Friday, March 21, 2008

Slowest... Ride... Evvverrrrrr...

Photo: People arrive for the Friday Hen House ride in Prairie Village, Kansas. Click for album.

Now, don't get me wrong. This is a great crowd. Some of the nicest cyclists I've met. I took off a little after 7:00 this morning to ride to this group ride. Having never been to this one before, I had no clue what to expect. Common sense tells me that it was probably going to be self-employed or retired riders, being that it starts at 8:00AM on a week day. And I was mostly right.

I took 87th straight across, and followed it as it turns into "Santa Fe Drive" (or whatever) through olde-towne Overland Park. 79th to Tomahawk, curving around to 71st and Mission. Simple, enjoyable ride at a moderate pace. Not too long, about 7 miles worth of riding.

I hung out for a while, then people started showing up and getting their bikes out. A few actually rode to the ride. Most were clad in winter gear, but I was doing just fine in shorts with temps in the lower 50s. These people were hell-bent on ribbing me for my lack of clothing, but I was quite comfortable, and actually thankful for shorts once we got moving... that is, if you call an 8 MPH average pace "moving". I felt like I should have left my bike locked up and jogged with these people, or perhaps brought along a pair of rollerblades. This was without a doubt the most lethargic ride I've ever been on, and that includes my journeys through 6"-deep snow.

I did eventually end up with a breakaway group that took off ahead of everyone else, but this pace was no more than I'm used to with the markedly slow Monday Night Recovery Rides.

Our final destination was Panera at 119th and Nall or so. It took us about 45 minutes to get there. I'm not sure how far it was because of the awkward route we took, but it had to have been considerably less than 10 miles. We all locked our bikes up to the patio fence, then went inside for breakfast. Several people knew me from here or from the Bike Week Planning Committee. As a social event, this ride was plenty of fun.

I took off after a coffee and a blueberry muffin had settled in my belly, and worked my way back via what some would call a "treacherous" route. Straight up Nall to 91st, to Hadley, up to 87th, then straight across to my apartment complex. At 9:30-10:00 AM these roads were well-trafficked but by no means crazy. It was a pleasant ride back, despite strong headwinds.

So, to those who were there, it was nice to meet some new faces. Take no offense to my criticism of your pace. It was nice to just be able to ride and enjoy the sensory experience of an early-spring morning after sunrise. Usually I'm still riding in the morning darkness this time of year.

I racked up a little more than 21 miles, all said and done today. Not bad for a day off, considering that only 10% of my miles are recreational.

Of course, I did ride to a group ride that most people drove to... Then I rode to breakfast... Does that make this morning's miles "errands" or "recreation"???


Andrew said...

Noah, you might want to give the Saturday or Sunday morning rides a shot. They are supposedly faster and longer. The "slow" group apparently goes about 40 miles to Olathe and back.

Then there's the Blue Moose ride and the 75th Street Brewery ride. Those are supposed to be pretty fast.

I didn't do a bike commute this week, but I should be out Monday unless the weather is terrible.

dvicci said...

Ride Ratings:
Social: 10
Distance: 6
Traffic: 7
Weather: 8

Not the epic all-day distance run I imagined, but sounds like it was a lot of fun. Better than chained to a cube, any day!

Noah said...

Andrew, I don't usually get to go on weekend fun rides. My weekends are crazy and it's about the only time I get to kick it with my wife.

The Blue Moose ride is a bit on the reckless side for my taste, and 75th street brewery ride's a bit far from home out here in Lenexa. When the ride to the ride is further than the ride itself, it ceases to be worth my time.

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