I had no desire to play for the sprints last night. I got home from work, my legs are a little lethargic after last week, and I just wanted to ride.
The warm-up was mercifully easy, I don’t think we cracked 20 mph with a tailwind. I milled about the parking lot welcoming new people (there have been quite a few of late) waiting for the start. Once I’d attempted to get everyone fitted with the proper group and the clock hit 6pm, we let the A guys get about a half-mile down the road and headed out.
We had perfect conditions for the ride. Cloudy, upper 70’s (25 C), and a mild, single-digit breeze out of the east.
We rolled at 6:01, starting out quite easy at about 19 mph. Two miles later we were pushing 24-25mph, exactly where we should have been. As has been usual, I didn’t bother dropping all the way to the back of the group after a pull. Whether it’s a fear of getting dropped, or not minding the work, or the simple truth that hanging out in the back is a lot of work with all of the yo-yo’ing that goes on back there, I just went back far enough that I figured I could get a bit of a rest and got back in line.
We came up to first sprint lead-out and the pace was a bit slow. We were into that mild breeze but heading down a slight hill… we were pushing 24-25 but should have been closer to 30mph. I hollered for the guys up front to pick up the pace and when it didn’t happen, a group of us went around and showed them how it’s done. One of the A/B guys went by us so I jumped on his wheel, figuring I’d get a good lead-out… we were only a quarter-mile from the City Limits sign, but as soon as I got on his wheel, he flicked off leaving me at the front to control the lead-out. I did what lead-out guys do. I picked up the pace a little more and watched the sprinters go. To tell the truth, it was kinda nice not being smoked after that first sprint. I just rolled across the line with a smile on my face as the group re-formed.
I did the same thing for the final sprint. I just did my part to keep the pace for the group and handled some of the lead-out duties.
We crossed the line with a 21.2 mph average (34.2 km/h). A little slow, considering the conditions, but it ended up being a really enjoyable ride.
It never ceases to amaze me how lucky we are to have the people we have to ride with and the great roads to ride on that we do. It’s not perfect, of course, but it’s pretty damn close.