I was absolutely stoked about our ride yesterday. I woke up way early, got the bikes prepped and waited patiently for the time to come to shower up and leave. We were doing one of my favorite loops, a 64-1/2 miler into the hometown I grew up in. I miss it the town, but it’s become too expensive for my paycheck and it’s gotten big. The ride through town hits most of my old haunts from my drinking days. Many of the buildings changed – Cardona’s (pronounced car-dO-na’s, the owner was Italian) was my favorite bar. That’s been turned into “Stout Irish Pub” – somewhere Lou Cardona turned over in his grave, but progress, eh? On a side note, my mom is very Irish and my father very Italian and my mom’s very Irish father married into a very Italian family. We don’t talk about it. Ever.
Anyway, my goodness did I get off the beaten path! Wheels rolled from a high school south of here at 7:30 am. It was already sticky hot and muggy enough it only took ten minutes of the bikes being outside on the car rack for condensation to stick to them. We headed off into the wind, taking the back roads all the way down through Oak Grove to Howell. A couple of stints on major five-lane roads and more back roads, we were making great time and there was plenty of talking and laughing. We stopped at a fabulous bakery in downtown Brighton where I had a “French Toast Bake” with maple syrup. It was good enough it should have been illegal… and also only eaten on the occasion of a 100k or greater bike ride. Which I met. We rolled out of Brighton at 34.77 miles into the 64-1/2 mile ride – better than halfway done.
I didn’t know this until just this morning but the next 25 miles are virtually all uphill.
And that explains what happened next. We had the whole second half of the ride with a 10 to 13-mph tailwind. I figured it’d just be a fun cruise home… but my buddy, Mike started bonking right about the 50-mile mark. We were cruising fairly easy, about 23-mph (it was only about 130-ish watts?) and word filtered up that Mike was off the back. We slowed up to 19-20, soft pedaling with the tailwind and he caught back up. We took it back up to 21 and here comes my wife, whipping around from the back after pulling Mike back to the group, at probably 23-ish. Nothing, and I mean nothing pisses me off more than “hey, slow down”, then the person who yells “slow down” comes whipping by to crank the pace up.
I took three others with me and steadily built my speed up. I reeled in my wife and passed her at 27-mph. I let my speed drop down to 26 and after another half-mile I flicked off the front. Once ensconced on the back, I looked back at my wife and gave her the big, “come on up” gesture and shouted, “Come on, honey, take the lead, we’re only going 26!” The group was shattered.
My blood has a little rolling boil just typing this out.
The rest of the ride was a complete mess. Every time we got up to 20-mph, someone dropped off the back for something. A bonk, a saddle bag fell off… it was like drama on the high seas…
We waited for Dave to get and secure his saddle bag, which Diane had picked up on the side of the road. Meanwhile, Mike went up the road. We were on the side of the road, waiting for this to sort itself out, for a good three minutes while Mike was putting distance between us. We rolled out and the pace equalized. We were pounding down the road at an easy 23-ish-mph (37 kmh) and we reeled Mike in and slowed our pace to let him catch on to the back. And he went straight off the back just that fast. The group shattered again and we ended up waiting at an intersection for him to catch up. I gave my wife most of my second water bottle as it was starting to get really hot. Mike passed us right up and kept on up the road.
We waited another several minutes. And then smoothly reeled him in, and phhht, straight off the back he went. Next we stopped at a gas station for a liquid refill. We took our time and Mike went back up the road again. We took so much time refilling bottles and drinking Coke we never caught him. But the pace smoothed out.
Chuck was prepping to go back out to get 100 in and he convinced Levi to go with him. I thought about it for a minute, but I wanted to be done. I’d had enough. Besides, the grass needed cutting. We waved goodbye and headed for home. After talking things out with my wife, I realized what the problem was, said my piece, and apologized for being a knucklehead. It still happens now and again.
It was only then I realized I hadn’t snapped one photo the whole trip. I was really bummed then.