Last night’s club ride was nothing short of spectacular – or stupid, I haven’t quite made my mind up yet. But I digress…
I rode the warmup with Mike as usual, every group should have an ex-pro like that guy, he’s just a really nice guy (I say pro, he is a once nationally ranked triathlete, at 65 years old he still pulls a 23 mph average on his TT bike). We talked about wind direction, heat and his latest race. The five miles ticked off in a hurry.
We started promptly at 6 pm and kept a fairly easy pace for the first mile and a half waiting for the group to congeal. Mike and I were second in line to pull and we upped the pace quite a bit.
I was feeling awesome and even dropped back to try to help a new guy keep up. Unfortunately he wasn’t ready to hang with us. It was his first time in a pace line and he was all over the road. When I got back to him I could tell by his breathing alone that he was suffering so I told him to get on my wheel so I could help him back. Unfortunately all we could do was keep pace with the group, we couldn’t make any distance up and we were only about 50 yards back.
Just as I was about to sit up and take it easy to show him the route, two riders dropped off the back so I took the opportunity. I dropped two gears and sprinted to the back of the group – don’t ask me where this came from, just a few weeks ago I was clinging to the back of the group just trying to hold on… Possibly it was just that this occurred early enough in the ride, but I don’t think it’s that simple… I was up to 25 mph and closed the distance quickly. i was amazed that I didn’t have to kill myself to get back to the group – I had a lot left. .
We made a left and that’s when it became clear we were going to get soaked, it was just a matter of time. The sky was ominous. At 12-1/2 miles four of us decided to take a shortcut and limit the damage. It was raining within minutes.
At 15 miles we had an nice pace going for only four guys, taking conditions into account, 22 mph… And that’s when the skies opened up and the first guy was hit with a flat. We all stopped, Chuck helped while Mike and I watched. I turned on my flashing tail light to warn traffic, in the rain I liked the idea of visibility. It took forever to get rolling again and the poor guy didn’t have enough air to keep up so Mike, Chuck and I made a dash to get to the vehicles so we could pick him up… And just about the time we really got moving again, Chuck flatted with just three miles to go. Chuck told us to roll on so Mike and I pushed to the vehicles, soaked to the bone. Mike packed up his bike and I, mine and we took off to help our brothers out (but not before I snapped a couple of pictures). I ended up stopping for Chuck who was already working on pumping his tube up with a little baby hand pump. I gave him my floor pump to make the task a bit easier. By the time I reached Chris he was already loading his bike into somebody else’s car so I drove ahead to make sure everyone else was okay.
After checking on the others I headed back to our start and said my farewells, went and ate dinner, then headed for home where I completely cleaned my bike and re-lubed everything (I do this after every rain ride).