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