Rarely has there been such a perfect day for a club ride. Well, it was a little chilly, upper 40’s (8-ish C). Hardly a cloud in the sky. The cool part was the wind, or lack thereof. Two whole miles an hour from the wes… dude, who cares what direction the wind was out of? It was two freakin’ miles an hour!
With the winter swimming season over and the spring season starting in two weeks, Mrs. Bgddy secured a babysitter for the girls and was able to head out to the club ride. On the way out we discussed some strategy and I clued her in on what to expect with the lack of wind… The draft in a relatively windless day, if you’ve never experienced it, is truly something to behold. Headwinds and tailwinds in a large group are fairly straight forward and simple to work with. Where you get into trouble is with crosswinds. Well, with a two mile an hour wind, there’s nothing to worry about. The group punches a hole in the wind the size of a car and you’re only putting in maybe half the effort as those in the front… As we got started, after our 7.77 mile warmup (seriously), I changed my goal for the ride. I decided to show my wife (rather than explain) how to hide to see how far we could make it together.
Mike and I started out at the front but rather than take the first full mile, we pulled off the front after about three-quarters and headed to the back. I got back into my line right in front of my wife who was the last rider, about 12-14 bikes back. From there I just opened up a hole every time a cyclist came off the front. With the group as big as it was, I knew we had enough people for a full recharge, otherwise I’d have just done my share and that would have been the end of it.
The pace was quick but not hectic, maybe 23-24 mph… Now that may seem pretty fast but with no wind to battle and 14-ish cyclists to hide behind, it’s more like riding at about 19 or 20. In other words, it’s quite easy going. My wife was still hanging tough at fourteen miles when we started getting into the hills. She made it up the first three pretty well, considering that we climbed them at around 20 mph. Then a long, shallow descent at 26 before a sharp left and we hit the challenging stuff.
That’s about the time my wife started struggling from what I gathered. I knew we only had a few miles left before the B group turned of to do our thing without the constant hill attacks so I let my wife fend for herself… I also started heading toward the front to take my medicine. The group always thins out at that point in the ride so I figured it was about time I did my fair share because there aren’t as many people to hide behind. For the first time in the four years I’ve been riding with that group I felt like I had enough left in the tank to stay with the big group for the whole ride…
I didn’t. We have a fair hill to climb right before our normal turnoff and I let myself drop about halfway up it when I was certain I could hang in. There was no way I was going to give up riding back with my wife when I’ll have plenty of opportunities all summer long to give it another go. I don’t get that many chances to ride with my wife. As soon as she rolled up to the meeting spot with Mike and Diane on their tandem we rolled out, quickly working up to a 21-22 mph pace. We had a few slow-down’s and faster spots throughout but we managed to keep it pretty consistent – and Mrs. Bgddy stayed right there the whole way.
We crossed the City Limits with a 21.2 mph average for the 30 mile course. If memory serves, it took me a little more than two years with the group before I could hold that kind of average. Of course, the circumstances are very different for the two of us but still, that was one solid effort. My wife is a cyclist, and it is good.