I haven't ridden with the Peloton for quite awhile, maybe a month now. My last showing was...pitiful, I was dropped on the first lap, was able to rejoin, but only for a short time.
I guess I have avoided riding there since, instead opting to ride the Angeles Crest where I could climb alone and not feel bad because the guys who do this ride with me have no chance of dropping me. Although this will change soon, Yasser today was w/i 15 minutes of me to Clear Creek...he's getting his old racing legs back.
Anyways, today I decided it was time to face my nemesis, the Peloton. I still wanted to climb so Yasser and I headed up to Clear Creek before we returned to the Rose Bowl. I felt strong on the way up, averaging a mile an hour faster than the last time I did this climb (still slower than Eric's pace to Mt Wilson ,10 miles farther, which he could do in his early season training).
On the descent I planned on taking the pull all the way down, keeping the pace mellow to allow myself energy for the Peloton. Yasser had different plans and quickly passed me picking the pace up. I had to follow suit so like usual when I ride with him, it was much tougher descending than going up.
We got to the Rose Bowl at the NW corner just as the pack was coming around that turn. I looked at Yasser, he looked at me...and we said lets go. We had a bit of chasing to do to get onto the pack but with a nice downhill entrance we were able to attach to the Peloton as it reached the backside. I spent a lot of energy catching them and was afraid that I would just get dropped immediately, but from somewhere I found the legs to stay on.
I used Yasser to position myself, although I am stronger than him, he has the pack skills which I lack. I made sure to stick on his wheel as he maneuvered his way into the middle, a safe spot to be.
I rode here for awhile than realized I had plenty of strength to move up. It seemed easy to do this which blew my mind. Eventually I found myself chasing down a lil breakaway off the front on the uphill side. I blew up and took it easy but it took awhile for the main field to get to me...and I was able to jump back in with no problem.
On the next uphill section I found myself at the front again! I wasn't at some ridiculous pace or anything but compared to in the past barely hanging on to the back, it was a big change!
Anyways, there was no great riding shown by me in the eyes of others. There was however a great feeling of accomplishment for myself. A month ago I couldn't even think of being at the front of the Peloton. Tonight I was there. My training has paid off. I'm only going to get faster, maybe in a month I'll be able to initiate a break and keep it away for awhile....who knows.
In conclusion, tonight was a very gratifying ride. I actually saw a lot of improvement in myself...and I'm more motivated to get faster.
Also, which I learned tonight, Chet Bearclaw has given us permission to win races, not to just take second or worse. If only he had allowed that this last weekend!