Fletcher Flyer

On a whim I decided to sign up for the 50 mile ride for the Fletcher Flyer. It is a local mass bike ride with 4 route distances… 30, 50, 62 and 100. The course is described as “relatively flat”. Somehow in my optimism I translated this to mean FLAT. When you live in the foothills of the mountains there is not a lot of flat at all so anytime that word makes an appearance I get happy. It seems like a lot of the cyclists I have met over the past few months love to “climb”…. ride hard up a mountain. Not me… I love gently rolling hills.

I did see that in the area there were no “climbs” so I felt pretty good. Per MapMyRide, to be considered a climb the grade must be “For any climb to be rated (receive a climb score/category) it must be at least 500 meters in length with an average grade of 3% or more.”

I would bet there several hills on this ride that fell just a bit shy of that definition! Nothing I couldn’t handle – in fact I did my very best to attack every hill.

The first 25 miles were the most difficult. There were a lot of turns, lots of little hills and a ton of people. There was not a lot of room to move. Plus, there seemed to be an inordinate amount of new riders (haha… listen to me!). Seriously though, I do not how to hold a line and ride my bike straight. I know that if I brake going downhill (which I really didn’t do too much today for once) that I should move to the side. I know that, just like walking, if riding side by side with one or more people I should be aware of the space I am talking up and allow people to easily get around. Now, since I am new too, these are issues for me. I am sure more advanced riders just go around. For me it is just stress.

I just have to share the experience I had with two women cyclists. They were in front of me for a while talking and not maintaing a good line or a consistent speed. I could never get around them because of other cyclists and traffic. THey were annoying. At mile 6 they were already complaining. They were pushing a big gear, too… which means they where pedaling slow and hard all the time. No cadence AT ALL. (Again, who the heck do I think I am :))…

I FINALLY get around them, then a few minutes later they are back in front of me. Seriously, just like those annoying drivers. They got in front of me and slowed down again to talk. I wanted to scream.

I go to pass them and say to the first girl, who was falling behind the other “passing on your left”. She moves over. Next the other girl – she is riding the yellow line so to pass her I will have to go in the other lane. “Passing on your left”, I say, hoping she will move over. She doesn’t move. She laughs and the other girls says to her, “you are so bad”. She giggles.

But, I get around them again and have a clearing so I go as fast as I can to get some distance. Which, isn’t far since I hit another pod of people and we are getting ready to go uphill and make a right hand uphill turn. This is hard enough as it is, but in a crowd it is even hard. I am focused and maintaing a good cadence of about 90 RPM’s. I am preparing for the hill and the turn.

I hear a voice to my left just a bit behind me, “you are pedaling to fast”. I see it is one of those girls (the one that giggled), but I assumed they were talking to each other. She gets right next to me and looks at me, “You need to get in a bigger gear – you are pedaling too fast and you are not even going uphill yet”. I was so shocked that she said that. I really didn’t even know what to say. I wanted to make a smart comment but we were not even 10 miles into the ride and I really didn’t want to deal with this all day. I looked at her for several seconds, and not in a friendly voice said “thanks” and sped up.

The hill was upon us. I was not going to let her pass me. I really had nothing to worry about it. About half way up she was done.

I spent the next several miles riding as fast as I could to get some distance. I did not want to spend the next 40 miles dealing with them and it work. I never saw them again.

The rest of the trip was nice. After the 25 mile mark the crowd really started to spread out and I spent a good amount of time riding by myself. I was sunny and beautiful outside and I enjoying tackling the hills and going fast downhill. I made four scheduled rest area stops. Three of them were very brief – just enough time to fill up my water bottles and shove some food in my mouth. At the rest stop at mile 30 I took a few more minutes so I go to the bathroom and stretch. It was the break I needed to finish strong.

All in all I had a great day. I really love riding with the large groups (after they spread out!). I love the support at the intersections and having a marked course. There was a good bit of traffic, but I have to say the cars did a good job getting around everyone.

I have been saying that one of the reasons I like cycling so much is because it is so much easier on my body. I still believe that, but I have to say that 50 miles is not without some pain. Surprisingly, the most pain is still my feet! I thought that I would not have foot pain on my bike, but I do. Before I do any significant distance again I am going to have to figure out what to do about that.

Total riding time: 3:53
Rest time: 19 minutes

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3 Comments

  1. Susette Schellin

    LOL! Love the story about the girls and you pedaling too fast!

    Fantastic time! You did terrific!

  2. Linda Phelps

    Those girls were something else! Glad you just continued on – too bad people are like that. Great job on your riding!

  3. Caroline

    I really dislike those kind of people on the interstate! I can just see you pedaling your heart out to get away from them!! Too funny! Glad you had a good time!

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