I can't pass up a sunny day in November. These days are rare. As luck would have it, a few of the OOA gals had the day off today (or were able to get a sitter for their munchkins). They were meeting at 11:00 at Ralph's Thriftway. Cindy and I had already planned to ride, but when we saw the post for this ride, we opted to join them instead of going by ourselves.
We started out with 8 of us gals! I don't think I have ever been on a ride with 8 women and 0 guys! Except for the special team rides (like the "Meet the Team" or "Turkey Ride"), there is never that many women.
We headed over to the Westside via West Bay Drive. There is a steep nasty hill to go up off West Bay. We made it to the top, but were missing Carrie and Cindy. We waited for a bit and when they didn't show, what did we do? We went back down!!! Now, I have been accused of being "hardcore" when it comes to cycling. But, next to these women I am a lump of jello that hasn't quite set up! They are the true definition of hard core and...I...truthfully...aspire to be them (although, currently, I mostly just perspire). When it appeared Cindy and Carrie had turned around (later found out Carrie's chain was stuck on the big ring and Cindy's knee was giving her fits--she's having surgery on it this Friday--now, that's hardcore!), we went back up the hill...*gasp* *wheeze*! Actually, it was easier the second time...slightly.
We did my favorite French Loop Rd. It gives nice views of the water from a quiet one lane road. Someday I'll have to take my camera and go out there just to take some photos. After French Loop we crossed Cooper Point Rd. and continued on past Evergreen State College to Mud Bay and then down Delphi. Lauren and I were leading which was great because it is a nice downhill and I could go as fast as I wanted (when I am not in the lead I usually have to brake because, as we all know, weight always wins on the downhill).
We rode all of Delphi (which, coincidently, took me past the scene of the crash a few weeks ago--no crash today--YAY!) to 110th. Then into Littlerock and back north on Maytown Rd. We turned on Case Rd up to 93rd, stayed on Case to 113th. We did the mostly-up rollers of 113th to Tilley, then continued straight onto McCorkle. There are two big back-to-back hills on McCorkle. I always get dropped on these hills. This time I started up the hills at the front as I knew I would end up at the back before the top. I think the other gals must have wanted me to feel like I'm getting better, and thus went slower, because I made it to the top still in the front! Shocking!!! Jen caught me just as I got to the top. Coming down, she was pedaling and I coasted past her (that weight thing again).
At Hwy 99 we rode to Rich Rd. Usually I peel off at 89th and head over to the trail and home. Today I stayed with the group to Yelm Hwy, then turned for home. If I didn't have another 10 miles to ride tonight for a meeting, I probably would have stayed with them all the way back to the start. It was THAT good of a day!
As for the racing tips, as we were riding, Lauren was telling me some of what a race is like and the things we will practice once we start training for the race season. One great thing she said (that she heard from Derek), and that I will try to remember, is that, no matter who you are (Cat 1 or Cat 4), everyone is in the same amount of pain...some can just go faster in that amount of pain.
Total miles: 48