We started the morning by coaxing two hot Italian ladies into the back of my Dad's truck. Bikes, you perverts. How many great Saturdays have started just like this?
Last year, The Tulip Pedal (in spite of it's delicate-sounding name) straight kicked our ass. We faced a headwind that literally stood us on our pedals for 20+ miles. It was one of the tougher days I've had on the bike. But this year was going to be different. Sky blue, legs strong, backpack carrying two Busch Light tallboys.
We started out fast from LaConner, tiny tourist burg in the heart of flower country, riding with Mona, her husband Mike, and their friend Marcia. Knowing that Spring is late this year, we stopped at the first field of daffodils, because it would likely be one of the last. Photo op.
On the next stretch, it became clear that Marcia would be my headwind this year. She was attacking hills with an energy I couldn't find, and dear old dad was matching.
After the first rest stop, energized by a handful of Shot Bloks, I put my head down and rode away from everyone for about a half-hour. Hands in the drops, effortless straight line, riding hard. I stopped and waited for Team Geriatric to catch up, blissfully ignorant of my impending unraveling.
I first became aware I was going to bonk somewhere around mile 50. At 55, I started to bemoan the pace, and even made a conscious decision to not take my turn at the front. The brain always goes limp first. Soon my legs followed, stiffening, and developing a serious knot in the left hamstring. Cursing every pedal stroke, I fell back and let the others ride away.
I hobbled back into LaConner, riding alongside my Dad, who had stopped to wait when he realized I'd hit the wall. Back in town, we met up with Lisa, fresh from her second big ride of 20 miles! My girl's not messing around here... she fully intends to work up to a century by summer. I'd been cycling daily for two years before I reached that milestone. Go baby!
We finished off the 62-mile day as it should have been. LaConner Brewing for pints and wood-fired pizza. All was right with the world again.
Bring on the next ride.