When I pulled into the parking lot for the club ride last night I had every intention of hiding the first 2/3’s of the ride so I could make the final leg with the faster guys. There’s just one problem…
I’d rather flame out, blow up, bonk and get dropped than hide at the back of the pack. It’s a flaw in my DNA or something. I have to do my fair share for the group. I accept and embrace this flaw… If you can even call it a flaw.
My buddy Mike is up north with Chuck, climbing hills to get strong for the season.
We rolled out for the warm-up at 5:15 and it was a spirited 7-1/2 mile jaunt at a little over 18-1/2 mph, especially considering the wind (12 mph out of the northeast).
That’s the real deal right there… The top of the line S-Works Venge ViAS with Di2 Dura-Ace components, next to my first generation Venge.
The main ride started out… reasonable. After three miles I wasn’t even breathing heavy. I took my first pull dead into the wind at 21 mph and it didn’t get much faster than that. Until…
About six miles in it started ratcheting up. We turned onto Shipman Road with a nice tailwind and it got nuts in a hurry. It never ceases to amaze me when my computer shows numbers approaching 30 mph. And we held that for miles. My first club ride ever, three years ago, I got dropped as soon as we hit 28. I mean instantly. You know when you get a fly that sticks to your windshield and you start to driving, it kind of clings there for a bit…. Then bam, it’s gone. Yeah, that was me at 28, way back when.
I ended up taking a couple of more pulls and was way too close to the front when we hit the hills. Halfway up the second one, I just gave up. I can’t explain it, I just had enough. It was just one of those things. Had it to do over, nine-and-a-half times in ten I stay with the group.
I took it down from 23-24 mph to a more manageable 20. Climbing a hill.
My friends, Phill and Chuck, ended up off the back just a half-mile up the road and Phill had never gotten within fifteen bikes of the front. If I’d have hidden, I’d have been thinking about hanging with the fast guys to the end.
I spent the next two miles deep in the rocket fuel reeling Phill and Chuck in heading up the hills but I caught them soon enough. We hit our meeting spot and waited a few minutes for our fellow stragglers to catch up. Only four showed… and we had a long way to go, dead into the wind.
It was fairly obvious early on who would end up doing most of the work. So Ethan and I took to it. Chuck did his fair share but Phill and Big Joe were struggling a bit in the wind.
Even with the slow start, we ended up at the meeting point with a 22 mph average and I wanted to keep as much of that as possible at the finish line. It was probably a little selfish to drop Joe, Phill and Chuck but Ethan and I did – we spent the last few miles taking turns slogging it out into an increasing northeast wind. We pulled into the finish with a 21.2 average and I was exceptionally pleased with that (our best is around 22 mph).
Sitting down to dinner with everyone last night was pretty sweet.