Alchemist Sub-5 Train
Here’s why I love our Team. Guys like Mike W. getting an impromptu train of riders together to throw down a sub-5 hour Century. Using Strava to map a 100 mile course through the northern territories of Boulder (and obeying all traffic laws as Team members are expected to do), the Alchemist train cranked out the sub-5 Century with 20 minutes to spare. http://www.strava.com/activities/145093205
Strong work, fellas.
“A few years ago, I tried to get a group of friends together to ride a local charity road century. No interest. I asked again about 2 weeks before the event, again with no luck. Finally, I sent the invite out a third time, and asked if anyone else thought it might be fun to try and finish in less than 5 hours. Suddenly, the compete lack of interest grew into a force 10-strong looking to work as a team to complete the challenge.
We stayed together (mostly—this was a 2500+ person ride, after all), and all managed to complete the task with an average speed of 20mph. We had a great time and agreed that it was really fun, not only to work together to fight the wind, but also to care where the rest of the crew was.
The glow of the experience wore off quickly when I saw my GPS data afterwards and realized that, while we rode for 4:50-something, when you factored in the time we spent filling bottles and going to the bathroom, it was an additional 20+ minutes. Challenge met? I think NOT!
Fast forward to an early endurance ride with longtime Alchemist hard man, Ken Kreidl. As we chatted over the long day, I shared the story above. By the end of that ride, we were committed to an Alchemist team effort to accomplish the goal — this time focusing on elapsed time INCLUDING stops.
Today was the day. Here are a few pics of the post-ride celebratory beer:
(make sure you include the one with Gene, I don’t think he accomplished the sub 5 goal, but he rode hard and was quick to crack a joke when it was sorely needed!)
Sure, it wasn’t all grins and giggles. A few of us battled early season fitness (or lack thereof). We even lost 2 to flat tires. Since many of us ride more MTB miles than pavement these days, we struggled a bit with some basic road strategies around how to share working and drafting. We figured it out eventually, but by mile 85 or so, all bets were off. One dedicated Alchemist MTB’er, Rob Sharp (who dislikes skinny tires so much he sold his road bike), pulled us pretty much the whole way home. Thankfully, his dad loaned him a bike (and even joined us for part of the ride). Rob had little trouble awakening his skinny tire skills.
All in all, this was a great day on a bike. Like the 18/24hr MTB races, there’s something really fun about working together as a team. Charlie Cooper (works with Jenn Dice @ People for Bikes) kept saying how cool it was to ride hard just for fun, with a collective goal, not for an event placing or race win. Tim Preston (head bean counter at Excel Sports and age 67!) rides a ton. While he’s a man of few words, he said multiple times how thrilled he was to be invited, and how cool he thought this was. Mike Swanson is a cool guy, super chill, super strong. Glad to have gotten to know him better. Ariel would have been a valuable asset, but he was victim #1 of the flat tire-riddled first lap. Ken and Rob, meh. I ride with those dorks all the time. I’m a huge fan and will ride with them whenever/wherever.”
Good stuff, Mike. I’m hoping to be able to join one of these adventures before the summer is over.