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Describe your peak riding experiences...(15 posts)

Describe your peak riding experiences...AllisonHayes
Sep 23, 2002 7:57 AM
It is the first day of fall, another season of riding is nearly behind you. Hopefully, a season of improvement, of pushing yourself to that next level or of discovering ways to make yourself better.

Setting aside the pain and the sore muscles and the heat and the humidity and the endless miles and the callous motorists, there is something about riding that is simply exhilarting. Sometimes it may be finally mastering that one difficult corner on a descent, other times it may be conquering that long steep hill.

Take a moment and share your peak experiences...

- where you felt at one with your bike and you had a perfect cadence and everything seemed effortless

- where you felt strong, focused, relaxed and fully aware of everything that was happening

- where it was easy to keep going and the more you ride the more positive attitude you develop towards riding itself

- where you developed a connection between yourself and the bike and everything became automatic, reflexive.
re:Rode like that for a while Saturday.dzrider
Sep 23, 2002 8:47 AM
I left my sister-in-law's wedding reception and rode to another sister-in-law's house. At first it was hard to get moving after a big lunch and a few glasses of wine. About 10 miles out, my wife and sons came by in the car and I was embarassed that they saw me pedaling so laboriously. Not 5 minutes later I came off a short descent and miraculously hardly had to slow down.

The next 20 miles were the miracle that keeps me riding. Up and down Connecticut's rolling hills in the big ring with magical connections between my legs, lungs and the bike. Hills looked small going up and big going down. Rather than feeling focused, I felt like some other power was making this happen for my benefit as my eyes took in the scenery with a kind of mindless wonder. I got to a two mile climb that's very steep for about a half mile and just sat back and spun up the steep parts without gasping or fighting to conquer the hill.

I felt more tired at the end of the ride than I would expect to feel after 2 hrs and 15 mins., but I know that's the price of going harder, even when going harder comes easily. I don't feel this good often and the euphoria doesn't usually last this long, but each time I experience it, the desire to ride is restored and the childlike exhiliration of cycling is recaptured.

Thanks for helping me to think about this - it's fun to remember.
Amazing what a few glasses of wine can do :-) (nm)Starliner
Sep 23, 2002 9:59 AM
Sep 23, 2002 8:47 AM
re:Rode like that for a while Saturday.
re: Describe your peak riding experiences...PEDDLEFOOT
Sep 23, 2002 9:12 AM
The last 15 miles of my first century ride.I did it in August. I trained since March slowly building the miles up and increasing the long rides.When I started the century I felt good but by mile 60 I was starting to fatigue.We stopped at a rest stop where I got something to eat.I refilled my bottles and that sort of helped.Then by 85 I started feeling really good and by the time we were in the last 5 miles we were cruising.Finished strong and did a few victory laps around the parking lot of the park where it was staged.What a fantastic feeling!!! It's something I'll never forget.
few of them this yearDougSloan
Sep 23, 2002 9:18 AM
This year was not "about the bike" for me, for obvious reasons.

Nonetheless, my peak experience on the bike probably was the Central Coast Double. I had a relatively bad winter training, the spring was spent catching up. I had abandoned the 24 hour race, which really disgusted me. I went to the 209 mile CCD with the idea of just riding "for fun", something I rarely do in an organized event. So, I just rode for fun, never even breathing hard, despite 13,000 feet of climbing. It was amazing, as my time was about the same as the last two years, and I rode a negative split, averaging faster on the second half. Finished strong and had lots of fun along the way. Maybe this was an isolated occurrence, or maybe there is a lesson to be learned about starting too fast in long rides.

I can think of 2.look271
Sep 23, 2002 9:22 AM
Early in May I had trained (hard) for the 3 state 3 mountain challenge in Tennesse. The weather was at best, sketchy. It didn't matter. I rode along easily up the 1st climb, waited for a friend of mine, then down through the rain to the valley. Rode up the next two climbs faster than I expected and easier than I expected (I was NOT going to stop on the last climb.) The bike just seemed to fly up the mountains; I dropped riders much younger and smaller than me. Life was GOOD. Also, recently, I did a 63 mile loop near me that ends in a 2.1 mile climb avg gradient 7% with pitches of 16%. Not only did I climb it, but I finished withh an avg of over 18mph, much faster than I could have imagined.
One, plus . . .ms
Sep 23, 2002 9:57 AM
My peak riding experience was the Mojave by Moonlight Century in June. Unlike other rides that I had planned to do, I really did not even think about this ride until a week before -- I was going to California on business, just surfed the net and found this century. Everything clicked -- I usually am a slow rider, but I had one of the faster finishes. It was one of the times when the bike and I were one. Also, riding in the desert with a full moon is an experience that is hard to beat.

The plus was the period from September 2 through 14. I had made commitments to various friends to do rides without realizing that I had committed to do three 100 mile plus rides within 12 days. I was worried that I would burn out. Instead, I feel that I became stronger. Also, each of the rides was as a blast. I now am beginning to understand why MB1 and others ride centuries every weekend. It is addictive.

The event that I thought would be my peak riding experience for the season was the Etape du Tour (the cyclosportif run over a stage of the Tour de France -- this year is was run over Stage 17). The ride was hard for me and I finished just barely in front of the clean up vehicles (9:49). I learned a lot from the ride and would like to do the Etape again. But, I will need a lot more training before the next time. After riding a mountain stage of a grand tour, I never will criticize any pro for what he does or does not do on a mountain stage. (But, then there was David Millar's performance yesterday in the Vuelta . . .)
re: Describe your peak riding experiences...mackgoo
Sep 23, 2002 10:36 AM
Early this last Spring I was riding in Vt. I came across this monster hill, a monster to me any way comming from coastal Ma., it was probably 2 or 3 miles long going up was OK. Going down a dream, I was cruising at 30-35 Mph for about a half hour. The descent wasn't really steep almost a false flat in the favorable way. Man I felt like a Pro in Europe that day.
Both this weekend...MXL02
Sep 23, 2002 11:05 AM
Saturday...hammering away at dawn on a crisp fall morning, dropping all who tried to tag along...and
Sunday...took the new Tandem out for its maiden voyage with wife and daughter in tow.
Both sublime, the first for the personal feelings of fitness and accomplishment as well as the natural beauty of the environs, and the second for the joy of sharing my love of cycling with the two most important women in my life. I couldn't have scripted it any better if I tried.
Sep 23, 2002 1:16 PM
The Solvang Century comes pretty early in the year, which is kind of sad to be a peak experience!

I did it with three friends and we were absolutely flying. We were all riding at the same level, and if someone was suffering a bit, the others picked up the slack. We ended up with a time of 5:20, which is pretty damn good for a windy century with 6,000 feet of climbing.

We were doing averaging nearly 25 mph for most of the final 25 miles. People would jump on our tail but no one could stay there, and at the pace we were going, no one was willing to get in our rotation! About five miles from the end there's a kind of steep, twisting, corkscrew-style climb. It's not too long, but it's not very wide, either. When we got there, there must have been 30-40 riders in a loose pack just beginning the climb. There was no way we wanted to be at the back of that pack going up, so we pushed our pace up the side, and passed most of them. It jammed up on the hairpins, but holes would miraculously appear and I would shoot through them. Everyone was dropping back now, but I was still flying. About 100 meters from the top, my last remaing buddy said "you win!" and fell off the pace.

Now I found myself alone with one other guy, who heard me coming and was trying to stay away. I don't race, and I'm not even that competitive a guy, but sometimes I see a challenge and have to take it. I kept up my pace and got almost onto his wheel, but I knew the top was coming too fast to "win" the climb. Inexplicably, with about 10 meters to go for an easy "victory," he threw up his hands and surrendered, saying something like "dammit!" and gasping for air. I didn't know what to say, so I think I said something like "that's a tough climb" as I went by him and over the top.

Down the twisting descent on the other side, about 1/2 mile away away, I looked back and saw no one. No one! Not even the guy I was with at the top. I couldn't believe it. I was feeling so incredibly strong, so I ended up hammering the remaining 4 miles on my own in time trial mode. My friends told me later that they got mixed up in the pack.

This was definitely the peak experience of my year. I have never felt so good and so strong on any ride, much less a century. I've never felt so comfortable doing the kind of pace we were doing. And I could never imagine that after that kind of effort, I could drive four hours back home without falling asleep on the road.

To further put this in context, the last two years on this same ride, I had cracked in the final 20 miles and stumbled back into town.
Dolomites, Italydave woof
Sep 23, 2002 1:45 PM
Lago Di Garda - Italy

Riding up the one side of the Dolimites around '85 (outside Lago del Garda - near Riva I think) - anyway - 1 hour 15 minutes non stop climbing. Had the cadence and breathing perfect. I was in the zone. Got to the top and I could look out over the town and the lake. about 20 minutes to get down down - I was flying around hairpins... It was frikkin awesome. I'll never forget it.

Saturday, at dinnerStraightblock
Sep 23, 2002 3:26 PM
after the Lighthouse Century, right before I popped the first of many fried shrimp into my mouth. I had a much better ride than I expected, riding strong all the way to the end. In spite of riding most of the route alone, my time was almost as fast as last year when I rode mostly in a fast paceline of about 10 riders.

I realized at dinner that I had completed my longest ride of the year and was in my best physical shape of the year, and that shrimp symbolized the first step down from the peak. But it was sooooo good.
Hopefully it hasn't happened yet...Lone Gunman
Sep 23, 2002 5:09 PM
I am riding Cycle NC for the third year and am looking forward to cool crisp mornings followed by warm sunny afternoons for a week, hopefully with no rain.

If it has happened I would have to say it was discovering the joy of single speed. Time on the SS is about equal to time on a geared bike at this point. Really is not much description, but muscling that single gear up a hill I sometimes struggle with on a geared bike is an accomplishment.
re: Describe your peak riding experiences...aliensporebomb
Sep 24, 2002 2:59 AM
A couple rides impact on my memory:

A friend and I on August 4th went on a loop we'd never ridden before.

We followed a roadie on the way down into the river
valley and I found that even though he was 20 feet ahead I was almost impatient - I could have passed the guy if I'd wanted to but was sort of fascinated in a detached way that I was keeping up with the guy without drafting.

He took another road so I decided to go a little faster and held that pace until we hit some railroad tracks about two
miles further down the road. My friend was like "hold up,
I can't hold this pace."

Later, I let him lead and we were blazing on this totally
flat road with farm fields as far as the eye could see.

For quite a while we were heading west at over 20 mph. I
asked to stop and took a picture of the fields because it
literally looked like we were out in the middle of nowhere.

With the overcast skies it could have been an unreleased
Pink Floyd CD cover....roads, farm fields and nothing else.

We kept on going. The speed reduced to about 17-18 mph for
a while and we eventually got into a town I never thought
that I'd attain by bicycle. A place my parents and I used
to go through on the way to the grandparents place. It was
curiously surreal.

We got to a phone booth and I called my wife just to bug her
since I knew she was never going to believe I was there (it
would show up on the caller id that it was a phone booth in
a different area code). She laughed it off. We were going
to do dinner but she thought it would take hours for us to
get back. On looking, the ride was only 1 hr 30 mins.

I remember that one as being really strong, like nearly as
strong as when I was a regular commuter. That ride lead to
longer rides, 35 milers, 40 milers.

I'll be doing more before the season ends but that ride
really impacts on me as an important one. It shows that
the only limits to what I can do with a bike are probably
mostly mental.