Every cyclist has experienced the perfect ride. They are few and far between.
I was ready to roll at five minutes past five. Five minutes early. The parking lot only held two cars, other than mine. No worries, the weather was absolutely perfect. Upper 70’s (that’s 25 for you folks across the pond), not a cloud in the sky and a breeze that was struggling to make it to 4 mph if you could feel it at all.
McMike pulled into the lot and readied himself, then Phill. And we rolled.
Rather than blow words on a warm-up, I’ll simply say that it was stupid fast. Fastest of the season. Eight miles and I just ticked past 25 minutes. Oddly, I was up front the whole way…. I never pull that long at that speed for a warm-up.
The parking lot started to fill up with fifteen minutes to go. As has been the case for a month, we had more B guys than A guys. They rolled as we sat on our top tubes talking about the last weekend’s rides. After a couple of minutes we rolled. My new friend Doug and I up front with the group forming up behind us. We took the first two miles and worked up to 22 mph before heading back for a rest. That first quarter mile was the last time we saw a speed under 20 mph till we hit the hills.
We had two new guys with us and they worked into the group seamlessly – at least from what I saw but I spent most of the ride up front.
See, with no wind, riding even four bikes back, if you tuck into the draft just right, it feels like it pulls you down the road. Recovery from a decent turn up front is easy and quick. Eight miles in, Phill and I took a monster three-mile pull north of 22-23 mph and I was recovered within a mile.
So it went for the entire rest of the ride. I was feeling like it was the beginning of the season. My legs felt vibrant and strong – in fact, everything was working right last night. Lungs, heart, even my melon committee decided I felt good and just sat in the background chanting, “Go. Go. Go. Go.” I took the first sprint point at 22 miles without a challenge at 32 mph and I had plenty left in the tank. I stayed up front and pulled the group for another mile and a half.
I spent way too much time up front over the next eight miles but didn’t care, I was on. Approaching the finish line I found myself up front again, at 24 mph and decided rather than push it too hard, I’d keep it there and see if I couldn’t sprint off the front for the City Limits sign. I launched at exactly the right time and left everyone flat-footed. I only needed 28 mph to create an insurmountable gap and I coasted across the line.
We managed our best time of the season last evening and we were all smiles as we pulled into the parking lot. The two new guys worked out great and even took a few turns at the front – and were both stoked to come back.
I would say, without a doubt, that was the best weather we’ve had all year long on Tuesday night. Add to that the two new guys who rode quite well and the fact that I felt so good… Well, let’s just say it’s even better than noodle salad.