My Saturday century turned into 81 miles shortly after this photo was taken.
One of my friends was struggling mightily so he took a shortcut to cut five miles off before the lunch stop at 64 miles. After a nice turkey sammich lunch, we had a confab and my buddy Mike said he’d ride the shortcut with our struggling friend and wait for me at the finish so I could get my miles in….
I had been riding like a champ all morning…. 64 miles in, I wasn’t a bit nervous about the remaining 36. I could have done them standing on my head. Well, maybe not literally on my head, on a bike, but you get me. We were sitting on a 19.6 mph average and I felt like I could ride forever at that pace.
However, I showed up to ride with my friends and I let them know I’d be doing just that. I didn’t care at all whether I ended my day with 80 or 100 miles. All but two of us took the shortcut. I did take some monster turns up front…. and bridged a gap the lead two guys had opened up when Mike and Chuck bet me I couldn’t. I figured, if we’re going short I may as well hammer the remaining miles out and took it up to 28 going down a perfectly placed 100 meter-long hill. I looked back as I made contact and drifted back…
We rolled into the parking lot fifteen miles later, smiling, with 81 miles and an average pace of 19-1/2 mph. Perfect weather, a great ride, and we all made it back safe.
The day wasn’t without its problems – there’s always something with that ride, it seems. We encountered a guy who obviously had never ridden in a group but decided he would like to choose this century to ride with us. We tolerated him till he started riding next to the pace line, two bikes back, and passing on the right…. I shit you not, down on his clip-on aero bars. That was the last straw. I looked under my right armpit and saw his wheel coming… I checked under my left to make sure my friend in my draft wasn’t overlapping and moved sharply right to cut him off in a manner that wouldn’t leave any question in his mind what was happening… I also said something to him. Stern, but nice, I recommended if he would like to ride with our group he should spend some time at the back, watching how we worked together so he could learn how to fit in with us because what he was doing was simply unacceptable. We didn’t see much of him after that, and we were thankful.
Earlier there was another fella who was with a smaller group that joined us. He cut a couple of our guys off in the pace line. Eventually, his erratic riding had him clip one of our guys’ rear wheel with his Orbea Orca front…. Funny thing about clipping a rear wheel with your front – he, in his bike-matching $300 skin suit, went for a tumble in the ditch and ended up covered in dirt and bleeding from the knee for the rest of the ride. We ride all over the State together, my friends and I. We travel out of State to special rides and never run into craziness like we do on that ride.
Of course, it is nicknamed the ride through he’ll because it actually cuts through Hell, Michigan. So maybe….