There comes with cycling, a virtually indescribable joy in being a part of a solid pace-line, speeding down a winding road so fast cars have a tough time keeping up. I “train” only so I can be a part of that. I don’t care about Strava accolades, KOM’s, PR’s, or beating other people… for me, it’s just about being a part of the group. The speed and intricacy of it is my definition of fun.
We prepped to roll out Thursday night coming off a record event the week before. Conditions were perfect last week. This week, less desirable – better temp, more of a breeze… but we had a larger, faster group with some serious heavy hitters from Tuesday Night in Lennon. With the fantastic weather and 0% chance of rain, I picked the Venge for this ride.
Craig and I led the group out in a double pace-line. We had a big group, but it splintered quickly under a rubber-band effect and unfortunately, with a few new guys in the group, we missed a couple of regroup points. We did manage to hit a couple, though, one a few minutes before this photo was taken by a friend and regular in our group who was stuck attending a graduation party (don’t worry, Gov., social distancing was being practiced – well, ish). Coming out of the Lake Shannon loop, we were pushing, unbelievably, a 22-mph average (35-kmh). 20-mph is fast for the ride. 21 is crazy and was our record just last week.
Coming over a major hill that I PR’ed on last week, I PR’ed again (by a lot) but still got dropped and the group rolled right through the regroup point so four of us, rather than try to chase down a group we were never going to catch, cut a hard mile of the out-and-back portion of the course off and waited atop a hill that was going to hammer the lead group. We simply stopped, took a second to catch our breath, take a drink and waited for them to appear on the way up an ugly 6% climb.
Sure enough, once we caught a glimpse of them we started rolling and took the lead as they latched on. From that point on, we stayed together, sharing the headwind ride back. I’d dropped from 22-mph down to 21.6, but the average climbed as much of the headwind was actually slightly downhill. We turned right to a crosswind and hammered down the road. Our average passed 22-mph by a tenth as we closed in on the last climb.
I, having spent way too much time up front early on while the group was sorting itself out, was completely spent. As we rounded the corner to start the climb, I flicked off the front and didn’t bother latching on at the back. I was popped and I just didn’t have a desire to try to keep up. I didn’t care about the average or the record. I eased my way up in the granny gear and lumbered down the back toward the City Limits sign and the end of our most excellent ride.
Even chilling up the last hill I beat last week’s average by six or seven tenths of a mile-an-hour.
It was all laughs back in the parking lot as we loaded our toys and headed home. Another record breaking Thursday night… and I can feel it today! I’ll be looking forward to a slow evening ride a little later. I have no doubt, with excellent weather for the weekend, we’ll put together a fun, long ride for Saturday.
After having leftover pizza for dinner, I’m pretty sure I fell asleep with a smile on my face. I surely woke up smiling.