I was really looking forward to Saturday's VeloDuluth Split Rock Tour, I really was. I just thought I'd be riding with some familiar faces at a nice, relaxed pace. Well, I didn't see anyone I new, except Jeff C., Biking Duluth blogger. He was at the start, but couldn't ride due to family obligations. We all know how that goes, been there plenty of times my self. I figured I would hook up with a few people of my ability and enjoy the ride. Not to be today.
I left the Brighton Beach start and headed up the shore right behind a couple of obviously fast guys. Top end gear, equipment in order, well used, but maintained. Both were lean, Cat 3 looking character, out of my racing league types. About a hundred yards in, the touch wheels and one of them hits the pavement hard. Several of us stopped and checked if he was OK, then we headed up the shore in earnest. After a couple of miles, the 2 of them just took off and left me alone. The lake wind picked up, and my spirits dropped. I looked behind and no one was coming, no one ahead to catch up with, so the thought of a solo century entered my mind. Not what I had planned.
After about 10 miles, 2 more guys on aerobar equipped rigs blew past me in a hurry, mini team time trial style. A couple of mile latter, they were pulled off the road taking on some water looking fried. I pulled into the Knife River feed and consumed a couple of orange slices and a Hammer gel. Love that apple-cinnamon flavor. Topped of the water bottle, which started of filled with Hammer Heed, and headed up the road. The wind kicked it up a notch. Bad news for my century plan. My suitcase of courage was dragging behind lick a big, rock filled anchor. So I did my best Hors Category hardman Jens Voigt imitation ( a much fatter and slower version) and gutted it out through Two Harbors and stopped at the feed on the north side of town.
An orange, fig newton, and a bag of Jelly Belly Sport Beans latter, and off again. I headed a few miles north as so I could do 60 miles instead of the 100 I had thought about. The wind was just too much for a big target like me. Plus, my training log reflected my fitness isn't quite there yet. I could have meandered along and did it, but I was treating it as training and didn't want to just go up in smoke for nothing.
2 1/2 hours to do 31 miles is a poor effort to me, so I vowed to really kick it on the ride back. After the turn around, the wind was at my back, and I flew. The spirit of Fabian Cancellara touched my legs ( in a good way ) for many miles. Places where I was down to 10 mph and lower on the way up were now showing 25-30 on the way back. I stopped for water in Knife River and headed back. I saw a lot of people still on their way up when I was heading back, so I didn't feel too bad about my effort. I just wonder where every one was....