Sunday morning, I got up early to meet the few friends at the day job who wanted to ride in the Corporate Cycling Challenge. I rode with my friends Beth and Dan, who by the way are triatheletes. My training the week previous to the event consisted of one 15 mile ride and lots of beer and pizza.
It was really over before it started.
The Chief and a few of her RAGBRAI teammates joined me. We rode downtown to the starting line and I met up with the OTC contingent near the front. This was pretty much the last I’d see of Beth and Dan (Dan especially, being that he was a former racing cyclist).
It was a beautiful morning with a slight chill in the air I’d expect in September. We started at 8AM on 8th and Farnam in downtown Omaha and rode along the Missouri all the way through town. We turned at the Mormon Bridge in North Omaha and made our way to Highway 75 out of town to Fort Calhoun. This is where the pain really started. Highway 75 is nothing but really long, large hills. The course up until now had been flat. I had been by myself for a long time now, The Chief and her friends behind me somewhere and Beth and Dan way ahead of me. I had gone slow through town to conserve my energy and thank goodness I did. The first hill killed most everyone I was around, many getting off to walk up. I can honestly say I pedalled every mile, and it was a cool feeling to be passing people as I pushed up. I’d pay for it later.
I reached the turnaround point and met up with The Chief and her crew. We fueled up, checked in, and got back on the road. The course changed on this stretch; we had to take another highway back. This new highway greeted us with the shortest and steepest hill yet that made me want to die and cry for Mommy all at once. Having Nikki and the rest of the gang there helped – I don’t think I could have done it without some friends. These guys were riding 70 plus miles everyday on RAGBRAI just a couple of weeks ago, so they were battle-hardened. I was nothing compared to the shape they were in.
Speaking of, the entire ride was amateur hour. Almost everyone on the road had no clue about rider etiquette, such as announcing you are passing, or “car up” and “car back.” There was one guy that was riding a mountain bike with nobbies and cut-off shorts that kept trying to pass me after I would pass him, like we were racing. Being that I was A. riding on slicks and B. riding a comfortable touring bike, this was really no contest. Not to mention that I was in actually road shoes and not a beat up pair of tennis shoes. I don’t know what this asshole’s problem was or why he felt he needed to “beat me.” His feet have got to be killing him today. Everyone else I knew had similar situations, including Beth getting yelled at by some guy about her announcing she was passing him on the left. Sorry for the courtesy, jackass.
We finally rolled back into town and had to go through a road I have now dubbed “The Dick Killer.” I rolled in and was greeted by Beth and Dan, who had been waiting for me for an hour and 42 minutes (ouch!).
However, whichever way you slice it, I rode a total 42 miles yesterday with little to no training. As I am quickly approaching middle age, this is probably the very last time I’ll be able to do something like this again with no lasting side effects. I was only able to do this with guts. If I listened to common sense, I wouldn’t have even tried. My new bike is amazing – I am currently in no pain whatsoever. The Jamis Aurora lived up to its reviews. My only complaint is that shifting can be something of a pain, but I think I can get that fixed.
Dehydrated to the point of pain, Beth and the rest of us went to Old Chicago for beer and sweet, sweet food (I had one beer and about 7 waters). Afterwards we rode back to the car (the pain!) and once home, I passed out for a few hours.
I can’t wait to try it again next year with some smart training under my belt!
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