i have heard whisperings about a ride around here called the pancake ride. i heard something about it last year when i just started riding, then never heard it again. then, about a month ago, the words 'pancake ride' were uttered by a teamate who invited me to come along on this mystery ride a few weeks' ago - i couldn't go then, but ever since, i have been dying to see what this pancake ride was all about. at lunch yesterday when a friend mentioned that there was a regular saturday ride out to eminence, kentucky leaving a local park at 7 am on saturday mornings, my ears perked up. the only thing i knew about the pancake ride, other than the fact that there are pancakes, was that it went out to eminence. i almost jumped out of my seat - "is it the pancake ride?". yes indeedy it was. i was in. hook, line & pancake. i dragged my husband and a friend with me.
when the alarm went off at 5:30 this morning, my husband wasn't liking the pancake ride idea so much - he suggested 3 other rides that were leaving later in the day. but i was hell bent on riding 60 miles for pancakes and would not be deterred. we really had no idea what to expect - all we knew was it was 30 miles to pancakes and 30 miles back and we'd be rolling at an average of 20mph. it was exactly 30 miles out, 30 miles back & we maintained exactly an average of 20 mph. this ride has been going on a long time - they have it down to a science.
we started rolling promptly at 7, and while things were a little jacked up and wiggy to start, it didn't take long for the group to get a groove and start a nice rotating paceline that we kept for almost the entire 30 miles out. the morning was a little chilly, there was a blanket of mist, we rode on big wide gorgeous country roads, past farms, horses and those fences that go on for miles and saw the sun rise over it all. it was picture postcard perfect.
the chat-n-nibble restaurant in eminence kentucky is a tiny little dive-y spot in a tiny little town by some railroad tracks. i loved it all - i loved the name of the restaurant, the bikes leaning up against it, tables all pushed together, everyone all squished in, introducing ourselves if we hadn't already gotten a chance to chat while riding. there was a lot of chatter at the chat-n-nibble. no menus - you just order two pancakes and coffee. this is the pancake ride. that's what you order. and you better woof it down, cause the pancake riders keep a tight schedule.
the mist long gone, the sun shining, and bellies full of mid-ride sustenance, our ride back was even faster. i almost died when in the paceline i took a split second to look at my speed thingy and saw numbers like 25, 26, 27 and then 30. holy crap, this is fast. this was the longest ride i have ever been on. the longest and the fastest. steven (my husband, a.k.a. coach) was curious to see how my marathon legs would feel around 45 miles in to the ride. about 41 miles in, i had gotten spit off the back and was feeling the hurt as i rode solo trying just to keep someone in sight so i didn't get lost. i was overjoyed to be collected around mile 45 or so by the group behind me and getting back in a paceline instantly helped get my mojo back. i finished strong - and as the only girl in a ride with 12 guys, in pacelines that reached 30 mph on occasion; i think i held my own pretty well and am over the moon with how it all went.
this was one of the most fun rides i have ever been on. and i think i say that now after every ride. we didn't know what to expect, other than 60 miles with pancakes in between - but i just had that warm fuzzy feeling that it was going to be just about as perfect as it was. we met some great people, had a nice long ride, and enjoyed two pancakes and a cup of coffee at the chat-n-nibble in between the miles.
sixty miles later, i felt amazing. i've said it before, i'll just keep saying it - i cannot get enough of the very literal change of pace this cycling offers; and today's ride was just the ultimate perfect ride. i'm on a cloud. a cloud made of pancakes.