I finished the 2014 Pacific Populaire, beating last year’s time by almost 30 minutes and finishing strong.
This was for you Dad
I did this ride for my father. He would have celebrated his 98th birthday on ride day were it not for experiencing poor health in his later years. His experience motivated me to live a healthier, more active life and, cycling has been an integral part of that. So Dad, this ride was for you.
I have been fighting a cold this past week. When I awoke, I had a sore throat and congestion in my lungs. I wasn’t certain if I should even attempt the ride. I decided to give it a try. I could always return home, albeit with my tail between my legs.
Thirty minutes into the ride there is a 4-5% grade, 10 minute climb. I figured if I could do the climb, I could complete the ride. As I neared the bottom of the climb, I was feeling strong. No one passed me on the way up and, in fact, I passed many other riders during the climb, finishing strong at the top. I was ready.
Highlights of the Ride
A few things stand out about the ride.
First, I tried to ride with other groups as much as possible taking turns at the front pulling. There was a 25 km stretch that I shared with four other riders, four strong road riders half my age. We shared time pulling as we battled a slight headwind, averaging a respectable 30 km/hour pace.
Second, I was noticeably stronger on the climbs this year. I attribute this to a better off-season training program, spinning classes, a compact chainring and a peanut butter & banana sandwich at the mid-point of the ride.
And lastly, I finished much stronger than last year. 15 km from the finish there is a short, but steep, climb. The group I was with struggled. I was able to find a lower gear and spin easily up the climb leaving the rest of the group behind. I had energy in reserve. 5 km from the finish, there was another short, but very steep (8-9% grade), climb. Again, I found a low gear and accelerated to the summit. The rest of the ride was relatively flat and I was able to average a 30-40 km/hour pace to the finish.
Credit the Roberts, Tylenol and Spinning Classes
I have to credit the rebuilt Roberts, Tylenol and spinning classes for this ride.
The Roberts performed flawlessly. Shifting was effortless and the compact chainring made easier work of both the climbs and flats.
And, my doctor gave me some good advice regarding my cold. There is not much you can do for a cold other than to let it run its course, rest and drink a lot of fluids. He advised me to take Tylenol every 4 hours for the 2 days leading up to the ride. He said the Tylenol wouldn’t cure the cold but lessen the symptoms and make me feel better. I usually don’t do anything for a cold except perhaps a hot toddy before bed. The Tylenol seemed to make a difference.
And, spinning classes taught me that I can work harder than I realized, be mentally strong and that when I feel tired, I still have gas in the tank. So here is a shout out to my 30 year old son for helping me rebuild the Roberts (he is an excellent bicycle mechanic), my doctor for not letting me give up because of a cold and my spinning instructor for showing me there is always gas in the tank.
Bucket Llist Time
The ride has given me the confidence to ride more and explore new routes. It is time to tackle some of those Cycling Bucket List items in earnest.