I love to give names to the group rides that I organize. I am not always successful, but over the past two weekends our little group had 3 great rides. Two were post-Thanksgiving "Burn the Pie" rides and today was a "Hill and Chills".
Burn the Pie ride #1 was on Black Friday. While others were exhausted from all their shopping, our little group of 7 rode a quick, flat 12 miles. We were joined by the Schoppe family for this ride. Dad Jay towed his 5 year old daughter Ella behind him. Ella gets the award for being our youngest ever tri-girl! She peddled hard and steady for the whole 12 miles behind her dad. I had my camera, but failed to snap a picture of the group. The weather was beautiful and we barely broke a sweat. I am not sure how much pie was actually burned that morning, but we all had fun. This short ride also gave a great option for people who wanted to opt out of the 32 mile Burn the Pie ride #2 on Saturday. This short ride was a just a warm-up for what followed the next day.
Burn the Pie ride #2 was on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We had another beautiful sunny day in the high 50's (Fahrenheit) and 5 riders. We did a modified version of the Deary Bike route which normally starts at JD Coopers Restaurant in Putnam. Instead we started in Thompson and headed down to Putnam out to Dayville and Pomfret, through Woodstock past the fairgrounds and up Paine District Road, back into Thompson, and ending with a long 1.2 mile climb for a total of just under 32 miles. We had to take a detour at one point due to a car accident and downed wires across the road. This led to a really big hill that almost had us completely physched out and defeated because we knew what was still ahead of us. Cori (below all the way to the right) snapped this picture of the dreaded hill. Be we cheered each other on all the way to the top, and realized when we got there that it only looked bad. It ended up being a fairly easy climb. Some pie was definitely burned on that day. As usual I struggled on the many hills. But my friend Curtis (below in the purple jacket) was good to me and made sure that the group didn't lose me. I know that my ability to attack the hills will improve with practice, but man do I dread each and every one.
Today was our Hills & Chills ride, aptly named because it was mostly uphill and it was never over 40 degrees Fahrenheit. There were also a few sweet downhills but we needed to be pretty bundled up to avoid the wind chill. We had a group of 7 riders -- hard to believe for December! And we even managed to get a group photo. This was a 24 mile ride that had us reaching the top of Buck Hill in Rhode Island right around mile 16. I fueled my ride with chocolate from my recent trip to Venezuela and alternated between Powerade and good old fashioned H20. We once again ended with a roughly 1.5 mile climb and I whined a little coming up the last hill. But overall I felt good on this ride. In July of this year a few of us did a "Quad Buster" 50 mile ride. Today's route covered the final 24 miles of that ride. It was much easier to ride this route today having not ridden 26 additional hilly miles first!
Curtis, Michelle, and I did all three of the rides over the last two weekends plus a ride the Sunday before Thanksgiving with various other participants along for the different rides. I hope to get a few more outdoor rides in before we have to deal with the snow and freezing weather. My odometer is about to turn over to 2000 miles in just under three seasons of riding and I am looking forward to passing that milestone. I had taken a couple months off from riding this fall after the Funtastic Nantasket tri to focus on running and traveling, but am back in the saddle and feeling great!