Our club has everything, from racers to our own resident old cranky fella. In his youth he was fast. We’ve got an A Group, a B Group, and every other letter represented down to F. Maybe G.
For the most part we don’t interact together all that much. The A guys are too fast for the B’s, the B’s are too fast for the C’s, etc… It’s just too messy for the group above to try to take it back enough for the group below. Every once in a while, though, we get a day where a few of the A guys will want to hang with us for a bit, and some are better at it than others. Every once in a while, some of the B’s will ride with the C’s – again, some are better at it than others. I am one of the others, though I have my days where I play well, if I’m on the Trek. Dave, a Cat 2 or 3 masters racer is one of the A guy others, while Greg or Winston can match their pace with ours quite well.
The Assenmacher Pre-Ride, where a group of B’s ride the 100 mile route to give the route a once-over. That was yesterday… I’d invited a few of the A guys, Greg, Dave and Todd – Greg and Todd work well with others, Dave is working on it and showing significant improvement.
We, the gang, my wife and I, rolled at 8am, or a few minutes thereafter, and having gotten one mechanical issue taken care of within three miles of leaving, we took the pace to our normal 21-23 mph. As has become quite normal this year, the weather was absolutely perfect. 62°, sunny and no wind. It’s amazing how many days we’ve had like that this summer. Anyway, we picked Greg and Dave up en route, stopped at the gas station in Byron, and headed on – that first stop and 17 miles (or so), we didn’t stop again till somewhere around 50 miles. We had a good turnover, as well. Dave and Greg would take a five mile pull at 22-23 mph, then we’d roll over four turns between 20 and 22 to give everyone a break, then Greg and Dave would come back to the front and take over again. I loved it – a few others found the faster pace a little difficult.
Mrs. Bgddy was hanging on like a champ, taking turns up front and riding strong. At the 50 mile stop I knew she was in desperate need of a Coke and I was looking forward to one myself. I picked up two and a Snickers for me – I didn’t want any version of Betty White showing up on this ride. After a nice ten minute break, we rolled again, everyone having topped off their water bottles.
The next 22 miles, on our roll into Owosso (and lunch), was a little tougher. Some in the group were starting to get tired, but we pressed on. Just before lunch, Allen had his hamstring seize up on him so he dropped off the back and limped home (taking every shortcut he could find in the process). We kept the normal pace and rotation, Allen being the only casualty.
Mrs. Bgddy, on her first pre-ride, was doing great. I’d expected a meltdown or two before we stopped for lunch, but she was riding with a smile – and that made my ride a lot more fun because I wasn’t worrying about how she was doing. Every once in a while I’d flash her the thumb’s up to let her know she was riding superbly. We stopped for lunch, as we do every year, at mile 72-ish at the Owosso Subway. I chose the new Chicken Caesar Wrap. Now, I’m not a big Subway guy, but I’ll eat there on occasion when I’m watching calories… It’s a passable lunch. However, that Chicken Caesar Wrap is freaking fantastic. With the dressing, it’s probably a brazillion calories, but it’s good.
We rolled after finishing our sandwiches and commenced to getting after it. Greg and Dave had split off, having left from Greg’s house, they only had ten-ish miles to go. We, on the other hand, had 27.
For the most part, we rode together well, though we did single file a few times to beat the wind as some of the group stopped taking turns up front (normal, and perfectly okay). We also managed to get the pace back up into the low 20’s. With ten to go, my wife started struggling. Willem Defoe showed up and we had at it for a few seconds. She finished her turn up front and we quickly apologized to each other, and we rolled on. I was having a great ride. Normally I’m pretty smoked around 85 miles, especially with only two short stops and a third for lunch (I like to stop every 20 miles, even if it’s just for a few minutes).
The wind had kicked up but was still only in the single digits. We rolled into the parking lot, just shy of 100 miles (99.8 miles). One lap around the parking lot fixed that. Allen didn’t stop for lunch and managed to cut off seven miles so he beat us back and was doing fine. The rest of us made it back tired, but intact. It was hi-five’s and handshakes all around.