I decided to brave my lack of training and suck it up for the TNWC ride again last night. Considering it's the best show going and Tuesday night looked to be one of the few dry nights to ride this week, it was pretty much a no brainer. I also wanted to check out the levels at Saylorville as we crossed the mile long bridge.
A stiff south breeze let me know we were in for a fast ride out and some suffering on the way back. The ride definitely didn't disappoint on either cue. I made it the furthest yet with the pack before getting chewed up and spit out like a piece of overcooked steak. I made the north side of Ankeny and fell off once the pack accelerated over 35 MPH. Somehow I ended up out in front of the pack as we headed up the sprint hill and nobody sprinted. I came to the top of the hill and was still at the front of the group. I think the pack got slowed down for traffic turning off of Morningstar drive so they all slowed down while I kept on trucking. Whatever, it kept me hanging on to the pack through Ankeny for the first time so I was stoked. Talking to Lou after the ride it sounded like speeds reached the mid 40's at one point. That's just smokin fast considering this was all on the flats. I hooked up with a couple various riders that were also out the back and finally ended up by myself as the route turned back south into the wind.
Time to dig down and suffer. I stuck it in the middle ring and worked on keeping my heart rate at roughyl time trial effort (180ish BPM). I recovered slightly on a few downhills and pushed harder in other areas, but overall worked myself into a pretty good lather. The ride across the mile long bridge was pretty cool. It's wild seeing the water levels at this point considering there is usually around 100' of space between the bridge deck and the water.
I even managed a smile. Of course, it should be known that if you're able to take pictures on the TNWC ride, you're probably not hanging with the group... A hard push back to the truck had me peg out my heart rate at 190 again in the last block, but hey, that's what this ride is all about, right?