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50 More Miles; No City Limits Signs and the Beauty of Cycling in Service of Friends

Saturday, while ten degrees cooler at the start of our ride, was the pick day of the weekend…  Saturday the wind wasn’t a factor.  It sure was on Sunday, though it brought in the warmth from the south with it, so it wasn’t all bad.

We started out at 9 am with a decent group of with nine or ten and picked up another few along the way.  A big group is awesome when you’ve got a head or tailwind.  Not so much with a crosswind and we had a lot of crosswind.

I spent all but a few of the first thirty-five miles in the gutter so my friends behind me could catch a draft.  I still don’t know how I did it, but I did.  I just kept pedaling and the miles ticked off.  For those not in the know:

 

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In the middle photo, I was the guy in red, only more behind the guy in blue…

 

Now technically, that’s not “the gutter”.  This is:

 

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The riders in black and purple are as good as dropped…

That wouldn’t be me though, because I know better than riding in the actual gutter.  Anyway, I digress….

 

We pulled into Gaines, only nine and a half miles to go but I needed a nature break.  By the time I found a suitable place and looked up, the group, including my wife, had headed up the road.  They were barely visible up the road when I took to chasing them down, but before I did I fired down a sport gel…  I had a feeling this was going to hurt.

With a bit of a cross tailwind I cranked up the speed to 25 and kept it pegged.  They were close to a half a mile up the road but I figured that should be more than sufficient to catch them within, say six miles and I could spend the last few miles sucking wheel and recovering.  After two miles my legs started to burn a little bit but I was making decent headway.  I was closing the distance a lot faster than I’d hoped I would.

A mile later and I was having to resort to a few pedal strokes out of the saddle to stretch my legs.  I was close though, and gaining ground rapidly.  I was still maintaining 24 to 25 mph.  Humorously, the melon committee was having a bit of a back and forth about whether I should keep the gas on or whether I should just sit up and rest for a bit.  I had made up so much ground in only three miles, surely I could slow down. No?

I hopped out of the saddle and put the hammer down.  I hate that faction of the committee.

I caught them in just enough time to contest a Township Limits sign… but I didn’t have enough left to take it.  My wife took it by a quarter of a wheel.

I spent the next couple of miles at the back to recharge, but ended the day with a good mile-and-a-half long turn up front.

So I spent most of the day in the gutter so my friends could have a draft on a windy day, and all I have to show for it is a much bigger smile…. and two empty sports gel wrappers.  Some days I’m the sprinter, some days I’m the leadout.  That’s how it goes, and I like it.

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