Fog rolled in thick and dense at last night's Bistro Roca ride. It was so intense that it sat on my helmet and apparel like rain. About ten hardy souls turned out and we opted to ride an alternate loop that would hopefully take us out of the bad conditions.
It was a humiliating, shameful night for master competitor. I didn't have the courage to keep up in zero visibility and needed to pack up my pea sized cajones and head for home. I was consistently falling off the back of the group; when I did catch up I was living in fear. At one point we were doing a descent on the Blue Ridge Parkway, tucked into a pace line, pushing the big chainring. I looked down and saw 39 mph on my bike computer. I couldn't see three feet ahead. Then I realized that if I crashed, it wouldn't even hurt. I would just wake up in heaven.
We went on and off the parkway. At one point we climbed a section that almost exploded my heart. Ride leader Cobb told me it was an 11% grade. Guess that's a ton. The big upside for me was the new rear dérailleur cable. Didn't realize how "off" my shifting had become. With the new cable, I was hitting precise, quick shifts, which are essential with the climbs and descents.
"Lots of talent up ahead," I muttered to Cobb, who is a strong 56 year old athlete.
"Lots of youth up ahead," he replied.
We rolled back to the start area with 24 miles complete. They were all hard, all well earned. This cycling life in the mountains is a whole new game, played at a much higher level. I was out of my league but hung onto the cusp of the action. There's room for improvement, no doubt about that.