I lobbied for 10am Saturday morning but was overruled. Chuck had to work and Mike won’t leave that late unless he’s waiting out rain. Add to that, my wife wasn’t going to want to wait, so I caved and we braved the cold. It was well below freezing leading up to our departure, but with amazingly abundant sunshine, it warmed up well. Within the first hour, the chill in the air had warmed off and that “just on the edge of cold so I don’t sweat” feeling you should have when you’re riding in old weather, melted away.
It was a perfect morning of early, first day of spring base miles with a little bit of wind, a whole bunch of sunshine and good friends. The pace was pleasant the whole ride and it was decided we’d cut it a little short so we could get Chuck home as he needed to get work.
One funny little moment comes to mind. Mike had taken a turn into the wind that started up a long hill climbing out of Vernon. It’s the better part of a half-mile long (keep in mind, a quarter-mile hill is exceptional in these parts). He came off the front as soon as things started going up and that left me the entire hill, into the wind. I’d been in the big ring but decided I’d get into the little and spin my way up. It was a wise choice. The group blew up on the way to the top but we regrouped on the way back down… and I was glad I’d been at the front having to coast to wait for everyone to catch up. I was a little spent.
With a left turn a little more than a mile later, and the end of my turn up front, the headwind for the day was over with.
Now, I’d taken a few sprint signs early to be funny, but had settled in since. We were on our way into my second-favorite sprint town we ride through, though and I was trying to decide whether or not I’d go. Then it occurred to me we had a decent crossing tailwind. The speed limit going into town is 35 but it changes to 25 at the City Limits sign… and it’s slightly downhill. I was going no matter what – just in the hope I’d get pulled over for speeding as I crossed the line. As we crested the molehill, I went for it, quickly accelerating to 30-mph. Sadly, on the Trek and this early in the season, my sprinting legs are crap and I couldn’t sustain it. Also, I wasn’t lucky enough to have an officer in his cruiser sitting on the spot waiting for an unsuspecting speeder to get caught in his radar web. Still, there was a speedo sign that picked me up and 29-mph lit up while the sign flashed “Slow Down” as I crossed the City Limits sign. Good enough for government work, I suppose.
The remainder of the cruise home was fantastic and enjoyable but 34 miles wasn’t going to be enough. I’d been talking about taking Mike home the long way which would add twelve miles to the journey. My wife rode with us the first mile, then doubled back. Mike and I rode home, talking about your normal cycling stuff. Who looked strong, the overall ride in general, and his perspective of the ride. This early in the season, things are always a little dicey. None of us are in great shape yet, so we’re all looking for the perfect draft so we don’t blow up on our mile up front. Well, with people sometimes forgetting how we do this over the winter, getting the perfect draft isn’t always easy – sometimes it’s impossible. So nerves fray.
I’m in pretty good shape out of winter so I only had a couple of minor gripes early in the ride. Others struggled toward the end as they tired out.
Mike and I slow-rolled it all the way to his road, a quarter-mile from his house. I turned around and headed back (his road is dirt) as he crossed and took his toy home. With six miles to go, I was hungry. Check that, I was “I should have eaten something ten miles ago” hungry. I wanted to make it home without eating, though. Why? Got me, it just seemed like the thing to do. The first three miles were crossing tailwind, but the last three were all crossing headwind.
You know that part in Despicable Me, where Gru’s nemesis, Vector uses the shrink ray on the toilet, then taunts said toilet only to get sprayed in the face? He points at the toilet and says, “Curse you, tiny toilet!” That how I felt in the headwind. “Curse you, tiny headwind” was all I could think. I chuckled as I tried to keep my head and shoulders down. I was hungry enough to eat the ass-end out of a rhino. Well, maybe not quite that hungry, but close. The first mile heading west went well. I started bonking on the second and by the third, I was spinning at 15-mph with my tongue dangling.
I was “put a fork in me” done. My nap was spectacular. I wore a smile most of the day when I wasn’t sleeping, and performed a few bicycle maintenance items that needed tending to before dinner. My wife’s gravel bike was skipping in one gear when in the baby ring up front (rear derailleur adjustment), my wife’s road bike was a little slow going from the little to the big ring (front derailleur adjustment), and I cleaned up my eldest daughter’s old road bike so we can sell it this spring. It’s in immaculate shape… with COVID supply issues, we’ll never get a better return on it than this spring.
Today, we do it all over again – this time on the tandem. We’ve got a 35-miler planned, but I’ll have to see how I feel when I get back. It’s supposed to get up to 60 today (15 C), so I just may switch bikes and go out for bonus miles.