Rally (Hell) Ride 6-30-2009
6:55 p.m. Spring Meadow Lake: Tom from Boston is looking for a pump. Lucky for him, the newbieteam rider drove his vehicle to the park and happens to have one. Pumped up and ready to go, 11 riders are greeted by Greg and Meagan on their commuter bikes who taunt the group, saying something about not wanting to kick our butts, and head off for some lazy time on the beach. Robert lays down the rules and the plan and off we go. Karl from MT Velo flats on the rotational pace line out about a mile; Robert hangs back and the group slows. We regroup at the main-line tracks for a short respite for the repair. Laura, the only women in the bunch, tries to keep it light, but some of the boys already have on their game faces. I’m just happy to be there, but soon realize my initiation includes the Hell Ride write-up. Now weighted down with that worry and responsibility. I think sh*t I barely know a couple riders and am just hoping to hang on through the climbs to the fire station let alone keep track of who is in front. And the ever-present eastern Montana training companion, W-I-N-D, is steady 8-10 mph out of the west.
On the first race leg, it doesn’t take long before Robert and Karl are gone, and coach Byron scratches his head wondering if anybody is going to give chase. Nobody really does. The pack’s pace picks up while riders jockey to position for their own attacks. I can’t even see Karl and Robert any more. Somewhere near cardiac arrest, Laura pulls up along side of me offering some encouragement. I crest the final hill in the back third of the group. With my heart pounding loudly in my ears, I not sure if I hear the results right, but I think Karl took the stage, Robert a close second; Tom, Mark Brooke, and Bill Schneider all climbed strong and finished in the first group.
The next stage was more mellow, generally the pack stayed together, and ended with COW-a-Bunga of the big black sort right in the middle of the last hill before the final sprint. Distracted the group scattered in the wind with, guess who?–Karl taking that stage again.
And finally on the Lincoln Road stage with a strong TW all you could hear was the whir of chains and gears and the hum of thin tires on pavement as the paceline rolled over the hills homeward at 35+ mph. With my eyes watering so badly from the speed I was more worried about not clipping the wheel in front of me than paying attention to who was leading–no malicious intent just bad velo sport reporting.
I want to thank all the more experience riders for the cautious support given while riding in tight quarters with a newbie. The really cool thing about the ride is that you get to be in fast company that gives out plenty of tips and encouragement, nearly in equal doses with the ego-crushing smack. It was so much fun I’m sore today.
PS: feel free to edit or add info as necessary.
Newby Team Rider