84° (29 C), partly cloudy, wind 5-mph from the southwest.
There was only one choice to make and it was easy.
The Venge, baby…
I readied my Venge and gear for the ride. Matching Specialized Team kit, S-Works helmet, Torch 2.0 shoes. Water bottles, tools… and out the door.
Out in Lennon, at the church parking lot, there were only three others there. We rolled out together for a warm-up. Two A guys, me and another B guy. It started out easy enough but got out of hand in a hurry. We were pushing crazy speed into the barely there breeze. We turned north with a tailwind and the tempo picked up. I’m going to save you the suspense. We pulled into the parking lot with a 20-mph average.
Who does a freaking 20-mph warm-up? Why?!
After the warm-up, the first thing I noticed was the B Group was in trouble. We had four solid “up front” people show up and about six who would want to hide most of the ride. This doesn’t exactly bode well for a record setting night. The decision was made, not by me, to roll out with the A’s. I don’t know what the deal was, but they took it easy on us again this week. I made it the full 20-ish miles to Shiatown where we dropped off the back for the shorter route home. We were rockin’ a 23.3-mph average… and had tailwind all the way home.
I led the group out after the regroup and took the first mile uphill before the sprint into Vernon. I was four bikes back by the time we came into view of the sign. I put the hammer down early and liberally and got a fantastic separation within a few pedal strokes. Nobody else had a chance and I cruised over the line near 33-mph and a smile on my face.
Then it was time to knuckle down for the final push home. I was glad I was on the Venge, too – it’s just utterly fantastic at speed. I could tell my regular riding buddy, Chuck wanted to up the average because once we cleared a busy intersection, he cranked the speed up in a hurry. He flicked off and I took the next turn keeping it near 27-mph before dropping to the back. We held anywhere between 24 & 28-mph all the way till the last couple of miles.
I was in entirely the wrong position. I knew I was going to be the leadout. There was no way around it other than a quick turn and a flick and I’m not about to do that. I got down in the drops and waited for Mike to flick off. He drifted off the front at 24-1/2-mph and that was my cue…
I thought about going hard as if I’d been let out of the gate, but I chose to take it up gradually to give Mike a chance to latch on. The speedometer topped 25… 26… 27… I almost flicked off but decided to do it right and give the guys a “blaze of glory” sendoff. I put my head down and pounded on the pedals. I was giving it everything I had coming around a lazy left curve before the final straightaway before the sprint. I was almost to 28 (45 kmh) when I ran out of gas just as Josh and the boys were coming by. I sat up and still held 26 across the line.
The average ranged between 23.1 (me) to 23.4 (Chucker) for the ride. Not a record, but a solid ride. I still can’t believe we, as the B Group, are averaging 23-mph – and so smoothly.
I think I was still smiling when I fell asleep last night (I know I was when I woke up this morning).