Last night was a particularly awesome Tuesday Night Club Ride. It wasn’t faster than other editions, it was just…. right. Everyone worked together, even Time Trial guy behaved properly – and it was a little on the windy side, to boot.
Coming out of the egregiously long headwind section we still had a 20-1/2-mph average. We were all working together and everything was smooth. That’s how a club ride should be, by the way, smooth and predictable.
We paid for the second half tailwind with the first half of the ride, and it was, simply stated, a blast. In many cases we surged past 29-mph and I took the first sprint, after sucking an enormous amount of tandem wheel, at more than 34-mph. The tandem I’d ridden in lost steam way too early and I could feel the sprinters behind me getting restless so I did something entirely inadvisable; I shot off the front something like a half-mile out. I took it from 29-mph to 35 within a few pedal strokes and kept the power on as long as I could. Coming up to the City Limits sign I was out of gas about 100 yards out. I hazarded a look back – I was free and clear by something like four or five bike lengths so I tried my best to maintain my speed – I think I crossed the line at 32.
We regrouped in town and prepared for the home stretch, eight more miles of tailwind and cross-tailwind.
We’d lost a few but still had a solid group and the pace for the last few miles grew steadily till it peaked just shy of “hectic” at 28-mph. We rolled hard for the City Limits sign, but tandems were dropping off. I was on the wheel of one tandem, then another, then one last and we were still a quarter-mile from the finish. As that last tandem petered out, I jumped, just like I’d done 8 miles earlier. Way too soon, but I was either going to double up the sprints or go down in a blaze trying. I went from 28 to just shy of 35-mph (56 kph) in four rotations of the pedals. I had my head down and ass high, grinding on the pedals for all I was worth. I left it all on the road and when I looked back after running out of gas I had enough of a gap I could sit down and pedal easy across the line. We finished with a 21.9-mph average.
It never ceases to amaze me how much I enjoy riding my Venge. I feel lucky every time I throw a leg over the top tube. It’s that nice a ride… super fast, responsive, yet compliant in the right places for a smooth ride. Every day on my bike is a good day.