This very well could have been one of the better weekends of our marriage. The work we’ve been doing to be a better couple is really paying off but the work hasn’t stopped. We’re starting to concentrate our effort. On our Co-Motion tandem, we’re gelling as we get comfortable with our roles. While our mileage over the weekend wasn’t all that impressive (at 35, 22, & 50 for the Friday, Saturday, Sunday), ride quality was through the roof.
I prepped the bike and got dressed to roll out from 5:30 to 6:50. We were driving to the start at 6:55 with a near perfect weather report. Sunny, mild breeze, and temps that called for thin arm-warmers, but only bibs and a jersey otherwise. My wife and I went though our pre-ride routine, talking and laughing about the kids, family affairs, and a lot about how fortunate we are to be us… and just like that, were ready to go.
The trip to Milford isn’t perfect. The traffic is on the heavy side and it’s no place for a nervous person. On the other side of that, the ride is absolutely freaking beautiful – especially when we get into Kensington Metropark – and this was to be our first attempt at it on the tandem. There’s some up to this ride. There’s also some down. One hill in particular had me especially nervous. An 8% straight drop on smooth asphalt. I can hit 45-mph on the Venge, but I was nervous about how the tandem would handle speed like that.
It was a long and beautiful trip to get there and I didn’t waste any miles worrying… I’d explained the cure for speed wobbles to my wife the night before and even went as far as practicing clamping my knees to the top tube a few times when we were coasting down hills to keep from overtaking the lead riders in the pace-line. Then we hit the longest coast in the history of Southern Michigan coasting. It seemed to go on for minutes. So long, my wife and I were actually laughing about it over the wind howling in our ears.
After that long coast, we hit another sharp downhill that had us, surprisingly, hit 40-mph on the way down… and the Co-Motion was rock solid. Better than my Specialized Venge on the downhill. As we peaked over 40, I knew we could handle anything the next hill had to offer without worry.
Soon after, we were at the place where the road fell off the horizon and we could take stock of just how high we were… and how far we were about to drop. Chuck shot off the front, and Jess laughed saying something like, “we’ll be passing you in a minute”. You can’t fight gravity. I upshifted to the last gear and we hit it. Hard. We passed 45-mph with a quarter of the hill left and I stopped looking. We’d reached escape velocity and all we could do was coast and hold on. The tandem was, again, rock solid. The best descending bike I’ve ever ridden. Strava would later say our top speed was 47.7-mph, faster than I’d ever been on that hill.
We coasted for the better part of a mile waiting for the others to catch up, chatting the whole time.
Sadly, what goes down, must go up; and there was a lot of that to come in Kensington park. We took the hills at our pace and didn’t worry about how far off we fell. We knew we could catch up on the flats and downhill sections. My wife and I worked together like we’d been doing this for decades, and it was awesome.
After Kensington, we went through Milford and stopped at a coffee spot that’s a favorite of Chuck’s. I got a donut and a Mango Tango to split with Jess. It was delicious.
And with that, it was all tailwind all the way home. The ride was spectacular and quite fast. We picked our average up from 17.5 to 18.6 as we took it to the barn. It ended up being the perfect Sunday morning ride.
And the day only got better…