Only the complete cycling nutters showed up for last night’s club ride, I was fifth in the parking lot. The skies were ugly again and it’s getting a little old. The radar, on the other hand (for once), wasn’t all that bad but I was riding either way. I took it easy in Sunday after our fast century on Saturday – more than 1-1/2 mph faster than last year, and with a lot less help and Monday was wet so I skipped my ride.
Even with the weather we still had a pretty decent crowd, minus a few of the big dogs. That was the good news. The bad news was that it was windy. We started out promptly at 6, as usual, taking it easy for the first mile and a half. With the wind out of the south, it was on after that. Our third mile was over 27 mph. The fourth was at 26-1/2 and the fifth at just a shade under 24 (stop sign). From there it was a sharp left into a cross-headwind and a couple of slow miles followed by another handful in the low twenties in a cross-wind.
Something odd happened about ten miles in that I’m still having a tough time understanding… After a really short pull up front (the other person pulled off…) I started falling back to get in line and it was a mess back there, no form so I just slipped off the back. No fight, no care in the world. I took a nice little rest at 17 mph or so and then picked back up and caught up to another guy who’d dropped. We worked together for about eight or so miles when we turned a sharp corner and there was the group! It turned out they had been held up by a train.
I was reinvigorated by then, even having worked pretty hard over the previous miles, so I stood up and sprinted the 300 yards to the back of the group. As I latched on, a small group splintered off the back leaving a sizable gap – I didn’t even know what was going on, I heard my buddy Phil say, “c’mon guys” then grudgingly hit the gas to try bridging the gap. I went with, as did Matt and Carla. We took turns and I finally caught the group on a long downhill but I lost Matt and Phil in the process. Unfortunately, after that long downhill comes a lung burner of an uphill and I was off the back again – this time I just didn’t have enough left after burning myself up to catch the group. Carla was off the back a few seconds after me and then Mike.
The three of us took a shortcut and turns pulling for the remainder and rolled in to the parking lot with a 20.3 mph average and especially after Saturday’s century. It was really nice to have a second chance at redemption after folding so easily early on. In the end it never did rain on us, though we rode through some rain-soaked roads that got hit before we made it through and I was exceedingly pleased to get a ride in between rain storms… Speaking of which, it looks like storms all day today so I’ll be hoping that nice stretch they’ve been promising for the last three weeks finally gets here.