Walter texted me all week trying to coordinate a group ride for last night. Scattered storms moved through Wednesday night and Thursday morning and dropped the temps into the 90's. The humidity went up though so I wasn't sure how it would end up feeling at 5:30 PM. And I was juggling work, kid pickup from two different day camps, and report delivery with trying to get there on time. I texted that I was on my way at 5:25 and would be just a few minutes late.
We met at the Ellis Blvd plaza parking lot. Walter had invited Bruce, Andrew and Bree to join us. Walter and Bruce are engineers, Andrew is an engineering student interning with them and Bree is a math teacher at the technical college. What a bunch of geeks we are!
The ride started out with Bruce falling over trying to unclip at a roundabout about 1/4 mi in. Poor guy! But I was glad it wasn't me since it usually is. We headed out Ellis to Greenberry to Clark through downtown around the Capitol and out Main. We paused for a drink at Memorial Park and I started thinking I wasn't going to make it to St. Martins with the crazy heat and that wicked hill by Binder Lake.
We rode out Truman/Ten Mile Dr and then Walter decided to help me shorten the route by splitting off from the group on Rainbow and go down to Apache Flats and back up to Big Horn by the roundabout on Old Lohman. We waited at the convenience store there for about 10-15 min for the group. I refilled a bottle with ice water and ate a pretty melted granola bar while chatting for a bit. Once the others caught up, we headed out to Fairgrounds, County Park, Rolling Hills Road and back to Route C. I took my turn pulling and tried to push my pace so that I wasn't slowing everyone down. Then we circled back to Ellis and got back right at the 2 hour mark for a total of 20.3 mi.
I've decided that Walter is a bit of the "bike dad". He helped me adjust my helmet strap that I've never taken the time to get quite right. He also checks on everyone to make sure they are safe and have anything they need. He isn't offended by making on the fly adjustments so that you can enjoy the ride - even if it is shortening or adding a stop to rest for a minute. Bree had rode from her house so he rode with her home to make sure she got back safely. I passed him in my truck on his way back. His kids are mostly grown (youngest is in college) so maybe old habits just die hard. I think it is sweet.
Always nice to get in a good workout with friends. Riding with a group is still new to me and I struggle with uncertainty in my bike handling and all of the roadie etiquette. I find it hard to follow at the right pace - usually too slow, but sometimes I ride up too fast. But I'm getting the hang of it and hopefully the others enjoy having an extra face along even if the heat kicks my butt.
I've been looking around to figure out "what's next" and have found at least the first "next" thing. On 8/11, I am going to celebrate my 39th birthday with a trail run/race called "Kicks in the Sticks" out at Binder. I've never run on this kind of trail so we'll see how it goes. At least there will be shade. There will also be food, beverages and music! Gotta drop off my registration today. Susan has tentatively agreed to do it with me though we are still deciding between the 3.5 mi and the 7.5 mi route. We may play it by ear and see how bad the heat/humidity is that night. I'm leaning toward the longer route just because.
Another "next" is the Epic Mud Run at Midway on Labor Day weekend. My husband actually wants to do this with me. We aren't going for speed - just fun! Eighteen obstacles including zombies from Fearfest, a color obstacle and more water, mud and fun than you can shake a stick at. All while cruising along a 3 mi course to a finish line beer garden. Too bad I don't drink beer. Tentatively have two other friends to do it with us. Still recruiting for more so let me know if you want to come to Mid-MO over Labor Day weekend for some fun! I saw on FB that Luke from Team Virtus snagged the $10 coupon from Ultramax's FB so I hope that means I'll see him there.
Looking for at least one or two triathlons before the end of September. Need to get with it and register for something before time gets away from me. Hopefully I can decide in the next week or so. Stay tuned!