I rode angry today. It was great – a good sort of angry! It was that rare day when everything just came together – the weather was right, my body was right, my mood was right – I wanted to ride angry.
It started Sunday on the BugMan ride. I decided to give it a go but warned people my healing rib would prevent me from pushing hard. I didn’t expect to be too terribly slow but told others to go ahead and drop me if I was. I meant it, but I didn’t really want it. It was a nice little group of strong riders. Eduardo showed up on his brand new Felt fixie – what a beauty! Hey Eduardo – cat up already! Trent showed up, too – he had a good season and has been riding good form since then. Hey Trent – cat up already! Darin made a rare appearance and rode well, and Ryan met up with us out on the course. I expected Trent and Eduardo to be licking their chops at the chance to hand it to the BugMan, but they were good boys and let me hang on (most of the time). Actually, I felt okay on the flats and even the milder climbs, but once we started hitting the really steep hills I was hurting. Since I couldn’t pull on the handlebar I had to remain seated – the combination of that and being off the bike for 3 weeks really took its toll on me. Trent and Eduardo (even on his fixie) were handing it to me on every hill – I know, I had invited them to drop me. It was okay… really, but it made me angry. Not at them – just angry. At least I could keep up with them on the flats – oh wait, they dropped me pacelining along Wildhorse Creek. I stayed with it for a while but eventually just had to back off – I was afraid of pushing too hard and re-cracking the rib. Mr. Time Trialist got dropped on Wildhorse Creek. I do my TT intervals during the season on that very stretch of road – I wasn’t amused by the irony. I was angry. BugMan is fucking angry! Ryan must have felt sorry for me, as he came back to keep me company going up Doberman – I reminded him that I had invited them to drop me. In the end, it was a very fun ride (grrrr…), and even though I wasn’t quite up to doing 60+ miles yet it still felt good to get out and enjoy the comradery (grrr…).
So today, I rode angry. Things have been really hectic at work, and I really needed to make it a quickie today if I was gonna finish up at the office on time. I put on my MP3 and selected “Shuffle All” on “My Metal Playlist”. Angry music for an angry ride. I zipped out of the parking lot and whomped up the hill. I got onto Conway, and even though there was a slight headwind I settled in quickly and started jamming it. The first climb is at 3 miles and I mashed it. Then I mashed the 2nd climb at mile 4. Then I remembered… my rib! It wasn’t hurting. I was climbing out of the saddle, and it wasn’t hurting. I was accelerating out of the saddle, and it wasn’t hurting. I actually felt great! Prong, Montrose, Slayer, and a Tony Martin-fronted Black Sabbath were setting a furiously suitable tone as I time trialed back to the west along Clayton. I like to sing along with the music, even though I don’t have a good voice. But when Bloodline was playing, I nailed my favorite line of the song with surprising vengeance:
I smell of death, I reek of hate, I will live forever!
Angry words for an angry ride. Okay, this is making me seem pretty strange… I guess you had to be there. I’m sure I probably frightened some nearby schoolgirls. Anyway, as I was cruising along the last few miles, I avoided looking at the computer – it seemed like I was flying and I didn’t want to be humbled until I got back. I was enjoying – appropriately – Opeth’s Bleak to finish the ride and pummeled up the hill to the guard shack… fumbled for my badge to show it before they let me in (I’m sure I lost a good tenth mph off my avg since I had to start doing that), then pulled up to my car and looked at the computer. 19.8 mph! Holy moly! Now, I don’t get too hung up on avg speed during rides – especially in stop sign littered suburbia, but on this oft-traveled route it’s a pretty good gauge of how each ride compares. Last week on my first ride since breaking my rib, I turned in a paltry 16.2 mph – slower than what I normally do on an easy, post-race recovery ride! By the end of last week it had risen to 18.2. To give some perspective, the best I’ve ever done – when I am at my fittest and conditions are perfect – is 21 even, so I was only a little over 1 mph below my course PR! You guys better watch out this Sunday – BugMan is fucking angry!