Yeah, it says "There are no achievements on this ride." but that doesn't include two: I put in 60 miles and made it home under my own power (barely). But I definitely bit off more than I could chew.
This was a two-part ride.
Part 1 - Rode out from home to the Atkinson Pool in Sudbury, thinking that I'd merely be riding through after the folks that were going to meet me there decided on a later start. Turns out, there WAS someone there waiting to ride.
Enter young Ace (his real name!) and his dad. Ace, all of 15 years old, introduced himself as a budding racer/triathlete and had been lurking the MRC boards for a year or so. He was on his dad's Marinoni (vintage mid '80's?). Seemed like the only modern amenities were the Speedplay pedals.
After introductions and enough conversation with me that his dad was assured I was not an axe murderer (or worse), we set out.
I let Ace know I was planning on doing a loop that would have me back at the start about 90 minutes later to meet up with Doug K and Alan H and then head back out for another 90 minute ride. He was cool with this and we headed towards the Northboro area on the off-chance that we might bump into Doug as he was making his was towards Sudbury.
Along the way, I tried to get a feel of Ace's skill set and gave him the noob group cyclist tutorial (how far off a wheel to ride, basic hand signals, etc.). As we went along, he seemed to be able to make that old bike move pretty well and didn't seem to mind having some old guy as company.
In fact, Ace was a very self possessed young man and we had a good conversation when we finally got off the trafficky and noisy Sudbury Road and started heading up towards Lake Boon. Turns out he graduated from the same school my daughter currently goes to and is now going to a private high school that is a client of mine.
We looped out to Northboro, headed up into Berlin and back east on Rte. 62 through Hudson then into Sudbury. All along the way, I kept a decent 18-20mph pace which didn't seem to bother Ace at all. We logged 30 miles and Ace peeled off as we passed his neighborhood.
Good kid, hope to do some more rides with him.
Part 2 - Arrived back at Atkinson 5 minutes late to find Doug and Alan ready to go and so we did. This loop went from Sudbury to Stow to Harvard... wait a minute! Harvard? These guys said they wanted to take it easy today cuz they were going to be doing some "epic climbs" tomorrow and it was going to be all flat terrain today.
Ah well, I made a promise to myself that if I was going to do any group rides during this "comeback", there would be no complaining. Or wimping out.
So I took out my jar or HTFU and applied a liberal layer of it on my attitude. Up Stow Road we went and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Oh it hurt but I didn't falter one bit.
At the top, the two of them realized they didn't want to push too hard by doing any more long climbs and from that spot the only way you could go to avoid additional "up" was through the center of town and down Still River Road towards Bolton. That's the way we went.
This was the part of the ride when I began to sense that I was beginning to run out of gas. A quick check of the miles had us at 45 or so. Ok, so this wouldn't be the first time that I limped a long way towards home but just as I was reconciling myself to this fact, I remembered the pair of Cliff Shots I had in my pocket - I downed them both immediately.
A few more miles down the road, a welcome nature break that also gave me some time to recoup. A short time later, Alan and I were headed back towards home.
The last six miles along 117 from Bolton through Stow to home were, how shall I put it, not fun. I was totally spent. Alan, gracious and kind, poked along behind me as I shifted way down each incline.
Another 30 miles under my belt, I limped into the house, showered, dressed and proceeded to eat everything in sight.
Dammit, I can't wait to get some fitness back and just roll over those little bumps again.