Monday, February 9, 2009

Leading the pack

It feels pretty good sometimes to be one of the fastest in the group. I sure can't do it running but the bike is a different story. I know I'm not the fastest but I can hang with the top 5 anyway.

Sunday I met the Cruiser group for the normal 1:30pm ride. Had a pretty good turnout for a change. Rick W, David S, Duane ?, Tammie, Don, Lisa F. and 10,000 miles a year Charlie. We decided to do what we call the Bethlehem Loop, ride out 321 to Bethlehem Road, loop back and connect to Mt Tabor for the ride in. I really just wanted an easy's what we always say. Well, Charlie took the lead with Rick and myself following. In about a mile we were separated from the other group pretty good. We were not even riding hard yet, which I was perfectly happy with at the time. Nice to get a warm up in before you try to kill yourself. We were still averaging at least 16 but 321 has lots of up and downhills.

By the time we got to Lemay, Duane had caught up to us from the other group. He had to have been riding hard to catch us. That's about when I decided it was time to stretch these boys out a little so I took off. Duane and Rick tried to hang on for a little ways but I guess once I got down in the aero bars it was all over. By the time we were past 321 spur, I had a pretty good lead. Another mile and I couldn't even see the others. I looked at my speedometer and I would be riding 21-22mph at all times except for the hills. There was wind too and it wasn't a tail wind at all. The wind was coming from the south, southeast and we were heading east. I was kind of liking this. Out at the front, all alone. Sure can't do that running.

Stopped at the water department on 31 to wait on the others. Rick, Charlie and Duane pulled in a couple minutes after I did. Charlie made the comment that he was going to start calling me Yeah right. Wish I was that fast. Took a while for the other group to ride in but we waited. I didn't want to wait too long though because my legs would start getting cold. Before long we were off and riding again. East on Bethlehem, I tried to ride slower. I really did. But before long I had left the others again and was out there alone. I actually slowed down from my earlier pace but still had a big gap between me and the others. I knew someone in the pack would be trying to hunt me down though. After I made the right turn of the loop on something Cemetery Road, I could see Rick gaining on me. No big deal, I was getting tired of leading all alone. I slowed and just kept an easy pace and before long Rick was there. So we started drafting back and forth and kept a nice pace going. He may have tried to drop me but it wasn't going to happen. I stayed right there anytime he would make a charge. We stopped at Hwy 31 to wait on the others but they were no where in sight. After a couple minutes we decided to take off. Going south on 31 was a straight on head wind and it was blowing. It was all I could do to go 16mph, though we were going up a slight incline. I tried to draft behind Rick but it really didn't help much. The wind was brutal. When we turned on Mt Tabor it was like relief. Smooth road, little traffic and wind to our back a little. Well, maybe not. The wind just seemed to be coming every direction or at least it felt that way. We continued to push on Mt Tabor and would sometimes alternate leading. I was happy drafting. I could lead but its just more work. When we started getting close to Dogwood we could see some other riders ahead of us. Rick said they must have took a shortcut. So I told him we can't let them beat us in so we picked it up and blew past them. We kept a nice pace all the way back in, 16-22 most of the time but you have to keep in mind these routes are not flat and have rolling hills and lots of inclines. We were back at the church, and had our gear loaded by the time the next group got in. It was Tammie, Don and Lisa. We asked where the others were and they said they thought they were with us. We talked for a few and we were fixing to pull out of the parking lot when Charlie pulled in. He made the comment that "dang you boys are too fast for me". Never did see David or Duane roll in but I knew they were riding slower and this was Davids second ride of the year. It was nice to be at the front for a while. I think Rick and I both ended up with a 17.5 mph average pace for just over 28 miles. Rick made the comment that this was his fastest ride of the year and thanked me for pushing him. I was pretty happy with that considering the wind and hills. I'd love to see what I could do on some flat terrain with little wind, but then again, flat terrain is boring. It is nice to be at the front of the group in one sport anyway.

Happy biking!


ShirleyPerly said...

Nice job, Lance!

It's pretty flat here where I am in Orlando but rarely is it not windy. I'm debating whether I should get aero bars for my road bike. Part of me does not, so I can build the upper body strength to stay on the hoods and be able to ride with a group more.

gabsatrucker said...

Wow!!!!!! Amazing average. The trainer work really does pay off. I've really got to get my butt out on the road more (or buy a trainer).


Brenda's NEEDS to RUN said...


You are a MACHINE on that bike - I just don't see how you do it. I am a lollygagger on the bike :)


Susan said...

You're just awesome!