A Rare Thursday Night Spectacular Ride With A Few Friends
It was windy and perfectly sunny last night and I chose the Trek. Better to battle the wind with 38’s than 50’s, I figured. The Trek with the Ican 38’s is a spectacular steed. Great in the wind (especially crosswinds) and good on rough roads… I absolutely love it in its current build. Really, it’s the bike I hoped it would be when I bought it.
I showed up early and headed out back of the school to an outrageously nice subdivision (somebody back there had a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ in their driveway) that has some really nice hills for a warm-up. I ended up with four miles and a little more than 220′ of up (that’s a lot for southeastern Michigan) and headed back to the high school parking lot to wait for everyone to show up.
After a nice little political discussion about the stupidity of the “defund police” movement, we rolled out, about eight of us. Two of my very good riding buds and another occasional cycling bud immediately put a quarter-mile gap on the slower crew. Typically we have regroup points but it was clear early on we’d be waiting a lot so, at the first regroup (about five miles in), we waited for 30 seconds and took off. It was going to be a loooooooong 26 miles of waiting if we’d regrouped.
And the entire rest of the ride, with just four of us, was a hammer-fest. We also manage to pack a decent amount of climbing into this ride, too. I averaged 56′ per mile on my warm-up, the main ride has 40′ per mile (normal is 10-20). With the slow start, our average was climbing quickly. We were cycling our pace-line with impressive efficiency. We were all fairly matched in ability and it never ceases to amaze me how much fun I can have hammering down the road with a few other competent cyclists. We flew around the lake – an impressively scenic stretch with rolling hills.We hit the tailwind about 17 miles into the ride. There wasn’t much, just a few miles, but we hurtled down the road with the boost. Our average was slightly over 20-mph and I was right in between hurting and having fun… it’s hard on the ride, but the afterglow is always fantastic…
Next up, I knew I was in trouble. At a current 178 pounds, I’m the fatty in our crew and we had the biggest hill in the area coming up (I thought about taking a shortcut and skipping it, but that thought only lasted a second before I discarded it as “sissy” thinking). We stretched out on the way up the hill and, while I wasn’t watching the paint dry, I was falling back quickly (analysis after the ride, I actually PR’d the climb [!]). We regrouped at the top and bombed the descent, almost touching 40-mph (if you could see the grin on my face).
With just a few miles to go, we did everything we could to keep the average up, but only one of us managed to turn in a 20-mph average to the parking lot. The other three of us ended up with a 19.9. However, on that course, in that wind, I’ll take 20 any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Average power for the ride was around 200 watts.And so I packed my bike up and headed for home and a light dinner. I wore a smile the rest of the night and fell asleep a happy man. After Tuesday, I needed a good hammering.
There’s something special about riding with a small group of well-matched cyclists that makes me love life. After what I’ve been through (the overall “been through”, addiction, recovery, etc.), it’s still a little surprising to be able to love being me – though it never gets old. I have to watch who I share that with, of course. I don’t think anyone is technically allowed to be happy at this moment in time, so let’s just keep that part between us, eh?