(you should read this at the speed it was typed: slowly)
After a hiatus of about four weeks, today at last I had time to ride the bicycle again. The RBC’s schedule featured a 54 mil ride from Geneseo called Killer Hill. Very appropriate for a glorious return to turning the pedals! A 9:00 am start called for the alarm to be set to 6:45 am. I manage to get out of the bed after hitting the snooze button only twice. To the kitchen to make coffee, then check news, email, facebook, print the route map. Breakfast is yoghurt with oatmeal. Then it is time to change into the cycling uniform, fill the water bottles and pack up the bag. Down to the basement storage to retrieve the bicycle, helmet and shoes. Just as I am halfway back up the stairs with the bicycle over the shoulder, my downstairs neighbor kindly opens the hallway door. Great timing! Thanks Jimmy!
I put it all in the car then quickly back upstairs to give Squeak her shot, get the coffee mug and I’m ready for the drive to Geneseo which takes about 35 minutes. The Grateful Dead plays lllOUDLY on the stereo singing of important matters such as a monkey at the controls of a train and that your cards aint worth a dime if you don’t lay em down. Right at the traffic light to turn into the Wegmans parking lot from where our rides start I pull up behind Steve and Cathy.
A fair group is assembling. Not only Steve and Cathy give act de présence after their Switzerland and France vacation but also Gary back from his mini tour de France. When everybody is ready we roll out towards Reservoir Road. While 54 miles isn’t an epic distance I will have to pace myself to keep this on the fun side. There are four main climbs (Springwater, Vista, Coffee Hill and Groveland). Vista and Coffee I haven’t done before but know that they’re the hardest of the four. A fast group very quickly forms with Gary, Bill, Steve, Bobbie and a few more. Our group (Richard, Joel, Jules, Tom, Bruce) follows at a more mature pace. Richard grew up just outside Dansville in which direction we’re heading and entertains us with stories and anecdotes of the area.
Just after the hamlet of Sparta the first climb up Springwater road is before us. Richard and another rider grind heavily through the gears and fall back. About halfway Joel comes up besides me and we climb up together. We gather up Ginn who fell back from the first group, Jeff is just a little further up.
“This used to be easier,” I say to Ginn. “This was never easy,” he responds. Good point.
We’re now on Reed Corners road which is a lovely winding and mostly downward road. Downward of course means upward in the near future. After a left on Depot and a left on Vista this is so. On the map Vista looked fairly short. Up to the second sharp turn it’s certainly steep but nothing too disconcerting. One look up coming through that second turn puts the matter firmly to rest: a vertical wall awaits me. Tching goes the chain onto the largest sprocket and five meters further I’m up out of the saddle. Four, five hunderd meter further it flattens a bit which is code for “13% instead of 19%.” After which it picks up again. I am breathing like a vacuum cleaner. Joel passes me, doesn’t seem too stressed.
A few miles past the rest stop at Dansville awaits Coffee Hill. I’m not too sure about that one, legs and lungs still hurt. In the village I missed a traffic light so I am at the back of the group. At the start of this hill there’s an option to turn right skipping the climb, catching up with the route further on. This is quite appealing. Surely someone else will think still too and I’ll just follow them! I watch the group ahead of me, Bruce goes straight, Tom goes straight, Jeff goes straight. Richard. Richard will turn. No, goes straight. Ginn then? No, straight up too. Jules, surely my pal Jules will turn right and save us both! Alas. Darn, now I have to do that climb too.
It turns out to be way easier than Vista. It’s steep in the beginning but then just grinds on for two miles or so. After the summit we descend for about half a mile, come to a roadblock. Bridge is closed up ahead. We have to go back up the hill then right, right again. I trust this extra climb comes out of our club membership fees?
This is a roughly flat section till we get to Groveland. Bruce and Joel kindly keep looking back, wanting me to latch on. But while the climbing goes quite well, I have to pace myself in between to cover up for the lack of endurance. Eventually I do catch up. Bruce and I chat a while about BikeJournal.com, Garmin Connect (it sucks: a technical term indicating low quality and entertainment value). Bruce found a new one: RideWithGPS.com. One reason why Garmin Connect uh well sucks, is that after they bought Motionbased.com (which didn’t uh well suck), they tried to convince that development team to relocate from Sausolito, CA to Kansas. That, apparently, didn’t go over so well.
I ride up Groveland with relative ease. From here it’s about 8 or 9 miles back to base. I am enjoying the wonderfully tired feeling in my legs. Sometimes when you’ve been riding well the muscles hurt in such a good way.
Back in the parking lot some of us gather where Joel and Bruce parked. Joel has his folding chair out, gets another one for Bruce. I lean against Bruce’s car. We smalltalk. Then we notice that Bruce has a new bike! He gets up to talk about, points out important elements of the bicycle. I listen but I eye the now free chair as well. Would it be impolite to just sit down? No, that’s not nice. But he’s still talking about the bike. Others ask him questions. I glance again at the chair. More questions, more Bruce explaining and pointing. That’s it, I’m sitting down. His legs are still young. New, light bike, he’s fine. Oh, that chair is nice. Joel is now my favorite club member.