Ok, longest ride so far.  I met up with some friends on Saturday evening and did a 30 mile ride through Simsbury and Bloomfield to prepare for the suffer fest that will be the Tour of Litchfield Hills this weekend.  I am planning on doing the 50 mile ride and I just needed a little something to get my confidence up so that I can rock the hills next week.

The ride went really well.  It was my longest ride ever and only the second since I put my new pedals in.  The friends I rode with have been riding for some time and I always learn a lesson or two while riding with them.  This is our second ride together, and they commented on how much improved I was over the last time.  I rode a straighter steadier line, and was more confident pointing at road hazards.  Last time they told me not to bother because I was nearly turning into a road hazard myself.  In fact, at one point during out last ride I was “pulling” and tried to avoid a small hole and instead of moving over the inch or two I needed I jerked into the middle of the road.  Not good.

There would be none of that this time.  In fact, when I pulled this time I really tried to hammer it.  I ended up hitting about 23MPH in a section of slight rollers and really getting myself out of breath.  That was at mile 11 of 30, and by the end of that section I was wondering if I could even finish the ride.  I ended up getting a stitch that hurt every time I took a deep breath.  I the intensity of the stitch came and went, but stuck with me the entire ride.  Don’t worry it only hurt when I took a breath.

The ride was picturesque but otherwise uneventful (though I did nearly take a dumper at an intersection by not unclipping under the, it turns out false, impression that the light would turn.  I manage to just squeak out of the pedals and catch myself before the faceplant.

We did the ride in about 1:51 averaging 16 MPH or so.  Not too fast, but not too bad either considering a couple of decent hills.  The thing that bothered me the most was a pain just under my left shoulder blade.  That pain has persisted even to today, though less intensity each day.

We wrapped up the night with burgers, beer and a great conversation out on my friends’ patio.

I don’t know how the Tour is going to go this weekend, but I am as ready as I’m going to be.