Wow. 2 days after riding my longest ride (105mi) I met up with the Hammer guys (Lawrence - ride leader) and didn't intend to ride far with them because I didn't think I would be able to stay with them. Boy was I wrong!!!!
The pace started off nice and easy, like 16-17mph avg, and then after about 10-15 minutes, once we got onto Highway 231, it was on! There were 4 guys and myself and I knew that I couldn't take long pulls with them or I wouldn't last. My pulls lasted about 30s and then I was off...The other guys all took several minutes or more worth of pulls and I was content to just sit in. Seemed ok with them.
We took a turn on to Antioch (locals know what I'm talking about) and on the second short climb before Hwy 39, they dropped me. But, I didn't give up. I crested that sucker and then picked it up to catch up with them. Fortunately, they slowed a bit after crossing Hwy 39 and waited for me to catch up to them. That was really great, as they usually keep going. Once a person is dropped, you're dropped and on your own. Not this time. Awesome.
I got back in the group and we headed on down Hwy 222 towards Kenly. Lots of long stretches of road where we could go pretty fast and get the average up. A couple little short hills and I was bound and determined to not be dropped. Lawrence geared down and spun up this one hill and I just put more power to the pedals and hung on like glue! One other little hill, where Old Beulah turns into Brown's Pond, dropped me, but again, they slowed and I worked to catch them. All is still good.
Reach Hwy 96 and my friends Jay & Erica were stopped. Thought they were going to jump on the tail end of the group and get a pull back in, but they didn't. Just a little further to go...Bitch Mountain is the last obstacle...a long, easy grade, but usually a slow thing for me. Dallas (one of the guys) was pulling us pretty dang fast up BM...something along 23mph. There I am, 3rd rider with Lawrence & Artie behind me. The pace seems to pick up. I'm hanging on for dear life! Lawrence and Artie are my cheerleaders! "c'mon Karen, push harder, hang on, you can do it, harder!" Hell yes, I hang on!
Now, it's just another 4 miles back to the cars. I'm still sitting in, but with .50 to .75 miles left to go, Lawrence pulls off the front and says it's all mine, take us the rest of the way home. I figure, what the hell, I can just blow up now if need be. Stoplight in the distance is my carrot. I don't let up, pull those guys at a paltry 20.5mph. I didn't make it to through the green light though, but that was ok.
Back at the cars, everyone was telling me how good I did and what a great job I did staying with them. The ride was freakin' awesome. I can't ride with them more than once a week though and if the route they take is very hilly (by our standards), then I'm not sure I can hang with them. I'm great on flat terrain, but my weight is holding me back on the climbs. I just have to stick with the plan and eventually, the power/weight ratio will get better and I will climb better.
NP=169 AP=120 rpm=92
First Half of Ride:
NP=160 AP=109 rpm=92
Second Half of Ride:
NP=177 AP=133 rpm=92