charity · cycling · fitness · Guest Post

Friends For Life Bike Rally Day 2: in which Samantha pulls me to Adolphustown

This is the longest day of our Toronto to Montreal journey. It’s 130kms of lovely lakeside biking but still, that’s a lot of biking. 

Truth: I have been road biking for less than a year and before that, I was only the most casual cyclist. So, I have been pretty darn impressed with myself that I’m hovering in the 23.5 km/h average range. 

Sam has been gracious enough to ride with me this year and I have spent that time chatting, panting, swearing under my breath and occasionally thinking of good questions to ask about cycling. 

All these things combined together on day 2. First of all, speed is about time on the bike. I can do squats and deadlifts and run and TRX but nothing is gonna get me faster on the bike than trying to go faster. So, I will keep trying. Faster is most definitely more fun. 

Next, don’t brake. I don’t mean never, but try not to. She suggested all sorts of ways to slow down that don’t involve braking (no, dragging your feet on the ground isn’t one of them. It wears out your shoes, just like mom said, amongst other problems). What clicked for me was conservation of energy. If I don’t brake, I pedal less or less hard. If I pedal less hard, I use less energy and I have more for hill climbs and sprints and such. 

Next, I have a weak right butt cheek. TMI? Maybe, but it led to the next important lesson. I started to get spasms in my right butt cheek around 35 km. It’s easy to fix. I have to stop and stand up. Nothing else works. No other position, or standing up while riding or anything. I have to get off. That isn’t a problem if I can wait for official breaks but when the interval shortened to 25 km, then 15 km, then 8, well, that’s a pain in the butt, if you get my drift. It was a long day and going slower wasn’t the solution. The solution was to go as fast as possible and get it the heck over with. Which leads me too…

“Susan Finally Learns to Draft”. Oh yes, I learned and I learned good. My whole world was Sam’s wheel and her butt. I stuck to her like glue and we went FAST! It was glorious, especially when my rear wasn’t at a critical point. I got over my anxiety of being close, didn’t brake hardly at all and she dragged my sorry self all the way. 

At 100 km I thought about stopping and taking a support vehicle. And then I wanted to cry. I have worked so hard to get ready for this ride and, barring something truly horrible, I want to finish. I NEED to finish. All my pride and competitiveness and blah blah says “ignore your rear and get in gear”. So I did and in just over 5 hours of riding time, we made it. 

I could NOT have done that without your quiet and persistent and patient support, Sam, so thank you. 

By the way, if anyone is impressed, show us how impressed you really are and sponsor us here. That’s me. Sam is here



5 thoughts on “Friends For Life Bike Rally Day 2: in which Samantha pulls me to Adolphustown

  1. Great and inspiring post, Susan, and congratulations on the achievement. Drafting or no, riding that far is a huge accomplishment, so go you! We all know how it feels to just want to get off the bike and take the bus the rest of the way. Pushing through that and riding anyway (with a little help from friends) feels great. Enjoy it, and good luck with the rest of the ride (dunno how many days you are doing).

    1. I’m so glad you posted from the road! Thanks, Susan. Sam is a great teacher, and also great at getting people to cycle through difficult patches where they don’t want to do it anymore (I speak from experience). You’re through a tough day. Congrats!

    2. We’re halfway there! 300 km down, 300 ahead. But all downhill from here, sort of, with a tailwind! But scorching hot. Hydrate! Hydrate!

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