After a few email exchanges, we decided to finally meet for a ride and get caught up. Our first ride together was going to be a night ride on Thursday from the EQ in Draper. A few days prior to meeting, I found myself Googling his name and searching for any previous race results to find out of just how fast he was. A few searches came up but I still didn't have a good gage on his fitness.
I tried to get a few of my fast friends- Jamie and Tony to join me. If I wasn't able to hang at least one of my friends might be able to. But they both bailed and left me all alone to fight my fight.
Thursday night finally arrived and I drove down to the EQ in Draper and started getting my gear on. I noticed another ride there with baggy shorts and a heavy downhill bike. I thought for a minute this might be Chad and I got a little excited. It wasn't. And just then, another biker pulled up and for the first time in over 13 years, I saw my old friend. He rode his bike to the EQ (already a bad sign), and the first thing I noticed were his legs. Huge quads and huge calves....Oh crap, I thought. This is going to be painful.
We made small talk as I finished getting my bike ready. It's important to note that I was on my SS and Chad on a full suspension geared bike. I decided to ride the SS because I thought it would give me an advantage on the climbs. A chance to put the hammer down and set a fast pace.
This being a reunion AND a ride between 2 people who haven't ridden together set the stage for an all out race to establish the alpha male. I knew it. And Chad knew it. We didn't talk about it. It's just what happens in these situations.
As we began the ride, Chad set the pace on the lower, flatter section. Within minutes, I was redlined and pretty much unable to carry on a good conversation. Even simple questions like "what do you do for work" left me unable to give a complete answer. "In.....Sales....." I would mumble. I was having serious doubts about this ride and we were only 3 minutes into it. As we got the the base of Clarks, I pulled in front and set a much lower pace. I knew this would give me about 10-15 minutes of recovery as we climbed up Clarks. The problem was, I was on a SS and you really need to climb and a pretty good speed or you tip over. That section was short lived and as we got to the road, the climb to Jacob's began. Chad, now back in front, was setting a brutal pace. I managed to keep his wheel and was able to stay with him better on the steep parts. But after a bit he started to gap me.
The entire climb I kept wondering how fast he might be on the downhill. Would the downhill be my chance to put some distance between us?
It was a great night for a ride. The temp was perfect. It was a clear night. I was finally riding with Chad and was suffering but happy to be out on my bike.
We got to the top of Jacob's and I led the downhill. Chad was right on my wheel and was talking to me the entire way down. When we got to Ghost, Chad led and was letting it go through the tight turns. Such a fun downhill. Especially at night.
At the bottom, we crossed the river and climbed back up to the top of Clarks but this time, we climbed on the jeep road. Every now and then Chad would stomp on the pedals and ratchet up the pace but for the most part, we rode together.
At the bottom of Clarks, we split up. I went down to the EQ and Chad back over to the jeep road (probably for another 5 or 6 laps up Clarks). I didn't want to know. I had survived the race and came in 2nd but was happy to have finally hooked back up with Chad.
Next time, I'm bringing the two Brads (Keyes and Pilling), Kenny, and Jamie and am going to unleash them on Chad.