Take a guess at who finished with the A guys last night. He’s got two thumbs and looks like…
This guy! More on that later (it’s not as sexy as it initially reads)…
We rolled out at 5:15, after only a three mile warm up, so we could get back before dark – with a southwesterly wind.
Cross headwind, cross tailwind, cross headwind, cross tailwind… FULL FRONTAL HEADWIND. The A guys were leading the whole gang out. I did my best to do my part but my turns at the front were short. The guys at the back had it a lot rougher than I did. There was no place to hide so guys were getting spit off every couple of miles.
Thirteen miles in, I’d had enough too. One of the guys came by after sucking a bunch of my wheel and said, “Ya sissy”. I just let him go, knowing that wasn’t the last I’d see of him.
A few miles later, guess who got himself dropped. We stopped at the regroup spot to wait for the others to catch up. I pulled even with him, a wry smile on my face and said, “If you’re going to make that sissy $#!+ work, you actually have to stay up there.”
“Yeah, they made me a sissy too”, he conceded.
We rolled through town, made the left to head back north and rolled. A few miles later and the A guys caught us (we B folks take a shortcut). That happened half a dozen times this year, maybe more, and every time I let them go.
Not last night.
I jumped on the back with six or seven miles left to go…. and I sucked wheel like a champ. Originally I was going to take my turns, but when one of the A guys came back from the front, he pointed in front of me and said, “I want that wheel so you don’t get me dropped”.
I was on the edge, so the offer sounded quite reasonable. I’m not one of those who would let a gap drop people, I’m a responsible member of the group, but whatever. I took him up on it. I felt guilty at first, but I got over it as we topped 28 mph – and the wind had died down. 28, no tailwind.
29 up a slight incline. I knew I made the right choice.
Before I knew it, they were setting up for the sprint… and I let them go. I wasn’t going to suck wheel that hard then jump on the sprint train with fresh legs. No way. That crap is for racing.
The guy who’d called me a sissy earlier wasn’t on same morality bike I was riding. He charged up from the back and three of the A guys boxed him out to let the others (who had worked for it…) have their sprint. It was comical.
Later, after the ride, I thanked each A guy that hadn’t left for letting me suck wheel. I apologized and explained myself, that I was on the edge and didn’t want to get anyone dropped. As you could imagine, they were very cool about it.
They weren’t so cool about the guy who jumped into the sprint. He didn’t win any new friends last night. Too bad, that.
Final thoughts on the night:
- A 24 mph average on that track is freaking fast.
- I love it when karma works.
- I love it more when I get to see it work.
- Every time I ride with the A guys, I’m glad we made the B group. Every time.
- That’s not to take anything away from them, of course, my idea of a leisure activity is simply a little less intense.
- Wind sucks. It splits everyone up.
- Being secure in who I am is the best guard against others saying stupid stuff (see also, karma). Those who hope for a day when people aren’t jerks may as well hold their breath for world peace.