We rolled out Sunday morning, a perfect morning for a bike ride, at 7:30. A big group for the pre-ride, upwards of 20. That wasn’t going to last, but the company was enjoyed while it did.
We kept the pace tame for three miles before kicking it up a notch. The 18-mph start was inched up to 20 into a barely there headwind. And that’s where the pace stayed until mile 50.
And that’s exactly when it got fast. The tandem was playing around on the rollers, then my wife charged. Then I charged, and the double pace-line turned into a single-file hammer fest. Over the next 48 miles, just eight were slower than 20-mph. Most of the remaining 40 were north of 22.
We lost one of our hammers who cut out to get to work but five or six of us managed to hammer the miles out steadily. The mix was interesting for the first fifty miles in that we’d have the hammers up front who would ratchet up the pace, but then we’d have a few get up front who would slow the pace down a bit so we could all catch our breath. All of that went out the window as the slower group of riders began fading, with about 20 miles left. Before I knew it, we had four hammers and we were all alone.
With ten left, a point where I’m normally toast, I was feeling really good – surprisingly good. I had some gas in the tank and we were busting out miles well north of 22-mph. It was Winston, who was the main driver, Chuck, Chuck and me. The Chucks and I did our time up front but truth be told, we rode Winston like a red-headed rented mule. The younger Chuck was starting to fade fast and I worried about the older Chuck, so when I got up front I sat right at 23 and gave it my mile and asked Winston to keep it there as I faded back.
We started catching up on a large group up ahead, though. Everyone in our small rabble has a bit of “chase ’em down” in us – we love to chase cyclists down, especially a large group like the one we had in front of us, so Winston did what Winston does and we hammered down the road after the group. A few miles up the road, Winston asked if that was the group we’d dropped eight miles back. I responded that it couldn’t be, that there really wasn’t a shortcut they could have used to get that far ahead of us. A mile later, it dawned on me that there was one shortcut that chopped a mile and a half off. They’d taken it and we were closing in on them fast.
We passed them with less than a mile to go, my tongue dangling precariously close to my spokes and we rode across the line with a 20.4-mph average (32.8 k/ph). My average power for the 4:50 minute ride was 184w with a manageable 1,850 feet of up. They don’t make them much better than that, my friends.
Unfortunately, I’d learned my wife had dropped fifteen miles earlier with another rider so I looped back around to ride back to her. I stopped my Garmin so I could post it here, then dropped down into the little ring and began to spin back to her. A quarter-mile later my legs started cramping up. Bad. My buddy Mike had already gone up the road after her so I turned back around to the car before I seized up so bad I had to walk…
My wife and I had picked up a watermelon on the way to the start so I pulled that out and cut it up. I took a piece, as did my friends. My wife rolled in just five minutes later and I had a slice waiting for her. That, in combination with a bottle of Gatorade straightened me out. We packed up and headed home. I had to eat a little crow for dropping my wife, but we worked it out without a raised voice and were smiling by the time we hit our driveway five minutes later.
For those riding the 100 miler next Sunday, I rode the route on Sunday: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/30823346
The link to the Event page on RideWithGPS, it has all the routes: https://ridewithgps.com/events/63400-assenmacher-100