It was cold as I rolled down the hill from my apartment. Very cold especially since I lacked gloves. The ride to our coffee shop meet-up was short and I was the third person there pulling up just as two others arrived. We went inside so I could fortify myself with a hot Americano and a huge freshly baked chocolate chip scone. Other riders dribbled in and around 9 we were ready to roll.
There were two routes planned, one to the east and one to the hills of the west. I knew the latter, the A Ride would be a killer in spite of all the talk I was hearing about conversational pace and no drops (no rider left behind) and we'll just take it easy. Nice sentiments, but even if did those things we would still be climbing all morning long, and I hate climbing
We took off through the north end of town where I faced one last opportunity to chicken out when we passed my street. I kept going and once beyond the limits of civilization the road went up and kept doing so for about the next hour. It was now sunny which was nice but still chilly, especially when descending on the far side of the first big hill in the deep shade. The ups and downs went on for the next three hours and I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say the strong guys did wait for us, we slow people did ourselves proud, no one got left behind and it eventually came to an end with a quick descent into town. We split up and went our separate ways. I had a bit of distance to cover and I took a nice leisurely ride back to my turn off. The street back up to my place is short and very steep but I tried it and made it about halfway up - my legs just didn't have anything more to give. I walked up to the flat and rode to my driveway where dismounting I checked my speedometer and saw it stood at 41.93 miles which of course would not do. I got back on and rode to the end of the block, finishing with 42.05. Checking the app on my phone I discovered that we'd done 4,289 feet of climbing. That means roughly 21, 200 foot hills. Did I mention earlier that I hate climbing?
After cleaning up I drove to my friend's house for a nice picnic of local Mexican food and good cold beers. As the sun fell behind the hill in his backyard, a pair of deer came out of the woods to forage. It was now getting chilly again even surpassing the strength of my thermal shirt so I bid everyone adieu and headed home for an evening of writing and relaxing knowing that tomorrow holds another long haul through the desert.