The evening started out sketchy in the morning with a stiff breeze and a fair chance of rain but the outlook improved as the day wore on. A 15-20% chance of rain throughout the day was dropped to 4%. I was planning on taking the Trek when I walked out the door in the am, but once I saw 4% I switched immediately to the Venge.
I arrived a bit early, but I was the only one in the lot. Jonathan showed at 5 and was the only one to make the warm-up. We rolled out for the seven mile loop. Jonathan took the lead into the headwind and I rode him like a rented mule. I as we neared the 3-1/2 mile mark I pulled alongside him and commented that I didn’t know what sin he’d committed that required that level of penance, but I was grateful for whatever he’d done. I had only one mile of cross-headwind followed by a bunch of tailwind. We rolled into the parking lot to wait for the big ride with a 17-1/2 mph average for the warm-up… a perfect pace considering the wind.
We rolled out for the Tuesday Night In Lennon Main Event as one big group, As & Bs. This was for the best, of course, we only had five or six B riders and the wind was strong out of the northwest. A northwest wind is fairly ugly (I prefer southwest if I have my druthers) on the group. There isn’t much help till the home stretch five miles and it makes for interesting pace-line dynamics. The weather was cool and gray and I marveled at how an 80 degree day (27 C) can make 58 (14 C) feel cold a few days later, but it certainly does. We started out into the cross-headwind fairly easy until we turned north and caught a little downhill grade help (still cross-headwind). The pace ticked up from 21 to 24-mph and I was on the side of the pace-line that caught the wind. I chose that side purposely as I start out having to battle the wind, but once we turn southwest, the other side of the pace-line gets pummeled by the wind while I’m riding easy on the protected side.
I took all of my turns up front, though they were of the shorter variety, and was enjoying myself quite nicely. We were heading south at 27-mph and I was second bike on the left side with the Watt King next to me. He’s earned that nickname and, to be honest, I’d rather be lined up behind him that next to him. The temp had dropped precipitously but I was still comfortable and we took our turn to the end of the road before making a left. Then another turn south and I was second bike again… already. I took my turn up front but I managed to cook myself on the way up a hill. We were fifteen miles in and we still all of the hills left to go, and just like that I gave up and pulled off the back of the line, almost taking Doc Mike out in the process (in all fairness, I thought I was actually last, off the back, and way over in the oncoming lane). I just didn’t want to deal with the hills then have to fight the headwind back to where I already was. I’d heard a couple of the A guys talking about taking it easy until Shiatown then dropping the hammer and I didn’t want to be around for that. Apparently, neither did Jonathan. He was there soft pedaling right next to me, so we turned around and headed for home.
Jonathan took a lot of the headwind so I took a massive pull up front with a cross-tailwind and we took it to the barn, inching our average up from 21.8-mph to 22.2 by the time we crossed the City Limits – and Jonathan came around me at the last second to take the sign (I had nothing left to answer him, anyway).
And so it was. Our friend, Chuck had made it out for his first Tuesday back after having a stent put in and he was dropped fairly early as well. We ran into him in the parking lot before he left and exchanged fist-bumps and a warm “welcome back”.
So, to the title of this little ditty… Heading back with a cross-tailwind at about 24-mph and a smile stretched all the way across my fact, I had a clarifying moment about how fortunate I am to be me. My Venge is absolutely perfectly tuned. The wheels are phenomenal, there isn’t a creak or tick, and the operation of the bike is flawless. I’ve put a lot of effort (and a sh!+-ton of cash) into getting that bike to that point. I rely on that little sucker for my health and wellness, and for optimizing my state of mind – and also to burn off excess adrenaline from too much stress at work… that one little machine adds a lot of happiness to my life, and for that I am grateful.