I’m sitting on the couch watching the Red Sox and Yankees playoff game. I’m showered up, I’ve eaten, and I feel like a thousand Dollars.
Last night was an iffy weather night. It was unseasonably warm (sadly, that’s about to end) but we had a chance of a popcorn shower. In fact, it started raining at about 3:30 hard, and we were set to roll at 4:45 for the warm-up lap. I readied the Venge anyway – I wanted my last night in shorts and short-sleeves to be on the good bike.
The car was hit by a few drops on the way out to the meeting point but that was it. Once I got the bike out of the back, the sun came out and we were clear.
The warm-up was slow, relatively. With the mild-ish wind out of the southwest, the first leg of the loop is always a bit ugly.
We set up in the parking lot for an end-of-season photo and it was suggested that maybe the A’s and B’s roll together for the first twenty. There were no objections, so off we went. Last week on the Trek, there were several times in the first twenty miles where I was struggling mightily. It was cold and wet last week but I was dressed for it – I was also on the Trek. Simply put, that bike is just a little harder to ride fast, because there were no issues last night. Once I got into the rhythm (and decided to take shorter turns at the front), I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Eight miles in we were looking at a 24-mph average.
There was no let-up into the wind either, the only thing that changed was the turns up front were shorter.
We’d decided early on to split at the 20-mile point, so when the time came we split seamlessly. The B’s stopped atop a hill to wait for any stragglers left on the hill and the A’s rolled right by us. When the last guy pulled in, we rolled. Two tandems and a bunch of singles. With a tailwind all the way home, we were hard at it from the gun.
I timed the intermediate sprint perfectly by using a friend of mine (unwittingly on his part) to block the other sprinters. I solo’ed off the front to pick the sign off. We regrouped in town and instead of taking it easy, Chuck charged up front and prodded the lead guys to kick it up for our average speed’s sake.
The rest of the ride was single pace line and exceptionally fast. We kept the turns up front short, with the exception of one of the A Guys who stayed with us because he doesn’t handle the heat well. He was up front so long and so fast, he burned me out drafting behind him. I used an intersection to fall back for a rest.
The last three miles were energetic. After the intersection, there’s a little climb over a quarter-mile that we did at a mercifully easy 19-mph, but once we crested, the pace picked up again for the charge to the finish. The line cycled through and I found myself three bikes back with two miles to go. I figured I’d be the lead out.
Dave came up on my left, though, with about a half-mile to go and said he’d lead me out and I was just about to jump when a new guy, Bobby, drifted up on Dave’s wheel. I figured I’d let him go and take third bike for the sprint but Dave went a little faster than he’d assumed and Bobby lost his wheel. I didn’t try to chase Dave down.
I rode Bobby’s wheel in and launched a little sprint to get around him, figuring I would give it just enough to take second – and my buddy, Chuck pipped me for the sign at the last second. We’re talking inches. I caught my breath a bit and pulled my phone out of my pocket to stop Strava… Had I stopped it just after the line I’d have registered Chuck’s 23.1-mph average for the 28-ish mile loop – our best ever by a full half-mile per hour. What a ride!
So getting back to sitting on the couch, watching baseball… It never ceases to amaze me how good I feel after a ride like that. Gratitude, happiness, strength, and at ease with the world, all at once. I just set back and reveled in it… and I drifted off to sleep.
If I could bottle that and sell it, I’d never have to work another day in my life.
Sadly, I can’t. You have to buy your own bike and ride it.