Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Southern Hospitality

After my experience with last night's group ride, I am amazed the South wasn't able to win the Civil War. These Southern folk know how to kick some serious ass.

Our day started as usual. We had a bit of breakfast, checked some local maps and got the pedaling started. The plan was to ride to Folly Beach, an area just SE of Charleston, then we would get back for a quick shower and food before heading out to a group ride we found on the interweb. Once again, the ride we picked was jam-packed with cars on roads with no shoulder. Unfortunately, we survived to ride again at the group ride.

We pulled into the church parking lot from where the ride leaves and only one other guy was there. He was there early to get some extra miles in, so we chatted a bit and rode along the group ride course. Like all other roads in this area, the course was flat. But, it had little traffic, good pavement and plenty of turns. The dude told us the group rolls easy for five miles, then goes hard for ten miles to the parking lot of a school. Here, everyone regroups, and rides back over the same roads. Doesn't sound too bad, no?

Back at the parking lot, there were 20+ guys waiting to start. We did the normal can for fast riders and weren't terrified by any pros. But, we should have been. After the brief roll out, the fireworks started. Guys started attacking and our small NorEast contingent chased and countered. It seemed to me they were ready to turn the screws on the Yanks, and looked to us to chase down breaks. Attack. Counter attack. Repeat. We were riding ourselves cross-eyed at over 30mph until we finally pulled into the school lot. The group was exploded, and our new Southern friends seemed to be impressed we were so enthusiastic to put in the big efforts. At this point, I was ready to call it a day. But, there was still business to be had, so we rolled out again. The return trip wasn't as chaotic, but still insanely fast. My legs were on the verge of cramping the entire time and my ability to respond to attacks was NO WHERE TO BE FOUND. Thanks to the headwind, the group stayed together and we survived the battle. RKelly, Carney and I agreed it was probably the fastest group ride any of us have ever ridden. But, not without consequences.

We left the ride and crawled into downtown Charleston. Dinner was spent questioning the aches, spasms, and knots in our legs. By our ragged appearance and how we shoveled food into our faces, other diners were probably losing their appetites. Let's see them after 134 miles.

Doing it all again leg will not be happy.

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