With rain in the forecast, we bumped up our 8 am ride to 7:30. It rained all of Saturday afternoon and evening but cleared up sometime early Sunday morning. We awoke to dry roads and a narrow window through which to get in as many miles as possible in two-ish hours.
Our group consisted of our closest friends, Diane and Adam on their tandem, Mike, Matt and Phill. Of course, Mrs. Bgddy and I took our tandem.
We started out fairly easy into the wind, my wife and I setting the pace. We quickly built up to a healthy 19 mph and pulled for four miles. Then Diane and Adam came up to take over. They pushed the pace to 20 (they’re more experienced and very strong). We chatted lightly in between gasps for air and enjoyed the ride out to Byron.
Heading into town we were tucked in nicely behind Diane and Adam. Byron is a very popular City Limits sign to sprint for, it’s a long downhill into the sign so it’s fast and helps equalize things for the tandems. My wife quietly asked if we were going to go for it. I figured we’d just sit on and let Adam and Diane take it, they were in the middle of a long turn up front. Then I noticed their cadence pick up more than normal. I could see both Adam and Diane’s calf muscles straining with the effort. I tucked my head to project my voice back and said as quietly as possible, “Hold on, here we go”.
My wife and I, pedaling in perfect synchronicity, launched forward. We’d never made our bike move like that… We were just even with their back wheel and Diane yelled, “Here they come! Go!” We’d worked the slingshot perfectly and shot by them… we stuck with it. I up shifted one gear and we laid down the wattage taking our speed from 27 to 34 mph and we kept it pegged all the way to the sign. We took it smiling, both of our chests heaving with the effort to try to get more air into our lungs.
We took it easy up the hill into downtown to wait for the others and stopped at the corner gas station for a restroom break, chuckling about the little race.
From there we weren’t even half-way. We both fired down a Gu and a half each, clipped in and rolled out. We started easy, heading up a fairly steep hill, and then built up to a raucous pace. Diane and Adam did a lot of the pulling but we took our fair share of turns at the helm as well, a departure from the norm… Until today we’ve been stuck on their wheel like glue. We even elicited a comment from Diane about how strong and smooth we are looking. It’s all coming together.
We were heading north and passed a large pack of Affable Hammers coming the other way, hell bent for leather. I was exceptionally thankful we weren’t a part of that train. Not ready yet. Shortly thereafter we looked at the sky to the west and it was not good. I suggested we beat a path for home, asap and everyone else agreed, though hesitantly. Phill had checked the radar and it said the rain was still over Lansing, 40 miles to the west. I simply said, “The radar is wrong”… the rain was coming sooner rather than later.
The trip home was all tailwind and we flew.
We chose to ride the back way home so we could get a couple of more miles and drop Mike, Adam and Diane at home. Mike decided to come with so he could get an even 40 miles… We were at 37 miles and some change with a 20.1 mph average, a full nine tenths of a mile an hour over our previous best – and almost ten miles further…
A mile later we turned west, for our last mile. It was not looking good. Mike was leading us out and I told him he’d better head home, he had about ten minutes before the rain hit, more than an hour early.
That’s timing, baby.
250 miles for the week. A good way to start June… and to be able to hit that 20 mph average so soon, that’s a big deal right there. I love being a tandem couple.