I rolled the Trek out Thursday morning, for one last hurrah. It had rained the night before, so the dirt roads would have simply meant having to clean the gravel bikes for the fifth time this week. Crime in Italy, Chuck, no thanks!
Unfortunately, everyone else showed up with their gravel bikes, (according to Diane, the dirt wasn’t so bad)… The situation was a mess, and I almost switched bikes, but that would have meant switching shoes and over-shoes as well and with temps near freezing outside, I didn’t want anyone to have to wait on me. I just stuck with the road bike and figured I’d pull most of the ride… they would need it heading back north. Our route had us heading west, then south and with a wind out of the north, we were going to eat it for much of the third quarter of the ride.
I took the first three miles up front, keeping it at an easy 17-1/2 mph pace – easy for me, anyway. I peeled off the front and let everyone else have a mile or two, plus most of the tailwind. I was going to get my gravy when we turned around to head home. We stopped at our usual gas station for a quick pit stop and rolled out before we got too cold standing around. I took the next three miles, dead into the wind. I was aiming for a good speed for the gravel bikes, so chose 17-1/2-mph as my target. Two miles into the pull, it was sucking. I kept looking up to see where the road sign signified the intersection we’d be turning at. Finally, over a last little hill, it came into sight.
We turned east, and I signaled off the front. We had five miles before my next three-mile turn into the headwind so I took the opportunity to rest up – riding the Trek matched up next to three gravel bikes is not “like” cheating, it is cheating.
I was ready when we headed north again. With the nicest pavement we ever see for three miles, I dialed it up to around 18 and just pushed for home. The wind was picking up a little so this turn was a little harder. No hill for a climber, though. After three miles east, we were home. 28-1/2 miles and one of the better Thanksgiving rides I’ve ever done.
I thought a lot during the course of that ride, about how lucky I was to not only have a great race bike, but to have a fantastic second race bike. At this point it isn’t fair to simply call it a rain bike – I use it for a lot more than that – and my word was it nice to get out on a light, agile road bike after spending the last month on the gravel bike. Don’t get me wrong, I love the gravel bike, but nothing beats the raw speed of a great road bike.
Fortunately, after an epic eat down at my sister’s and brother-in-law’s house, I’m putting in some great miles for this time of year. We’re back into the cold again, but it’s not so bad we can’t ride… and I’m in the process of learning how to leave leftovers again. Something I’ve gotten away from – and my midsection shows it.