Today Robert and I started our bicycle adventure with the Riverside Bicycle Club on its 3-club 60-mile bike ride. We rode with our friend AnneMarie. AnneMarie is a fairly new rider, but she has a lot of gumption and she doesn't give up. I told her she could do the 60-mile ride with us and we would hang with her and take stops along the way. I knew we would quickly get dropped and we would pretty much be on our own.
I didn't realize how much we would be on our own or how far behind we would get until we met Victor.
Victor is an even newer rider than AnneMarie.
The ride started from the Riverside Plaza and went straight uphill on Central Avenue. 2, 3, 4 and some 5 percent grade. I waited a couple of times for AnneMarie, but she just kept plugging along. The fast riders had already dropped us. We were riding with some riders from the two other clubs. About five miles later at the top of the hill, we made a right hand turn and found some level road. Shortly, we took a break at Wendy's. A guy in a red jersey followed Robert, AnneMarie and me into fast food joint. He was with us when we pulled out.
We kept riding for a while and it was obvious that the four of us were a little pack, so I asked the red jersey guy what his name was and he said, "Victor." I introduced myself and asked Victor what ride he was on...the 20 mile, the 30 mile or the 60 mile? He said the 30 mile. I asked him where he turned off, but he said he didn't know because he had lost his route slip.
"Uh, Victor? I think you are on the 60-mile ride with us," I told him.
At about mile 25, Victor asked if we could stop at the ARCO station so he could get something to drink. We pulled into the Arco with him. Victor said he couldn't do the 60 mile with us because he couldnt' be away from home for long because he had left his wife home alone with their toddler and their new baby.
Get her flowers!
That's what AnneMarie and I told Victor, because obviously he had already been gone awhile and I didn't see him getting home anytime soon.
Shortly we came upon the RBC's sag stop. Since Victor was way off course and was going to have to stick with us for the remainder of the ride, we decided it would be best to cut some miles off our route.
We took off from the SAG with a modified ride.
The next several miles were uphill.
It really wasn't like this, but I think it may have felt this way to Victor.
AnneMarie and Robert were riding ahead and I was trying to stay back with Victor to make sure he was making it up the hills. It was hard to ride that slow and I ended up getting pretty far ahead of Victor. I met up with Robert and AnneMarie who were taking a break on the side of the road on a 9 percent grade. I pulled over and we all waited for Victor. Eventually Victor pulled up and stopped. I think his legs must have been pretty torqued because he fell over when he stopped.
He popped right up and said he was okay. His knee may hurt tomorrow. He took his helmet off and mopped up. He hinted at turning around and going back.
Oh no! No turning back. We were going forward. I did throw him a lifeline. I told him that the rest of the way was mostly flat and downhill. I didn't know for sure, but it sounded good.
That's when the bees decided I needed to see how fast I could pedal up the 9 to 11 percent grade hill.
One bee buzzed around my head and stung my neck. I dropped my bike on the ground and my reflector light came off and broke on the ground. While AnneMarie and Robert picked up the light, another bee started buzzing around my head.
When AnneMarie said something about my light, I grabbed my bike from off the ground and said something like, "Who gives a shit about the light. I am out of here."
And I rode off, as fast as I could up the steep grade. I could not get my left foot clipped in and every time I tried another bee would start buzzing around my head.
I rode my bike as fast as I could until the bees stopped buzzing me and I pulled to the side of the road. Soon Robert and AnneMarie joined me. We waited and waited and waited and waited for Victor.
We had to wait for Victor.
By this time we knew Victor. We had only been riding together for about 2 hours, but we knew stuff about him. He has only been riding since December and for some of it he couldn't ride because he had a broken arm. During the ride, Robert pointed out that he had a bent back rim. Well, we did the math and we quickly realized that Victor is a newbie rider that was way in over his head for the ride. But he was with us in the middle of nowhere and we had to make sure that Victor made it home to his wife and kids.
I didn't totally lie to Victor about the rest of the way. It was flat and downhill, then uphill, then flat and then downhill, then uphill, then, well, you get the idea.
We stopped at the strip mall at Washington and Van Buren and filled up our water bottles.
Since it was about 85 degrees and I knew we were getting close to home, I filled my bottle up with an ice tea with extra ice and lemon.
We eventually made it back to the parking lot. Yep, my car was there...one of the last ones!
Victor thanked us for the ride.
My Garmin said we rode 42.86 miles and it took us 3:31:39. Our route had 2,622 elevation gain and 2,605 elevation loss. We average 12.1 miles an hour.
At one downhill I looked and I was going 30 mph, so I know our "Victor" uphills were slow.
My last parting words on this story - Victor, I hope you bought your wife some flowers. Victor, I hope you work on riding some hills. Hills are hard, but the more you do them the better rider you become. Victor, I hope that someday you put your own ride aside to help a newbie get through that hard ride. AnneMarie, you did awesome today and you are about ready for a century ride. Robert, thanks for being my wheelman.
P.S. Lent ended tonight and my glass of wine accompanied me during this blog, so if it is wordier than usual, well, let's blame the vino.