The Bail-out Plan


Following on the heels of our 80 miler on 2/9 came Coach Don’s Buddy ride on 2/16. We started in Los Altos around 8am for a 66 mile tour of the Bay Area, including a jaunt over the Dumbarton Bridge. Now, buddy rides kind of scare me. Not because I don’t enjoy them; I actually really like their informal style. You get to ride with people that you might never group with otherwise, and people are much chattier and laid back. Its hard to feel like you’re holding people back, because you don’t really paceline – which is good for me these days. But…there is no SAG.

Why does this matter? Shouldn’t you go into a ride not planning to drop out early? Well, yes…in theory. You see, I’m a firm believer in being setting realistic expectations. Realistically, I can not complete a 100 mile ride in March if I don’t do any rides in February. So I need to go to the buddy ride. But just as realistically, my arm gives me nothing but trouble, aches like the devil like clockwork at mile 25 and I never expect with any certainty that I’ll be able to finish a ride. The best I can do is try my darndest to finish once I get there, and take the offered help if and when I must.

Buddy rides don’t really give that flexibility. You get out there and just ride; self-sufficient style. (I know all you hardcore solo-cyclists are rolling your eyes at this right now. Sorry, I’m spoiled!) Which is why I was pretty excited to see that Coach Don’s route sheet included a 45 mile Bail-out plan option. Hey, if it all went south I could head for home on my own and still get a decent length ride in. Plus, I brought the cell phone to call Charles to save me…just in case.

Unlike many other coach stories, the rumor that Coach Don’s buddy ride was a “nice flat ride” held true. There were two baby climbs in the first half of the ride, one of which was actually just the bridge. (Yes, I know that’s not really a hill. I did say baby!) I really enjoyed chatting with some new faces and was actually feeling pretty strong all the way over the bridge and through the ranch-park-thing on the other side. I did sing London Bridge as my cadence song while crossing the bay, but fortunately (for me) it was only in my head. Pretty sure more than my arm would be aching if my “buddies” had caught wind of that one.

Now Coach Don’s Buddy Ride is informally known as “The Lunch Stop Ride”. What no one tells you, however, is that the lunch break stop point is after the bail-out point!! I’m riding along, starting to tire by mile 25ish, thinking only of the yummy Panera bread cheddar-broccoli soup that lies ahead, totally not realizing that I’ve now committed myself to the whole 66 miles. Crap! I’m am confident that Coach Don did that intentionally. That’s right Don…I’m lookin’ at you, making suspicious face. By the time we got to lunch, there wasn’t much for it but to eat and keep going. So I did. And the soup was good.

As I mentioned, the ride was true to promise and stayed pretty tame. There were some nasty “false-flat” miles through the ‘burbs that were pretty killer (damn soul-sucking non-climbs!!), but the rest was most enjoyable. Santa Cruz definitely spoiled me though; strip malls and planned housing really doesn’t compare with giant rocks and crashing waves. Then again, I did not miss the within-arms-reach screaming-by traffic. Tradeoffs. Sigh. I started fading by mile 40, and more than once wished I’d skipped the soup and headed for home early, but stuck it out with teammates by my side. Many thanks have to be sent out to Rich and Ange for keeping my mind off the miles which kept my feet turning.

Charles and I moved the week after this ride, so the Garmin data will be incoming as soon as I find the box that has my connector cord. I swore that I pulled it out separate and put it in the laptop bag, but I can’t locate that cord to save my life. Grrrrrrrr….

Motion Based ride data

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What do we have here?

An often sarcastic, occasionally humorous journal of my training adventures in preparation for the Livestrong century ride. I took up cycling back in '07 in hopes of meeting new people, and, with the help of Team in Training, making my small positive difference in the world -- and haven't stopped spinning since. Follow along as my Trek road bike and I try and hash out our differences, hopefully with me upright and in the saddle.

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