Today I had Ride #162, The Cheshire Thin Air Ride, on the agenda. A 70 mile trek starting in Bloomfield featuring many of the local climbs like Deuel, Miller Hill, Bopple, Gannet Hill, Mosher and a few others more. I looked forward to it as I like climbing, it followed some of last weeks roads like Miller, Gannet and Mosher and I wanted to compare and contrast. This time it was a small group that showed up for the ride. Some of the club’s notorious fast riders were there (Dennis, Michelle, Jean (sp?)) but many other regulars were absent (Paul, Kevin, Otto, several Steves).
Straight on Oakmount Road the route travelled uphill. In most cases I don’t enjoy that; climbing right from get-go without a warmup but now I pedalled quite easily. Also the next few hills I took quite relaxed: Elm Tree road and Route 32 for example, and also Deuel I took quite easily pedalling up 9-10% in a steady tempo without problem. The high 80-ies temperatures also weren’t bothering me.
But, at the same time, from about 10 miles out my left hip started to make its presence known. Hips are not the body parts I am consciously aware of during cycling so this was certainly unusual. Slowly this started to bother me more and more. It seemed like a pinched nerve as the feeling was spreading down my left leg to the calve muscles. Often during endurance sports activities one can have those little pains here and there and so I thought it’ll go away, I’ll pedal through it. But not really. After Deuel and then the remainder of Miller on route 21 it was clear this was not going away and actually it was bothering me more and more. So before committing to Bopple (or Hicks as a less steep alternative) I decided to cut things short. This was somewhat of a relative statement. We had done about 30 miles by now, I had to continue on until Bristol Springs before swinging back on 64 to the starting point. It would have been smarter to make the decision right at the end of Deuel as Dennis kindly pointed out.
Dennis and Michelle went down Seneca Point, I continued along route 21. I was grumpy. The climbing was going so well what with being able to keep up with the two of them. Stupid hip, mumble, mumble. A month ago or so when my right knee was bothering me, Rachel remarked that perhaps I should ride shorter distances. She is … ehhh …. She is … uhm, well…. She is right of course, but what’s the fun in that?
On route 64 I progressed reasonably well. This road goes up and down quite gradually and the south wind nicely pushed me in the northern direction. The climbs were getting harder to do though with the hip stiffening. Stopped at the gas station in Bristol Center after 45 miles. It was quite hot by now and just walking into the airconditioned store was most pleasant. Got myself an Arizona Green Tea and a Gatorade bottle. Outside the store, in the shade, was a row of very nice chairs and I plopped down in one of them. A moment later the local sheriff pulled up at the gas station to refill and he asked if I was keeping myself dehydrated. “Yes sir!”, I could reassure him while gulping down the green tea. I munched on two cliff bars as well. Then it was time to get going again, about 10 miles left I estimated. This went better than I thought. I feared that the hip muscles would get stiff altogether during the break but I really wanted the drinks. But I got going quite well although the remaining few stretches of uphill on those 10 miles went slowly and so I was happy to see the Mini Cooper at the bottom of Oakmount Road.