belated Sunday ride report

Sunday morning I woke up before the alarm several times and checked my cell phone obsessively to be sure we wouldn't sleep past 7:30 again. Our motel room is tucked into a corner and the windows face a brick wall, so the amount of light coming through the windows is the same whether the sun is up or not, making this a valid concern. But the alarm went off anyway and all was well... until 8:57, when I was ready and standing in the parking lot and certain roommates of mine were still fighting over the map. The ride was supposed to start at 9 but apparently it got going a little early, because all of a sudden they all went by. "I see people LEAVING," I bellowed, and Nate yelled back to just go, so I went, assuming he was right behind me, but he wasn't. I jumped into the pack a little behind Bella S and we quickly got into a whole Bella group, although Belgian Bella upped the pace as soon as we hit the edge of town and most of them blew off the back. I looked over my shoulder for Nate constantly for about half an hour but he had elected to wait for Sascha and Scott and I didn't see him again until we were both back at the EconoLodge.

Saturday had been hot and sunny and windless, a near-perfect riding day, but Sunday was overcast and muggy and windy as hell. In fact, all of Texas seems to be windy as hell. Fortunately, after Belgian Bella had us passing people by the dozens, we eventually found a couple men who were going at a pretty good clip and tucked in behind them. Somewhere along the way we picked up a woman from Florida who was there by herself and thankful to find some fast women (wait, aren't "fast women" something else entirely? oh well...). At one point I hollered to Bella P (you had to yell, the wind was pretty loud), "I thought this was a vacation, not a stage race!" And I'm not gonna lie, I'm hurting on the hills right now. The spring races should be interesting. And while I was patting myself on the back for being able to hang with Belgian Bella, later questioning revealed that she's still doing base and barely breaking a sweat while I redline to stay with her. But whatever. I only have to worry about the other cat 4's, right? ....right?

The wind picked up more and more until 25 miles in, on a long descent, we were pedaling hard to maintain 15 mph downhill. At the end of the descent was the only gas station on the route, so we stopped for a bit to refill bottles and that sort of thing, and most of the other Bellas pulled in a few minutes behind us, so we had a nice chat and all set out together again. It didn't take long to break back up into the same groups though. For the rest of the ride it was me, Belgian Bella, Bella P, and Kelly from Florida. We had a nice tailwind for a few miles but then the wind shifted and I don't think we had a tailwind again for the rest of the day. Naturally, this was when it got hilly. Not that it wasn't hilly before, but after the break there wasn't a single flat spot. It was a good time, but by the end my legs were completely wasted.

Nate, it turned out, had stayed with Sascha and Scott up until the gas station, then taken off ahead of them. He very nearly caught me -- I was still standing in the parking lot chatting with Bella P when he pulled up. Later that afternoon, once everybody had returned and showered, we passed an exciting afternoon at the laundromat and then found a brewpub for dinner. I ate a HUGE hamburger with bleu cheese, fried onions, and fried mushrooms, and a giant heap of wedge fries with habanero ranch, and two mugs of red ale, and promptly fell into a huge coma. They nearly had to carry me out of the restaurant. Of course we had to go to WalMart then, where I paraded around with my distended belly and prayed that everyone would just assume I was pregnant.

And that was Sunday. I will do my best to edit some pictures back into these last couple posts, as soon as I can get them off of Nate's computer. Sit tight. It's not like you have anything else to do anyway if you live in Minneapolis, what with the ten inches of snow and the "do not leave your house for ANY REASON" advisories they've apparently been broadcasting. We picked a good week to be gone.


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