One Crazy TNIL: Wind, Speed Wobbles, Flats and a Bunch of Friends to Share It With Who Made It Well Worth It.
Last night’s warm-up seven miles (stretched to almost nine for fun) was a foreshadowing of the night ahead. 18-1/2 mph into a grim headwind, 28-1/2 mph all the way home. The trip out, as one would expect, had a little suckin’ to it. The trip back was glorious – and even included an attempt at getting pulled over for speeding, sadly to no avail. I had the speed, but the officer was unwilling. I shall keep trying.
We were hanging out at the old start-point for the route, just kicking it after the warm-up, and I decided to head back to the actual start for no good reason. Mrs. Bgddy showed up to ride, so I said my hellos, then waited for the start. The A gang was hoping for a group start, but we B Groupers wisely waved them on. We knew what was coming and didn’t want any part of the pain they were about to impart on each other. We gave them a 30-second head start and rolled out into the headwind.
Four miles in I heard my wife in the background shout, “I’ve got a problem!” I looked back, got out of the group safely, then turned around to help her out. A couple of friends said her bike started shaking rather violently as she rode one-handed in the wind. After a quick check of the bike, speed wobbles was the diagnosis. She was pretty shook up so she shooed us on and said she’d meet up with us later. The group, having waited, rolled out together. Another mile north, then headwind again for another mile… and Dave flatted. Seven minutes to fix that, the group waited again (because that’s just how we roll). Then the real work started.
Shipman Road. It’s a road, for God’s sake, but it enjoys legendary status on Tuesday nights. Shipman Road is where a group goes to suffer… especially with a standard southwest wind – you’re dead into the teeth of it for six and a half miles. Technically, we’re on Shipman itself for five – and that’s where Dave flatted again – this time opting to call his wife for a lift home, then we had another mile and a half heading south… still, it’s 6.5 miles of headwind, and it sucks. However, after that 6-1/2 and another two uphill and into the wind, we finally turned tail and got some help from the wind.
My wife had caught us and turned about a half-mile, maybe a little more, in front of us so we played hell trying to track her down. I don’t know what she ate before the ride last night, but I need to find it! That Chica was super-charged – no more speed wobbles for her! We finally caught her on the last hill before heading into Shiatown. We regrouped quickly, then rolled out as we had the whole gang together.
Once climbing the final hill at 20-mph with a little help, Jonathan put the hammer down the back of the hill. We were approaching 31-mph, just a blazin’ down the road. I hadn’t even noticed that we dropped everybody. Jonathan, surprisingly, stayed up front till just before the Vernon sign with Chuck on my six. I kicked it up and went around Jonathan to nab the first sprint with a smile on my face.
Next up, after rolling through town, we had two miles of north with a cross-tailwind before the homestretch with almost a full tailwind. The whole mess of the evening came down to those last four miles of glorious helping tailwind. And the pace was lively. Once we accelerated through the final corner, the pace ramped up to 24 to 28-mph (38 to 45 km/h) and we kept the pressure on, rotating our double pace-line regularly. Most of us did our fair share of the pulling and I’m having a hard time remembering a more enjoyable homestretch. The pace was just crazy. Coming up to the final sprint, I thought I was in a weak position (three bikes back in the right, boxed in, lane) but the first two flicked off the front, then another. We were up to 27-mph and charging for home. I kicked the speed up, passing 31-mph and took the final sprint with Jonathan and Chuck right on my tail…
And then the triumphant mile and some change back to the parking lot. I was cooked. Put a fork in me. But, finally, after all of the vaccine mess I went through, I felt good. It was a mess getting to the end but it sure beat polishing the couch’s leather with my butt.
UPDATE: By the way, that’s my Venge leaning against the back of my Equinox… it’s got more than 230,000 miles on it with only a few repairs needed beyond normal maintenance. Freaking car is AMAZING.