This post has a twist at the end.
A friend of the gang just came back from surgery. She was still a bit sore but willing to give it a go. She and her husband always ride a tandem, a Co-Motion Macchiato outfitted with Campy everything. It’s very nice and is about as heavy as my single gravel bike.
Anyway, she didn’t want anything to do with the A Group last night, so they rode with us, and we were lucky to have them.
The 7-1/2 mile warm-up was inconsequential and a bit mundane, but it got the legs moving and that was a good thing. Mrs. Bgddy showed up a little late so I did another mile and a half-ish with her so she could get her legs moving as well… because little did we know, something special was about to happen.
We watched the A Group roll out, gave them a minute, and rolled out ourselves. We had a massive group, too. Easily 30, probably more. I was in the bigger chase group with my wife, right from the beginning. We caught the lead group within a mile or two and by the time we hit our first turn we were all together and creeping up on full gas.
I took my first turn at the front about five miles in and I expected to do the normal four or five back before hearing “that’s you” with seven bikes behind me. That didn’t happen, though. I was able to get all the way to the back. To tell the truth, I’m not used to being all the way back there – it was a little unsettling. At first. Once I caught my breath and got a proper rest, though, I really enjoyed it.
The speed was quite healthy as we hit the half-way point turning east with the wind at our back. With the tailwind, things got lively. We were in the hills.
Unlike previous weeks, we didn’t have too many people charging them and breaking the group up before falling to the back and getting set to smash the group once more. Instead, we remained together for the most part. This helped my wife who, despite the excellent pace, was still hanging tough with the group. After the last major hill, we regrouped in about 25 seconds and moved out.
I took my third turn heading up the next incline at about 21-mph before falling back at the crest. Again, I was able to head back at least twelve bikes and heading into the intermediate sprint we were being led out at 32-mph, normally we’re sprinting at 33! We hit 34 and a couple of guys went up the road at close to 40 – I didn’t bother. I just stayed where I was and enjoyed the speed of it all.
We took our time going through town, never topping 20, and let the group catch back up before heading north again. I took just my third turn up front with only eight miles to go. The group was working like a well-lubed machine, one of the best nights I can remember in terms of it actually being a group ride. Better, my wife was still hanging strong. She was crushing it.
Then the A group caught us and shit got real in a hurry. See, normally, the A Group is whittled down to about six or seven guys if they catch us. We’ll be going about 24 or 25 and they blow right by us at 32-34…. but last night there was a car coming our way and that forced them into our group momentarily. When they picked the pace up again, we went with them. Our 24-mph pace became 28-30-mph (48-km/h).
I can remember Mrs. Bgddy saying, “You go ahead, if I can’t keep up, don’t worry about me”. That’s what I did. We held close to 30-mph for the final five miles and crossed the City Limits “finish line” with a 22.3-mph average, the B Group’s fastest ever Tuesday night.
I didn’t participate in the sprint because we sat in the back and let the A guys do all of the hard work up front. I slowed up, reached into my back pocket for my phone and stopped Strava. As I was putting my phone back in my pocket, here comes Mrs. Bgddy with a smile on her face from ear to ear, just beaming. Not only was she there, she said she helped the back group bridge when someone let a gap form. The effort that took must have been astounding. She said her computer showed 22-mph when she crossed the City Limits sign – her best Tuesday night, if memory serves, by a full mile per hour.
Back in the parking lot it was high-five’s and handshakes. A good time was had by all (that I’m aware of). My wife was beaming with well-earned pride as she went from friend to friend, recapping the ride and sharing fist bumps.
Last night, my wife found out, with that one act of helping her group bridge to another at better than 30-mph, that what she thought was impossible on a bike wasn’t only possible, it was doable. If I had to lay odds, last night my wife went from a great cyclist to an enthusiast.
I know that’s how it worked with me.