Tuesday Night In Lennon is a funny thing. You never know quite what you’re going to get but you do know you’ll need the good bike and your good legs. I had about 90% of my good legs last night (I thought, incorrectly, I only had about 80% when I got to the meeting spot). I’d been feeling a little “blah” the whole day and made a decision late in the afternoon that I’d give Lennon a go and if I got dropped, well so be it. I prepped the Venge, loaded up the Equinox and rolled out – not exactly knowing what to expect from the night and me.
The warm-up wasn’t terribly fast until we were about three miles in, heading north. The guy up front, Craig, has some internal “get there-itis” thing going on that I can’t wrap my head around. If ever there was a time to relax and spin the pedals, a seven mile warm-up before a 30-mile romp north of 25-mph would be perfect. But no. Not for Craig. He’s gotta get there so he tends to treat his warm-up like he’s late for something. After a mile above 20-mph, a quarter of that uphill and picking up speed, I eased off and slid off the back to spin a little easier with Brad on the way back to the parking lot. The important point was, I wasn’t unable to keep up due to not feeling great. It was more of an unwillingness during the warm-up.
The main event was looking a little tricky. We had a few new people and a few who weren’t going to keep up if the pace was pushed. If we were going to roll out with the A’s, it was going to be ugly, with B’s strewn all over the course. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and we rolled out a minute after the A’s left. I was in no shape to try to hang with the A’s.
We rolled out in a fairly tight group and it was kept marvelous. With partly to mainly cloudy skies, a light and variable breeze, and temps in the upper 70’s (24 C), you couldn’t have asked for a more perfect spring evening. The group, for the most part, performed well above expectations and, with all of the headwind at the first half of the ride, we held a decent 20.3-mph average until the tailwind after the first set of hills. The next several hills were fast but nothing too fast to put people in a hurt locker. Our pace crept up to 22, then 23-mph with a 24 & 25 mixed in now and again.
Put simply, the ride was thoroughly enjoyable.
I started running out of gas with about five to go, just before the home stretch. I’d been up front, first three bikes, for way too long and after a decent uphill pull, I flicked off and headed back for a rest. Just as I was about to tuck in at the back of the group, a new guy in front of me flicked off in front of me and stopped pedaling, opening up an instant gap. I was screwed. As I tore around him, trying to marshal enough to get on the back of the group, I told him to never do that again. I dodged right to get in the far right lane of the double pace-line and catch some draft while I worked my way back into the group.
The home stretch was fast and mainly downhill, so that 20.3-mph average worked up to 21 even (34 km/h) before it came time for the sprint. I was holding on but gave the sprint a go anyway, taking the pace from 25-mph to 32-1/2 (52 km/h). And I burned my last match going over the line at 31.4.
I didn’t eat much last night, just enough to get some food into the gullet, but I slept like a baby. I sweated a lot out again last night, so I’m hoping this funk is almost done. I know how I feel is directly tied to my effort on the bike. The harder I go, the more it takes out of me and the flu symptoms return… but I just can’t help but go fast.