Saturday’s ride was fun and the weather was beautiful, if a bit on the windy side. Mike, Diane and I did a 57-miler at a moderate, enjoyable pace. Bowling season started Friday night, so I was exceedingly tired and my plant/slide leg was a cramp waiting to happen as I hadn’t thrown a bowling ball in a year-and-a-half. It was great to be back, though.
For Sunday’s ride, with the Trek fixed and my wife still battling allergies (and likely heading home early), I prepped the Trek for duty. We had a decent turnout, too. Matt, Mike, Diane & Jeff on Diane’s tandem, Chucker, Jay, my wife and I… and we picked up Phill & Greg on the road. The weather report for the previous four days had Sunday as a washout – even Saturday afternoon when I posted the ride, I had to add the caveat “weather permitting”. Well, as ride time approached, the forecast improved considerably with rain holding off till well into the afternoon/evening. It was going to be cloudy, but with barely a breeze and perfect temps for cycling [upper 60s to mid 70s, or 20 to 23 C]). I rode over to Mikes to pick him up but later found he’d gone the long way to avoid traffic… I picked up four extra miles.
We rolled out easy at first, Mike and I up front and kicking the tires on cycling topics of the day. After a mile or so, we started picking up the pace and the tandem took over once we rolled over the two-mile mark. We picked up Phill on the road a short time later, pushing a decent pace (around 21-mph). Then we caught Greg and Jeff & Diane engaged chase mode. We went from 19 to 21-mph to 21 to 23-mph (33 to 37 km/h) and every time we started making headway, Greg would pull away. Before I knew it we were up to 25-27-mph and still not gaining on him. My wife was first off the back, then Mike and Phill… I drifted back to pull everyone back together as the tandem and Matt caught Greg.
He’d been messing with us (we had a huge laugh about this later on – I had a feeling as it was unfolding).
From there, it was a normal “follow the tandem” ride. On the gas on the flats and downhill parts, rest up the hills. We talked and laughed… it was like a lunch get-together among friends, but on bikes, burning calories instead of consuming them. Pressed to choose a word, “fantastic” would do.
It’s days like this that make me realize just how fortunate we are to be able to simply pedal off and find quiet roads to cruise whenever we want. While we have our fair share of jerks, they’re really few and far between.
My wife, not feeling up to bigger miles, turned for home at an opportune time while the rest of us pressed on, heading west. We had a lot of laughs along the way – and that’s exactly as it should be on a Sunday Funday.
As we headed for home, the sky started darkening and it looked for a minute like we might get caught out.
Nothing materialized, though. It turned out to be a pleasant day all around. I went for the Durand sign, breaking the speed limit by a considerable amount (7-mph over) as I crossed the line, just to see if I could lay full power down on the Trek. The bike (and drivetrain) took it just as it should. We took a two-mile detour to get around a 4-lane train track that’s taken more of us out than I can count on two hands and a foot. It comes in at an odd angle so, if you’re going to safely cross them, on a three-lane road you have to go all the way over to the left edge of the oncoming lane and cross all the way to the right side of the proper lane so you don’t catch a wheel in the space between the tracks and asphalt. Diane also wanted the miles – she figured she’d need the extra two to get 50. I’m almost always for more miles, so it sounded great to me.
Five miles from home we passed my wife on the side of the road, talking to Brad. I motioned everyone by me and told them I’d ride home with her. The homestretch is a fairly busy road – especially with three miles left to our house, so “safety in numbers”. I joined the conversation for a bit and then we rolled out for home at a liesurely but decent pace.
Of course, I pulled into the driveway with 49.9 miles and that simply wouldn’t do, so I had to head out and get my two-tenths to get me over 50.
All’s well that ends well.
Later, at our annual Volunteer Appreciation dinner, Matt, Mike, Greg and I all had a chuckle over Greg’s baiting of the tandem, but we also talked about what a fantastic ride it was. It wasn’t too fast, definitely wasn’t too slow… it was simply perfect.
A Goldilocks ride.