On Saturday it was Bob (see blog roll to the right) who responded to my “who will ride over 4 hours with me” desperate online plea. He said I will take you to an 18% hill and then he said something about coffee. I was sold!
I drove up north and we were on our bikes by 8:15 am. DID YOU HEAR THAT JEN – 8:15 am! This is very un-Liz-like. I don’t do much before 9 am except drink coffee, let Boss out for a poo and think about training for the day.
Bob lives in Barrington. It is a nice area with nicer homes and the nicest cars you will see (let’s play how many Ferrari’s did we see today). Not only that but it has some wicked nice hills! AND we only stopped for traffic TWICE.
TWICE. (this beats riding around my home where you will stop for traffic and stoplights a thousand times which is good for working on your track stands and power starts but not so good for triathlon)
I heard Bob was a chatty guy. That’s ok – chatty is good. Besides, I survived countless hours running and riding with Marit so I felt well-trained and prepared. But to my surprise Bob didn’t say too much. Maybe he wasn’t sure if I would say much. Or maybe he wasn’t sure what to say.
So I broke the ice.
At 40 minutes into the ride I yelled. I told Bob to use his big guy status and descend the damn hill! Get after it, BOB! Nice job, Liz. From there on out, he took off and left me chasing him after every decline.
Early in the ride I showed Bob the vulture. I was waiting at a stop sign and circled for him one time. He is savvy though – at his first opportunity he vultured me. Three times. A little while later I attempted a very risky move – vulturing him five times. After that I admitted it wouldn’t be a good idea to ride near me because I was very dizzy.
Bob took me out to Bull Valley. It was hilly. No bull! We came around the first hill and I said to myself PLEASE do not tell me THAT was “the wall”. Because it was really just a bump in the road. Bob said “patience my young friend” – not really, but he pretty much said hold your shorts because we haven’t hit it yet.
And holy buckets – there it was. There was a giant HILL in Illinois. One that ascended out of the valley very much like the hills in central Ohio. I may have shouted THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT but when you’re descending fast it is very hard to hear.
Bob told me you could hit 53 mph going down the wall. Correction – Bob could hit 53 while I could hit….43. Not so much due to descending skills rather it might have something to do with 96 ounces of fluids on my bike and body. Or it might have something to do with just telling myself BECOME THE BIKE, melt into it and descend!
Coming back up – not going 43. Miles per hour, no. Going about…..7. And 50 rpms. But in the big ring. That counts for something, right? We make a left turn and descend a big hill again. I say to Bob THAT WAS AWESOME!
Because of that - we are doing it three more times.
I thought maybe Bob was ready to pull a bottle out of my rear cage and club me with it but he came right back with an OK! Let’s climb! Four times through the loop with 12 hill climbs. And not namby pamby Illinois hills – CLIMBS! Ok, not California climbs or South Carolina climbs but at least better than a small rise in the road.
I told Bob too I would be climbing like an idiot today – don’t mind me. I will be overgearing it, staying seated and hopefully keeping it in the big ring. All good plans until we hit THE WALL. Where did this come from? It had me going 5.7 mph at 47 rpms. And staying seated was not really an option.
Beyond the valley we rode some more. It was rolling and nice. At one point we were 9 miles from the Wisconsin border.
THAT WAS CLOSE.
Bob asked if I wanted to ride back through the valley to get back towards or go around it. Let’s go one more time and this time I will stay seated on the wall!
Why do I say these things? Once the challenge was set in my head I had to do it. It was tough. I bottomed out at 37 rpms going 4.7 mph. I will for sure remember that when I am climbing the beast. And I will not forget climbing those hills for a total of….
Once we came out of the valley we found one of Bob’s friends. His name was Mike and he joined us for the ride. Mike rode next to me and asked me many questions.
“So you must be all of 25, right?”
When I guessed he was 36 he said a day shy of 49.
I am so going to keep riding my bike.
When he asked me to guess how many of his body parts were not his own (that’s a fun new party game), I didn’t guess three. And then he asked me what my claim to fame was, I didn’t know. For today I just said “I am Bob’s friend. And I just turned pro in triathlon.”
Bob used his descending skills to blow by us and then Mike asked me my favorite question of the day “do you want to go attack Bob?”
Sorry, Bob. We did. But he had a good spirit about it. After about an hour, Mike peeled off from our ride. It was shortly after his confession that he spent a good part of the previous night watching Dr. Who.
Who watches Dr. Who?
The same man who did not know who Dora The Explorer was. And if he spent less time watching Dr. Who he might know who Dora was (and for that matter, how does Bob know Dora if he doesn’t have kids?).
We rode some more and then found one last climb. Going up it – yet again – at 5.7 mph I pronounced my legs dead. Bob’s legs spoke and they agreed.
After the ride we returned to Bob’s house. Let me just say that I want to be one of his neighbors because on Sunday there is a party on the lawn. It was totally inappropriate and out of place – a slice of redneck in Barrington. WHO in Barrington sits on their lawn in a lawn chair on a Sunday BEFORE noon wearing a camouflage hat, drinking a beer that is resting on top of a cooler while talking NASCAR with their friend? Who?
Bob’s neighbors do. Apparently every Sunday when it’s nice.
I left Bob to debate who is better – Junior or that other guy they saw last year at the Joliet Speedway….and I went off to run. I haven’t run off a bike that long in a long time. Probably not since Ironman! The first 15 minutes were hard. But my legs felt great! The heat – it was hot. That was worse than my legs but then I got to settle the pace and things felt more comfortable.
All in all it was a great day! This was my last big ride/run combo before St. Croix. I’m very grateful that Bob took the time to ride that long with me and show me hills that will prepare me for the many climbs I have ahead.
Ok, so next weekend – who’s next? Let’s ride!