I spent last weekend in Southern Illinois riding with Wild Card Cycling at their spring training camp. The plan was for me to arrive in Champaign on the Wednesday before, ride locally on Thursday, meet the group on Friday morning, drive down to Anna IL and start training. The camp was scheduled to finish on Sunday after a short ride, then I was to start to drive back to Boston.
The drive from Boston to Champaign was uneventful and the weather was nice. When I woke up on Thursday, it was very cold, windy and rainy. I wound up not riding.
After the 3 hour drive down to Anna IL half the group got together to ride to Bald Knob. The climb was a good test for me. The last time I did this ride was back in 2007 and I had a triple crank: this time I had only a double. I put the 11×26 cassette on the workout road wheels. I think I really needed a 12×27 for the climb but I seemed stronger this time around.
On Saturday, we had planned on doing a hilly century, but I wanted to ride with several friends. We decided to ride the Tunnel Hill Trail, an old rails to trails project. We picked up the trail off of route 146 and rode it all the way to Vienna IL. Then we headed back via hilly farm roads. It was a good ride, I was able to judge my fitness and I was pleased with the results. I am much stronger climber than in 2007; my winter preparations have been successful.
On Sunday the rains came again, so I wound up not riding and left for Boston early. It probably was for the best as I did not sleep well that night. It rained the entire drive back. I broke up the drive into two days, stopping in Erie PA on Sunday night.
Overall, I enjoyed the trip and it was a good barometer of where my fitness is and what I need to work on. The next step in my training is participating in the NEBC Introduction to Bicycle Racing Program.