The A Ride

Photo by Masanori Nishihama

Photo by Masanori Nishihama

I just got my arse handed to me. It happens every Tuesday morning; I show up, hang with the guys as long as I can, get dropped, recover, catch up to someone who is hopefully a little faster than me so I can push myself and then finally meet up with the group at the end. I call it the A ride.

Up until recently I didn’t know anyone’s name. I knew the group by how they rode and how fast they were. I showed up at 7:30, waited around a bit, and then we were off. Not much talking and a lot of fast riding, at least for me. I’m always the only chick to ride, and most of the group do local races. The ride starts off easy enough for everyone to spin and warm up, but once we get to the first little rise it’s game on. The first few times I did the ride I blinked and the group was gone. These last few I’ve been able to hang on and not feel like I was going to keel over. Progress.

It’s always game over once we get to the windy sections of road. The fast guys stand and sprint them and I’m just happy to stay on someone, anyone’s wheel. Sometimes I’m able to pull awhile, but most times my heart rate is sky high as I’m clinging on for dear life. Past a windy section, a flat run through a village and another section of windy road we reach the final sprint, then around the roundabout and stop with the group to recover.

When I first started, I was dead last. Ride enough A rides, though, and you start moving up in the pack, so lately I’m not the slowest. The ride back is more of the same, easy to start and progressively getting harder. I pick a wheel and follow them until I can’t anymore and drop back to the next wheel. When the pain is over, all the guys go get breakfast and coffee. Generally I pass on this in order to get home and write these posts, but today I ended up joining them for a bit, and then getting my arse kicked some more on the final stretch home.

It’s time to hang up the fast wheels, though. I’m heading back to the states on Thursday, first to Tokyo and then home to Boston. I’ll be in snow-land for awhile, enough time to recover from the season and work on some base miles as well as get properly tired of the cold and want to head back. The cyclocross races are done for the year, and the Fat Bike racing doesn’t start till after I leave, so I have zero opportunities to be competitive, therefore the prescription is long, slow rides on my winter bike.

Riddle me these two questions:

  • Do you have a local ride that really pushes you every week?
  • How are you winding down from this past year and gearing up for the next?
Enjoy Your Ride
Pin It

Featured on these top sites

Check Out These Sites

Cycling 360 Podcast


Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.


Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

Sports Drink Homebrew

Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to

Nutrition Tips