I've begun thinking about training again, so I decided to participate in a 100 mile "easy" ride.
I rode the Echelon Gran Fondo 100 mile charity ride for cancer in Hood River. I thought it would be a great chance to see some new sights, have some nostalgia from the Hood Cycling Classic (if you'll recall this awesome finish shot on cycling news, and also get a long ride in.
Turns out a celebrity was there: Chris Horner. Oh and there was also a 20 mile hill climb "race." So much excitement.
So after dodging a rattlesnake, witnessing a few crashes from people taking corners too fast--mind you, on the charity ride, I finally got a good cadence going and made my way to the front of our group. (We were separated from the main group because we stopped at a rest station to get some snacks. Many people were in race mode and treated it like a feed zone. It was pretty fun to watch.)
At the front of the group, I see some men chatting up Chris Horner. I assumed that was him as he was the only one in a "full" Radio Shack kit with matching bike and leg warmers. There were lots of people in Astana shorts, Radio Shack jerseys or with team bikes, but this guy was definitely the real deal. Hey, I had never seen him in the flesh.
Anyway, these guys were crowding round him and there was no way I was going to get to talk to him without causing a crash, so I yelled, "Hey Chris, what do you think about starting a women's Radio Shack team? What if you cut the two slowest guys and then you'd have a ton of money to fund a whole women's program!!!" That got the conversation going and he explained that his girlfriend was on Saturn so he feels my pain for women's cycling. We continued chatting about how men had more power than women and I scoffed saying, "With those skinny legs? Are you sure?" He said, "I know, but it's true."
We continued talking about racing and training and women's teams and I came to a couple of conclusions:
1. I have to get fast enough to beat pro men :) I don't know how to do that but I've decided the first battle will be taking on the local men.
2. Women have to continue to be nice to each other. There's a rumor that women tear down other women in pro cycling. We have to make sure that doesn't happen. There can be two "she-wolves" in a pack, can't there? I'll have to read up on my Jack London books to see.
3. Chris Horner is a pretty cool guy--despite his skinny legs :) (I'm just jealous.)
4. The Echelon Gran Fondo is a pretty great ride.
Here's some photos for your enjoyment of me having business talks during the ride. You'll notice that my butt isn't that much bigger than his...right?