Cycling over the President's Day weekend was not perfect. In fact, it was barely tolerable. Which was too bad, because my expectations were running high.
Saturday's ride should have been good. A group of about 15 people showed up on a cold and windy, albeit sunny day. The plan was to go through Riverside State Park, up Coulee Hite Road and then come back, with the total distance a bit unknown. As we rode along Government Way towards the Aubrey L. White Parkway, there was discussion about the condition of the trail. As suspected, the steep downhill just past the gates was still shady and covered in snow and ice. The group spread waaaaaay out as people picked their way through the ice and snow to find bare spots of asphalt to maneuver bikes. Just after the road cleared and it looked like it was smooth sailing from that point on, a rider fell. Hard.
The best guess is that CY got some gunk in his cleat and it allowed his foot to pull out easily on an upstroke. From there, he got a wiggle in the handlebar (may have even hit the bar with his leg) and it was a short painful trip to the ground. He ended up with broken facial bones; road rash on his cheek, nose, lip and chin; and broken ribs. Before he could verify all of that out with the help of medical technology, however, he had to walk back out of Riverside State Park, right back up the steep, icy hill, to get past the gates where a car could pick him up. He toughed out the walk, which looked painful, but kept a good attitude the whole way.
Some of the group went on, since there wasn't much for the other ten guys to do, and a few, most particularly Rider One, but also RL and JD, helped out. Rider One lived the closest and got home to get a car, getting CY to the emergency room. It's hard in those situations to know whether to call 911 immediately, or reduce the cost and hassle by making it to care on his own, but CY seemed adamant that walking out was the right thing to do.
After RL's significant other picked up CY's bike, JD headed home, RL rode to the Seven Mile Bridge and then headed home, while Scooter and I headed up the hill to catch the group on the way back. It had split up more, with some doing a big loop and others a small loop. In any case, the accident took the wind out of the sails for me. CY won't be out for a while, but hopefully has a speedy recovery.
Sunday was less windy and there were no accidents, but it still wasn't fun. At least not for me. The pace was high and I was struggling from early on. Early on I felt like I couldn't get a good lung full of air. Not sure what that was about, but it didn't help me keep up as we climbed our way up towards the West Plains. After that, it turned into a face-paced ride and I was struggling literally the entire ride.
Those days aren't fun, but I guess they are necessary to get fitter and faster. I had been looking forward to a slower ride, some BS'ing on the bike and to enjoy the increasingly hospitable weather, but instead it was two hours of "sweet mary and joseph please help me hold on for just a bit longer!"
It is worth noting that during the ride I had two team mates who paced me back to the ride a few times each and one who, as previously mentioned, offered to let me protect myself from the wind in the ample vortex of wind supplied by his wicked 70's style mustache. With friends like those, I guess I can't complain too much, but after two days of riding, I was more tired than trained.