MS training ride…or “shoes…I don’t need no stinkin shoes” ride.

Me, John, Nathan, Jill, Doug, Tony, Brian and a group that shows up every week.

The day was beautiful, the temperature was perfect, everyone was there and excited to ride. We were chatting and getting ready when …….wait….shoes….WHERE ARE MY STINKIN SHOES…….NOOOOOOOOOO! This can’t be happening! The guy who always comes prepared to ride forgot his SHOES. THAT CLIP INTO MY SPEEDPLAY PEDALS. Okay. No panic I’ll figure something out. “Hey buddy”. “Who me”? “Yea you. Got any flat pedals in your car”? ….And so it goes as everyone in the parking lot mutters “schmuck” under his or her breath. John graciously offers to go home (he drove) and ride near Tolland. Nope can’t do that because we are here and so darned excited to ride. Oh well this won’t be bad in sneakers on Speedplays. A 30 mile ride will build character and be a story to tell to my grandchildren.

Dave in Sneakers

Dave and his famous sneakers, before he realizes that he forgot his cycling shoes

Well not that big a deal but you get my point. So I decide to take a spin around the parking lot and feel it out. I don’t get three pedal revolutions from the car when my sneaker lace gets caught in my chain ring and I almost go down. I stop, look around, no one looking…. phew. Ok I climb off and tuck my laces in so that nothing can catch. I try it again. Off we go and although it feels weird and very insecure not being clipped in, it’s not bad. Nathan has a good time ribbing me which is fine because it has to be karma that’s coming back to me in a not nice way. The ride is flat which is a good thing because the first slight hill I came to caused me to lift my left leg sharply to get moving and I wobbled a bit when my foot came off the pedal. The pace was very moderate for ¾ of the ride which gave us time to chat with the other riders. They are a good bunch of folks who love to ride and for some it is still early season conditioning. Doug did an awesome job keeping a steady pace and doing his fair share of pulling at the front. He said that this ride was his first big group ride and I think he enjoyed it. Nathan is riding stronger with every mile that he rides and with every inch that he grows. He had enough energy to sprint at the finish and gave John a run for his money up the last hill. A woman in the group thought that Nathan was 23! He won’t even need a fake ID in a couple of years. (Sorry John) We all stopped at “the barn” which we found out is a traditional bathroom and feed stop. I just wanted to get peddling again because everyone was staring at my sneakers. The ride leader Billy came up in back of me at one point and said” oh I’m in back of the sneaker guy again”. Yea….karma! I felt much more comfortable by now and was standing on hills to keep up with a lead group that picked up the pace. The group split up a bit and we didn’t realize that John was helping Brian fix a flat. They caught up at the end. While we were waiting the colorful and bright Nerac Earth kits were discussed with the consensus being that they sure are easy to see from far away on the road. Jill told everyone how they light up at night and in the woods. Go NE. Conclusion: I do need stinkin shoes! The only pain that I suffered was to my feet from cramping around the little lollypop shaped pedals, my thighs which did all the work, and my pride for riding in sneakers. Overall fun day and great ride. –Dave F.

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