The weather report was sketchy from days back but once we got to Friday evening, the prognosticators had lifted everything. It also seems they’ve actually learned how to predict Michigan’s weather somewhat accurately… I once joked that when we saw a 14% chance of rain – miniscule, really – we had a hundred percent chance of getting 14% wet. Well, there was some hit and miss to it, but it was quite clear to this weather prognosticator’s critic that if we were going to get rained on, it was going to be light and last a matter of seconds – not a 15-minute deluge we’d have to ride through… but the clouds started breaking up immediately. Better, even better than the fact that the wind was a mild 2-mph out of who cares where, it was cool – a mild 59° (that’s 15 C in Moose Latin)… it had rained the night before but the roads had completely dried overnight. Conditions were perfect for cycling.
We rolled out, just a small group; Brad, Mike, Chucker, my wife and me with Chuck asking where everybody was. We picked up Dale and Phill along the way and before you knew it we had a decent group. The pace was easy at first, around 18-mph, as everyone got their legs loosened up, but after Mike’s two-mile pull, I took three and started ticking the pace up to 19 to 21-mph (29 to 34-kmh). Around the 18-mile mark my wife cut off and took her toy home – our eldest daughter graduates this weekend (I can believe it and I’m over the moon about it) and she wanted to get the yard straightened up for the arrival of family between this weekend and the open-house. You know me, I wanted the miles – I’ll figure out how to squeeze in the yardwork in the time left!
Brad and Phil were struggling a little with the pace so we let them hide at the back and the four of us remaining (Mike, Chucker, Dale and I) took turns rotating at the front and kept the pace a steady 20 to 22-mph. We were a mileage machine, the four of us and Brad and Phill hung in tough. Before we knew it we were looking at a 19-1/2-mph average (30-kmh).
Conditions took a turn about 25-miles in and it got quite gray and foggy, but the wind remained a gentle breeze and we just rolled through it. Phill took his toy and went home at 33-miles. Then, in an unbelievably unlikely event, two friends we ride with on DALMAC and Horsey flew by only 50 feet in front of us as we were braking for the intersection. I recognized them immediately and shouted out, “MIKE! DAVE!”… they laid on the brakes and turned around and we pulled up to them. Dave exclaimed, “What are the odds! They’ve gotta be close to 2 billion to one!”. He was right. The likelihood we’d cross at the same intersection, let alone in the five second window we’d be close enough to holler at them without planning the routes out… it’s staggering. And fortunate. It just so happened we were heading their way so we rolled out together, heading for the next town were I took a photo of our rabble when we stopped to water up:
When good and ready, we took off… to find a porta-john because the losers in the gas station lied and said their restroom was out of order (that’d be a violation of so many codes, we won’t get into it). We found one at the local high school by the football field and a few of us took care of business and we all rolled out again.
With that faffing about out of the way and five tenths off our average for it, we headed for the next intersection that would take us to our Tuesday night route and the home stretch… and see us part ways with our two friends and they split for home heading the opposite direction.
Brad was ragged but hanging in like and champ as we pounded out the miles. I was in all of my glory, having so much fun, our government would probably make it illegal if the bureaucrats had half a clue – “in these trying and difficult times – we’re all in this together™”, after all.
Anyway, we were at the turn at 49.5 miles on the odometer and I guessed we had about 20 to go to get home. We said our goodbyes with hi-fives and we were on our way. Dale, Chuck, Mike and I took turns rotating at the front and kept the pace right were it needed to be to creep that average up. The miles ticked by and our average increased to a point we got back everything we’d lost looking for a restroom. I was starting to get tired and thought about the last ten miles ahead of us and how much I was hurting… and I popped a gel immediately. I always try to gut that part out and I suffer for it. No more. The gel brought me back and I went from tongue dangling to ready to take it to the barn in two miles.
And that’s what we did, dropping Brad at his house and Dale at his intersection to head home. It was just Mike, Chuck and I for the last three to my house. Then I split off while Chuck and Mike headed for their homes two miles away.
I pulled into the driveway with 70.4 miles at a 19.6 average (I was Strava’d a tenth) for what was, without question, one of our most enjoyable rides of the year… and we’re going to do it again today – with better temps and no clouds!
I’ve written enough. Now it’s time to roll. Ride hard my friends.