Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Trucker's Experience: My first outdoor ride of the year

This morning was supposed to be my first long ride outdoors for this year.  I was going to meet the local bike shop crew for 60 miles.  Unfortunately, when I woke up at 6am, it was still raining.  I knew I wasn't willing to ride in the rain and shortly after that, the ride was cancelled.  But if I've learned one thing from Ironman training, it's this:

Always have a back up plan.

Plan B was a group ride that afternoon.  The rain stopped just before 8am and I had been invited to join a group for a 35 mile ride a bit north of me.  I made some pretty good use of my time as well.  I packed some stuff that I had been neglecting for awhile, reorganized my bookcase, quick cleaned my bike (I found out they haven't turned on the outside water let alone not putting out the building hoses, so I was limited in my cleaning abilities), and sent a bunch of emails.  Then at 11am, I hopped on the bike and rode 22 miles up to meet the group. 

Why not?!

If they're only doing 35, the meet up is 22 miles away, and I was planning on 60 for the day, what's a possible 70-80  miles?!

I met up with the group and low and behold we had to wait for one other cyclist who was just getting back from a 50 mile ride up to Mass with his group.  So at least I'm not the only crazy!

We ended up riding only 25 miles, but it was fun.  And I had two very interesting experiences.

Experience #1: Semi Truck Driving School

We've all seen the driver's ed cars with the "student driver" label plastered all over it warning you this car may make sporadic changes in direction and speed with no notice. 

Haha.  Have you ever seen that label on a semi truck trailer?! 

SCARY!!  Let me tell you, I slowed down and just let them do their thing.  If I can barely trust a student driver behind the wheel of a mid-sized car, I can't imagine what horror stories a semi truck driving school has to offer.

Experience #2: The Amazed Truck Driver

No, not a semi-truck.  Just a regular crew cab pick up.  I was 2.5 miles from home and I pulled up behind a car at a stop light.  A guy in a truck pulls up beside me in the other lane and rolls his window down.  He turns to me and says "Dude, you're crazy!!"

Automatically, I'm thinking this guy thinks it's too cold to ride (it was low 50's), but before I can respond he continues "I gave up riding a bike when I was a kid."

Oh, so you think I'm crazy for just being on a bike, not the fact that I'm riding in this weather in nearly complete hot pink attire through the shady back streets of Hartford.  Interesting perspective.

I went right ahead and struck up a short conversation with the guy.  I told him I was just short of 70 miles for the day which just about floored his jaw line and that the longest i had done was 120 miles.  Then he asked "Do you do those bike marathons?"  Haha.  Oh, the view of an outsider.  I wasn't about to go into details, so I just told him that I did.  He had a good laugh at that.  The light turned green and he wished me a safe trip home.

I had seen plenty of other riders out on the road during my ride and every one of them I'm sure would have the same sentiment if not more specific and borne of a personal experience, but it was the well wishings of the person who was obviously from outside of the cycling and athletic community that made my day.  I'm glad to know that not only cyclists and athletes are watching out for the safety of others on the road.


1.  Are you getting out to enjoy the weekend weather?  What are you doing?

2.  Have you ever seen a semi truck student driver?

3.  Have you had any interesting conversations with pedestrians or vehicular motorists lately?

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 



I am just the opposite. I can not remember the last time I rode inside on a trainer. I don't even have one.

Driver school for trucks? Yep... but remember, I am old. I have seen everything :)

Conversations with vehicles? Only the cop in Florida that pulled me over on a country road for rolling through a stop sign one 7am morning.

ajh said...

Did a run for Boston - terrible weather but good run. Today cool but great bike ride.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

HA!! Most of the things that people say from their cars while I ride, I wouldd never repeat to my mother.

Coy Martinez said...

I've been able to ride outside for three weeks now and I'm over the moon with it! Yes, it's still chilly but it's sunny!

For training I ride the IM Louisville course a lot and it's pure redneck city. They HATE cyclists. I've gotten sworn at a million times. AND, to top it off, they love to throw tacks on the course the night before race day!