Miracles were performed, miracles happened.
The roads dried out enough to ride safely and although there was a contingency plan for an indoor spin session (blah) there was a group that appeared out of the mist to lock horns around the Birdseye.
Robert started things off with a call to Mark at 4:55 giving the latest road report and throwing out an attempt to hold the ride per usual. That was all I needed to make a few quick phone calls to the regulars who might be attending either the indoor session or game for the real deal. Contingency plans in place, plans made and executed, I rolled to Spring Meadow to see who else would show.
The participants consisted of Byron “the blow torch” DeFord, Robert “amazing grace” Ray, Jamal “the truth” Hahn, and Mark “I need a miracle” Brooke.
The roll out was a bit spirited with Jamal and Robert taking the hardest pulls. I was pretty intent just to hang in and see what everybody else was doing and what they had. Crossing the tracks and starting the first stage was a non-event and for a moment I thought Byron was going to pull his trip hammer and attack on the first hill and force everybody to step up the pace. Robert pulled on the flats past the Whistlestop for a while and then turned the reins over to Jamal. I took my obligatory pull and then Byron, Robert, etc. to the base of the long climb. Nothing of much consequence happened with everybody just riding together like it was an up-tempo training ride. I recall Robert moving over after a pull and then I decided that it was now or never so I kicked it up a couple of notches to see who would respond. I found out afterwards that Robert’s go, got up and went sometime during his ride yesterday and apparently still hasn’t come home so he yelled to Jamal to go get me. Wait, isn’t Jamal on MT Velo?? but I am sure he would have gone anyway. So I kept it going for a while and once it was clear Jamal and I were just duking it out for 1st and 2nd I pulled over to let Jamal take his turn. About that point a blue healer dog was on the road and wanted to race in front of us. Unfortunately he was not observing the yellow line rule so Jamal wisely backed it off a bit to keep the dog from getting creamed by oncoming traffic. Finally the dog turned off the road and the race was on for the last 200m. I was in front again at that point and poured on the coals to try and get there as quick as I could and the finish was Mark, Jamal and Robert.
On the second leg, no real fireworks and Robert was off the back early so Byron, Jamal and I rolled through Silver Creek and I pushed up the hill, Jamal took the lead with Byron chasing. Jamal steadily picked up the pace and Byron let me slide by but I had no gas in the tank to overtake Jamal so he took the section by several bike lengths. Byron was third.
Third leg: we were all hoping Byron would pace us to the base of the last hill but as it ended up we all took some short pulls. I took a longer pull calculated give me enough recovery before the last hill and hopefully force Jamal and Byron to take the last pulls and hopefully I could get a lead out from one or the other. That was my plan anyway. As it turned out Jamal took a calculated short pull which sent Byron to the front. Whether Bryon just thought we were being real nice guys by giving him the lead as we rolled towards the base of the last climb is unknown but I don’t think that position was part of his plan either. Jamal, being the very polite rider that he is let me slip in behind Byron so the order as we rolled along at 30 mph to the base was Byron, Mark and Jamal. Just so you know the score, Jamal and I ware 1 and 1 so this stage was the for it all. What to do, what to do, have to make a decision quick.
I decided to dump my gears, get in my 53-12 and ride as hard as I could and see what would happen. Jamal was just waiting for something and I knew that I’d have a better chance if I went sooner as opposed to later so we both got on the elevator together and I just keep turning it over until I either saw stars, pavement, or a wheel coming around me. Fortunately neither of those things happened and I pulled out the win, followed by Jamal and Byron.
As a footnote While we didn’t get rained on we did ride through floodwaters on Country Club Lane in front of Archie Bray and again on Green Meadow near Franklin Mine road. Hopefully the weather will return to normal soon.
Keep on riding,