We rolled last evening at 5:30 after a fun, easy 4-1/2 mile warmup. It was gloomy, breezy, cloudy and cold. But it wasn’t wet. With only eight of us and more B’s than A’s, I was expecting a tough ride.
As we rolled out of the parking lot in a single pace-line, I had an inkling form that I might be the weak link in the chain. I don’t like being that guy… and I’d brought the Trek with the hope bringing the rain bike would hold off any rain. The Venge sat home in the bike room.
I shoved those thoughts behind a bookshelf in the back of my mind. No time for thinking like that.
We were into the wind and up around 22-mph, less than a mile in, and a smile stretched across my face. I set up my Trek to be more aggressive with the new handlebar and I was more than a little nervous about how I’d do with some extra reach and dropped hoods. It was unsettling testing the setup on the trainer, but my worries proved to be much ado about nothing. I was low enough, even on the hoods, that I was in the slipstream of the guy in front of me and the bike was perfectly comfortable.
The A guys were taking mile-long pulls up front while us B guys were a bit more than a half-mile. I took three or four turns before The Watt King took the front with a tailwind we’d enjoy all the way home. It was Todd, Jonathan, then me… with everyone else stacked up behind. Todd put the hammer down, but not outrageously. With the exception of the hills, he was quite smooth keeping the pace between 25 & 27-mph with about a 9-mph tailwind. He hammered the hills and my tongue was dangling precariously close to my spokes after each one.
I figured he’d take a few miles as Todd loves the work but he never came off the front. He pulled at that pace, checking every thirty seconds or so to make sure the group was together, all the way home. Nine miles… and he had enough left in the tank to lead out for the sprint, which crossed the City Limits line at north of 30-mph.
He remarked as we were loading the bikes after the ride that he’d thought of dropping to the back but decided against it and hoped nobody minded that he took the entire pull home. Dave chuckled and said that any one of us could have gone around him if we really wanted to take a turn that bad, that he had the notion to do it but thought better of it. I joked that I’d have lasted approximately 18 seconds and was quite content in the draft.
It was a bit of a bummer how few showed up, but with misting drizzle almost everywhere but where we were riding, it wasn’t too surprising. I can say I was glad I showed up – we didn’t even touch a damp road the whole 4-1/2-mile warmup through the 23-mile main ride and the mile cooldown. And the fall colors were fully on display and absolutely beautiful. I wish I’d have been able to take a photo or six, but at the speeds we were pushing, there’s just no way.
That’ll be a ride I’ll be fondly remembering as daylight savings time comes to an end and we’re forced indoors to the trainers. It’s been a helluva year for Tuesday nights. I’m glad to have been a part of it.
We have an exceptional group of cyclists and I consider myself fortunate to be included.
Dog will hunt!