Saturday morning was one of those "perfect ride days".
I rolled out of my garage at 5:45am, setting out on my favorite 60 mile hill ride. This ride has hills everywhere, but there are three main ones; the first is in Bridgewater, where you take a left while heading north as soon as you get over the bridge on Lake Lilli..., the next is rt. 317 from Roxbury into Woodbury, and the final one is rt. 111 in Monroe at the 56 mile mark. All three of these climbs have gradients up to 18%. In between them is more hills, just not as challenging as the three major ones.
It was in the low 60's when I left and the sun was already up. I made a playlist that was 3 1/4 hrs, and my goal was to finish the ride before the playlist ended. As I started up Hattertown Rd., I was thinking about when I first got into triathlons and riding. There was a Saturday morning 8 mile time trial hosted by Amity Bikes in Woodbridge, and I would ride out to it, race the TT, then spin home, for a 3.5 hr ride. I used to love the feeling of finishing this Saturday morning session while most were just awakening. I also think this small, once a week TT was critical in my cycling strength development.
There is one big downhill that leads you from Brookfield into Bridgewater on this ride with a big left hand turn, and as I'm riding down this, enjoying the speed, I take the left hand turn to come right up on a deer standing in the middle of the road. I swerve to the right quickly, however, the deer panics and starts running towards my right as well. I'm steering my bike to the right still, at 45 mph, but I'm leaning to the left, into the deer. Yes, he's run right at me and is that close. Maybe it's a she, I didn't have time to check. It quickly switches directions as we brush up against each other and the deer runs off to the left as I remain upright, my heart rate at 160 bpm and I'm not pedaling. I reach the bottom of the hill and cross the bridge and take the left to begin the first really big climb. This one climbs really quick - it starts out at probably an 18% grade. My adrenaline from my brush in with the deer is raging, and I hammer this climb at 450 watts the whole way up.
The rest of the ride, I was still flying on some type of endorphins and had one of the best rides I've had in a really long time. What certainly helped was that is was just the perfect morning to ride. I rolled back up my driveway around 9am, thinking once again that most were just awakening. Lisa, Ryan and kate were watching the first Alps stage of the tour which was really exciting. Then Ryan and I went for a ride. Ryan wanted to ride on the roads, since he's really only ridden the rail trail here. So I took him up to the Bethel Corporate park where there is a 1 mile road around the park. there is one decent hill on the loop with a painted sprint line at the top, and another painted sprint line at the opposite side of the 1 mile loop. We did 5 loops, and Ryan sprinted for the line every time. I'd lead him out for some, and he'd push his bike forward as though he were in a bunch sprint. We then stopped at bethel Bike and he got to check out Greg Pelicans Cervelo P3C which, as Ryan let me know, is an exact replica of Fabian Cancellaras. All this and it was just turning noon!
Not a bad start to a great weekend.