The sun beat down like a wonderful, warm… erm… dude, it was the sun. And it was out and shining. Finally! Just as you were about to be lulled into a lovely sun-induced coma… the wind would reach out and smack you right in the kisser. That said, the warm-up was still fantastic. Phenomenal. Glorious.
That’s right, ladies and gents. The go-fast bike won the internal debate of which bike going away. When you need the big guns, ya best bring ‘em. Thankfully, we’d shown up before Craig so the warm-up was smooth, calm and collected, and I think, at around 18-1/2-mph. Jonathan, Chuck and I had a wonderful time of it (kinda like a warm-up should be).
The wind was horrible but with the warmth, there wasn’t a complaint among us. We picked up Winston along the way who was on the bike outdoors for the first time this year and had a few laughs before taking it to the parking lot and lining up for the main event. The parking lot was bustling with activity as we rolled in. We had a big group… and with nary a knee-warmer in sight, it was going to be a fast ride.
We started out at the stroke of six, the pack forming and tightening quicker than usual. Once we were together, the hammer was dropped and the pace ramped up like someone was chasing us. I was game, but I don’t think I was ready for it, either.
With a healthy tailwind, the pace picked up to a surprising (not really) 28-ish-mph. Within the first five miles we were already pushing a 24-mph average. In April. Even with the tailwind that was freakishly fast so early… but I didn’t struggle horribly, either – and I expected to. I did have to pull a strategic fallback once we hit the hills, but I held onto the group, and the draft in an oppressive headwind. By the time we hit the turnoff for Shiatown we were looking at a 23-mph average which was quite impressive considering the headwind we were into for the last several miles.
An important note at this point; even in shorts and short-sleeves, the temperature was just this side of perfect. Not too hot, not cool at all and I’d been getting along well.
The two tandems, Jonathan, the Chucks and I made the turn. We took a drink and caught our breath for the push home. Dave got us rolling and it was on again. The trip home, with a lot of headwind and a few miles of crossing tailwind, was hard but enjoyable until you got up front to lead the group into the headwind. It was absolutely crushing – at least 15-mph on the beak, so turns were short and in the neighborhood of 18-21-mph. I was half looking over my shoulder, wondering if the A group would catch us. The plan was to jump on their train as the cruised by… but they never caught us. We pulled across the line with a 21-1/2-mph average and I was cooked. In a good way, of course. What a night!
I got a quick bite to eat on the way home. I finished famished and I knew if I didn’t eat soon, things were going to get ugly. Once properly fed, I got cleaned up and talked with my wife for a bit before we turned in for the night.
I went to sleep and woke up with a smile on my face. Thank God for spouses, love, and go-fast bikes. And thank Him a little more for a ray of sunshine after an agonizingly long winter.