That’s right, folks. It’s that time of year again! We’re into August and with the 1st falling on a Sunday, that means we’re only two weeks out from the Assenmacher 100 (more on that later). Every year, for those who can’t ride on the day of the ride, for volunteers and people who will be out of town, and to check that the roads are properly marked and we didn’t have any new construction projects pop up that have to be routed around, we take to the streets to ride the 100k and 100-mile routes.
The weather was very nice for a long day in the saddle. We’d had rain the night before but everything was dry and the temperature cool for the start – almost arm-warmer weather. Mike met me at my house and we rolled to pick up Chucker and head to the start for some bonus miles. The pace was relaxed and we talked the whole way. About a mile left and a big cargo van passed us, Jarred was in the passenger seat of Craig’s van… and Jesse was going to meet us there… and we were picking up Todd and Greg on the road. That meant at least five A Elite riders – and a sixth pulled into the lot just before we were about to leave. The Elite guys are a funny bunch. They play nice with we normal A riders, right up until someone attacks or half-wheels one of them. From that point on, you almost just have to let them go because the group ride becomes a competition to drop everyone else, instantly.
That didn’t happen yesterday, though.
We rolled out of the parking lot at a decent pace and it slowly ratcheted up until we had a gap between the upper-tier riders and we normal folk. They dialed it back, though, and I helped to bring the two groups back together. After that, we established a bit of a max pace and the ride smoothed out.
The roads are in fantastic shape this year and even though the pace was a little hot into the headwind, the ride was social and fun. We had to battle quite a bit of headwind, especially of the crossing variety with wind’s steady at 8 to 10-mph. The Elite guys would take miles at a time up front while we normal folk stuck to a mile or less so we didn’t burn ourselves out.
With the slow roll over, we’d worked our average all the way up to 19.5 by the time we were getting to the home stretch. Two of the Elite guys dropped to head home and the other four took off with one of ours because they were getting a little long as well. That left six of us to fend for ourselves for the last, say twelve miles.
With the exception of the Lennon City Limits sign, we kept the pace steady and moderate. We didn’t add to that 19.5 but we didn’t lose any, either. Without the slow roll, my wife’s Garmin showed a 19.9 average. Not bad for a Sunday ride.
I always wonder how much fun the Elite guys have riding with us but the texts and comments on Strava put any worries to rest. Chuck, Mike and I rolled home… easy, but not too easy. I pulled into the driveway with 76 miles and change. I wanted three things: A shower, lunch, and a nap. In that order. And that’s exactly what I got.