The thermometer read an even 90 when Mrs. Bgddy and I pulled into the school parking lot. The wind was probably out of the northwest but at less than 3 mph it was hard to tell. We really don’t consider it a breeze if it’s below 7.892 mph.
One negative is usually good for us slower guys: Wind. If it’s windy, it’s going to be a relatively tame ride. Sure taking our flogs up front sucks at 23 mph into a 20 mph headwind, but once we drop back in the draft, it’s all good. Recovery is quick and relatively painless. However, no matter how hot it is, if there’s no wind, it’s going to be a fast night.
I started up front as usual, second bike. The second mile was mine and I took the tempo from an easy 19 to 23, and that’s the last time we saw 23. Hey, if you can’t beat ’em…
Mrs. Bgddy was riding with us tonight so I was worried for her as soon as we passed 25. I was feeling fantastic and took quite a few turns up front. Fortunately every time I dropped back from the front I could hear my wife talking a few bikes back (I rarely drop all the way to the back of the pack anymore – too many chances to get dropped back there).
We took every advantage of the lack of wind, hammering down the road at upwards of 28 mph. I managed a look back at 12 miles and heard her talking at 13… From there it got crazy though. We hit the hills at an easy 24 mph and though the speed fluctuated, we hit speeds above that on the way up the last one in the series. After we crested that last hill, we were too fast to risk a glance at the computer. We had to be faster than 28.
Then came the second set of hills and we slowed down considerably, just slowed… I’ve heard of this happening in races, where nobody wants to do the work so the pace momentarily lags, but I’d never seen it up close. So there we were, and I had a fantastic time resting up for the next surge. It was great. I was ready when the pace picked up but I was on my bcb’s wheel and he slipped off as they pulled away. I pulled up alongside and asked if we were done, and he nodded to the affirmative. I was okay with that as I’d noticed my wife had dropped and we’d completed 15-1/2 miles in under 40 minutes. Seriously, do the math… On open roads, a 20 mph average is 46-1/2 minutes (open roads means we respect traffic and traffic signs so we stop when traffic is present.
Mike and I decided to turn around and backtrack to pick up my wife and bring her in. A half mile later we passed Big Joe who said she’d turned back for a shortcut back a couple of miles earlier. That meant we were free to go.
We turned around and set to finishing our ride. I formed up behind Mike and Joe behind me. Mike set the pace at 19.5 but I noticed Phill off the back about 3/4’s of a mile up ahead so I said, “There’s Phill, go get him” but Mike was spent. I took the lead, Joe followed me and I upped the pace by 2 mph and we started reeling him in. We picked up Dave along the way but on the way up the third hill, and this one can actually called a real climb, I dropped everyone but Dave. I slowed down when I saw a full group waiting at the shortcut turn waiting for us. We formed up with a decent group of about 8 or 10 guys and set out to finish the last ten miles.
The heat had a pretty profound affect on a lot of the guys so we dropped a few along the way with our 22-23 mph pace and we ended up finishing strong, managing an overall average of 22 mph. This was far better than I’d expected with all of the turning around and stopping we did throughout the ride but when I think back on it, we really did hammer pretty good – even considering the heat. We were only off our best finishing time ever by less about 30 seconds.
Mrs. Bgddy met up with us on the last few miles and rode back with us for two of them before the pace ratcheted up to 26 again – she’s turning into quite the cyclist having stayed with us for more than 13 miles of the ride today – at speeds up to 28 mph. I was quite stoked for her. In fact, after riding solo for eight miles, then spinning easy back to us before catching on and picking up her speed again, she still managed almost a 20 mph average for her 29 miles (which is absolutely stellar and as good as I could do in my first year).
It was a great, if tough night and I can tell you, dinner tasted extra good last night.
As a side note, special kudos to four of our club members Dave and Greg and two others who finished the Black Bear Bicycle Tour 100 miler in 3h:59m, and to my friend Winston who finished in 4h:06m and his son who finished in 4 hours flat. Also, McMike finally wore his official jersey to the ride last night: