neat human being: she actually hung back and didn't make me finish in the dark all by myself. Even pretended I was doing okay as we finished in the absolute dark of night when the rest of the pack was already half sloshed at the brewery.

This is how far out of my depth I was: I had to stop on a hill because my hamstring was threatening to cramp. It didn't go all the way, but I stopped to stretch it out, and again at the top. I hadn't hydrated well before the ride, and said so. 'Me either,' she said. 'I had a couple of margaritas before.'

I'm pretty sure if I'd had a couple margaritas before this, I'd be a lawn ornament somewhere along Somerset, true story. Or maybe a hood ornament.

And yes, we finished in the absolute dark. It wasn't twilight, it was freakin' dark, when I dropped my chain trying to cross Ward Parkway, only to discover ice-cube sized chunks of shattered headlight in the shoulder at the island...

I'd heard the route was 17 miles, and I don't know if we deviated from it much, since most of the time I could only see one other person, patiently waiting for me. My bike computer said 14.2 miles, at a pitiful 10.1 mph average.

The saw I keep hearing is cycling doesn't get easier, just faster. Be grand if that kicked in sometime. Meanwhile, I think if I ride this one again, I'll leave an hour earlier and see what point the group passes me at.

No comments: