Yeah, I know I need to write up Syllamo's Revenge. However, today's ride with my Dad and daughter was just too amazing not to write about ... and it is fresh on my mind. Syllamo's Revenge will follow ... shortly.
Today was an organized road ride (or race?) of 27 miles. We opted for the shorter route; Carly has built up to a max saddle time of 3 hours. We left the high school parking lot at 8:30 am. I am so proud of my Dad for he usually is NOT awake at 8:30 on a Saturday morning. The ride started out easy enough with us enjoying the breathtaking views of the Smokies. This was good as I was scheduled for an easy ride of about 3 hours. It was short-lived, however, as a Daddy/daughter trail-a-bike tandem soon passed us.
I was content to keep my easy pace; however, Carly was not. I guess the racing bug is in her genes. She immediately told me, "They are getting ahead of us, Mommy." I told her that this was just a ride, not a race. We did manage to keep them in sight. The Dad (John) was on a Cannondale road bike. We were faster on the descents and would catch up. But then they would pull away on the flats and climbs. We soon lost sight of them.
As we rolled in to the first rest stop (mile 9), guess who was there? Carly enjoyed the cookies and Starburst candies. I was content with bananas. After about 5 minutes we took off. We managed to get a head start on John and Sarah. Carly was all smiles since we were in "the lead." After about 15 minutes, Carly pointed out the fact that they were catching up to us. She told me to go faster and then I felt Carly pedaling for all she was worth. We were able to stay ahead of them until the pavement kicked up to a 10% gradient. Sadly we had to watch them pull away from us.
Meanwhile, Dad is watching this from all angles: behind, alongside, and sometimes in front of us. At this point, he was probably empathizing with Zeke! But he was holding his own quite well; he later said to me that his RPE was a 7.
For the next several miles, we climbed quite a bit, with some rollers thrown in as well. As we came around a curve, there was John and Sarah, stopped. John was answering his phone. Now was our time to attack! And we did. Carly told me she had energy so we dug deep. Once we finally crested the long climb, the view was spectacular! I had to stop and take some pictures. Carly was not pleased. She said, "They are going to catch up." And they did.
John was nice enough to stop and take some pictures of the three of us. And my Dad returned the favor. Carly, in the meantime, was rocking the bike, indicating she was ready to go! The next 3-4 miles was mostly downhill. We had a blast! This was Carly's favorite part. One section was like a rollercoaster ... we topped out at 30mph. (Yeah, some knothead will read this and have me arrested for child endangerment!) We whoo-hoo'd the whole way. Carly said she was going so fast, her shorts were coming off. She could feel the wind billowing up her soccer shorts.
At the second rest stop(mile 18), John and Sarah caught up to us. We talked for a bit and found out that they were pretty cool people. Sarah was Carly's age, just a few months older. They were just as enthusiastic as us about riding together. Carly was once again pushing the pace as this pit stop was shorter than the first. We left John and Sarah sitting in the parking lot, eating cookies.
The last section along River Road was fun, mostly flat. When I asked Carly how she was feeling, she said, "Good." When I asked her if she wanted to take it easy or go for the win, she said, "What do you think?" I don't know how she did it, but I could feel the engine in her the last 9 miles. Our only close call was when my tire kicked up a worm on her leg. She started screaming and bouncing back and forth. It was all I could do to keep the bike tracking forward! She finally managed to flick the worm off and then all was o.k.
She kept looking back for the other trail-a-bike and would give me updates every few minutes. With about a mile to go, we thought we had it. But then, just ahead, was a stranded cyclist. Doh! I did not want to stop, but knew it was the right thing to do. As I was handing him a CO2 cartridge, John and Sarah passed us. Dad pointed his finger at the cyclist and said (jokingly, I think), "If we lose, I am going to blame you."
However, they slowed down and as we caught back up to them, asked us if we and the other cyclist was o.k. They were gracious enough to allow us to finish first ... a Lance Armstrong kind of manuever. Carly, Dad, and I pulled in to the high school parking lot with smiles. Carly had to high-five me. The racer in me wanted to celebrate, but the parent in me explained to Carly how this wasn't a race, but just a really fun ride. It is not about winning ... but just having a really good time with your family. I guess I will see, over time, how she responds (I am secretly hoping for that racer's energy and drive!).
Post-race (no, ride) meal was Papa John's pizza. I fell off the wagon and had 3 pieces. Man, was it good! Sarah and her Dad sat down beside us and the girls chatted. Come to find out, Sarah had a soccer game at 2 pm. Wow, I hope she had some energy in reserve. But after looking at Dad, I suspect she did. John looked about how I felt. I was tired! But what a great day!
Needless to say, my 3 hour easy ride turned out to be a 2 1/2 hour tempo ride. Sorry, Coach, but Carly made me do it. My power file will be uploaded soon ... or maybe it should be accidentally deleted.
I will definitely be looking for another ride in the Maryville area. Mostly because our Friday night meal at Aunt Jo's was spectacular. That woman can cook! Antipasto salad, white chicken chili, zucchini casseroles, herbed ciabatta rolls, and brownies. I ate so much I was still full Saturday morning. Thanks, Aunt Jo!