Yesterday, I rode in the annual 50 mile Positive Spin for ALS ride in Massachusetts. Like most charity rides, this one had a variety of cyclists participating. Some strong and some, well . . . not so strong. I generally fall somewhere in the middle.
As I’ve mentioned before, officially, charity rides are not “races.” Most people riding in them participate to challenge themselves and raise money for a good cause. While the latter reason is certainly a big part of why I do them, I also like the fact that a reasonable percentage of the people who show up are doing it to test themselves against other riders. In this sense, they are races. Needless to say, though, really good riders don’t show up for such amateur events. Nevertheless, my goal was to finish among the top riders who did show up, which I succeeded in doing.
I was riding alone so I didn’t have a wind-breaking partner to draft. Luckily, I was able to jump out with the lead group at the beginning of the ride and leech off of two strong riders who didn’t mind pulling me (aerodynamically)for long distances. I lost my two protectors at mile 35, though, and had to cut my own path through the wind for the final 15.
I ended up averaging 18.2 mph which, while not my personal best for a 50 miler, is pretty good for me. I also did it without any stops. The best news is that while I certainly didn’t feel I could have done another 50 at that pace after the ride, I was able to go out with friends doing my usual over consumption of food and alcohol thing last night. I guess the training is paying off.