This week’s Tuesday Night In Lennon was one of those strange rides that never should have been as excellent as it was…
A cold front had blown through just an hour before the warm-up was to start. We had rain, wind and gnarly skies galore, but the radar was promising after 5pm. I pulled the Trek out of the trunk (no chance I was bringing the Venge, we’d have gotten wet for sure). It was just Dave, Chucker and I for the warm-up and we started out mercifully slow in the sunshine and on wet roads, with steam rising off the wet asphalt. I was feeling the previous day’s tennis beatdown all over but after the first mile we started picking up the pace to a point we were maintaining 20-ish-mph and the tennis pain washed away. We also added on an extra couple of miles because we had some time to spare and the roads had begun to dry out to a point we were more on dry than wet roads.
We reached the parking lot to wait for the ride proper to start and the skies were looking ugly again. Looking at the clouds, they were dark and foreboding but they weren’t rain clouds. Some were wondering whether we were going to get wet, but I was fairly confident we’d be okay. Even so, I never mentioned the “r” word (though someone else did, so it’s a freaking miracle we didn’t get rained on). We let the A riders go first and rolled out with nine in a double pace-line. The first five miles were fast and enjoyable but we had some work to do once we turned south. Even with a mild headwind we held a decent pace. We had three new (to the B Group) riders and they held on admirably – one taking every one of his turns up front. We had a 22-mph average at one point but that got eaten up in the headwind.
I can’t remember exactly when, but Chucker called for a single-file pace-line and it dawned on me we should have been doing that from the start – our average would have been a lot faster because only six of us were actually doing any pulling. The single-file line was fast and we were getting a good rest before pulling again so the pace picked up considerably.
I did the lead-out for the first City Limits sign, but took the finish in a nice little sprint. The whole entire ride was enjoyable. I had to work several times, but it wasn’t so bad I couldn’t enjoy the effort. With only Scott left of the new riders (to our group – the three have been riding with the club for years, and Scott was a regular B years prior) on the main bunch, we pulled across the line with a 21.5-mph average (35-kmh).
I had fun the whole way. Almost as if I’d gotten away with something because as cold, wet and crappy as it was just before the warm-up, that ride was a blast. It was all hi-fives and fist bumps after the ride. It’ll never cease to amaze me how fortunate we are to have our group. I’d ride alone if I had to, but it wouldn’t be near as fun.