In spite of late business meetings, wedding plans, a potential foul weather forecast, notwithstanding sore and lethargic muscles from weekend events, Hell Ride officially kicked off with 6 riders showing up at Spring Meadow Lake yesterday evening. Accolades to Rebecca for showing up to ride with the team Masters group, Robert “Rabbit” Ray, Byron “Coach” Deford, Mark “Hammerhead” Brooke, Randall “Wheel-sucker” Green, and Dave “Momentum” Hamer (Team Big Sky). Where was the Velo group? Velo not showing was for the best as far as I’m concerned; small fields make for better chances at podium spots… And as Bill Schneider once told me, “I’m always fast when I ride alone, because nobody can drop me.” Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on the perspective, Rebecca rode an individual race, heading out a bit early because the old guys were pumped.
The Team Train rolled out on schedule and into a brisk north wind, catching Rebecca on the pace-line warm-up portion to the RR tracks. With the wind in our faces and on our right shoulder, echelons formed with riders jockeying for the best draft positions that allowed for slim margins of safety with the local car traffic harassing us for not riding “single file!” The Rabbit Robert set the pace up the big hill with a couple attacks that separated the group but with Hammerhead Mark and Wheel-sucker Randall answering. However, the Rabbit schooled us with an all out attack at the top roll before the final sprint, but Hammerhead answered and finished stronger, winning the first zone (finish order: Mark, Robert, Randall, Dave, Byron).
Since Rebecca told us she intended to just do an out-and-back, we rolled down the hill northwest from the fire station, headed for the roller-coaster portion and to a foreshortened sprint finish due to road construction. Over hill and dale the pack stayed together, jostling for the best draft positions and lining up for the all-out, gut-buster final sprint. Momentum Dave attacked too early, being overtaken by Mark’s hammering assault and a race-smart move to position Wheel-sucker Randall into the wind to finish a couple lengths ahead (finish order: Mark, Randall, Dave, Robert, Dave). Dang, so close… Dave protested the finish on the grounds he didn’t know the exact placement of the line, however. The protest went unheeded by “biased” officials, whatever.
The final race leg of the ride was the usual blur of spinning pedals mixed with the whir of chains as the stiff wind pushed the train toward the final hill sprint. A steady, quick pace with no attacks until the last curve leading to the hill sprint. Momentum Dave lived up to his moniker, mashing pedals past everyone to take the hill by a good margin over Mark, with Robert, Randall, and Byron all digging deep but not offering any significant answer.
Trying to recover in a stiff cross wind on the downhill run to the Libation Station, we were glad to hit the downwind portion home. The energy shifted from that of fun competition to discussions of training tips, supplements, and surviving the economy so we can keep up the Tuesday night Hell Ride tradition. Get out and Ride! The Marysville Race is coming up soon.