A Look into the Future of the First Ride of the Year -
There was an amazing turnout this Tuesday for the planned New Albany ride. The weather has finally decided to give us a break and brought us wind-free moderate temps and dry roads for a change. Most of the regulars have turned up; Craig (the Boss), Mich T. Larry P, Joe G. Steve O., Pastor Mark, Recumbent Dude, Mitch the engineer, Mark V, Flying Tuna and most of the Kendaites all finally dusted off their cycling steeds, greased their chains and cycled the air pumps for the first ride of the season in suprize 62 degree, tropics-like weather.
As the official ride leader, Jeff called the parking lot to order and gave the instructions to the 50+ participants. Following a few questions about things like; “What direction do I turn these foot-thingies?” and “What are these things on the front of the handlebars for again?” the A’s were ordered out of the parking lot. Needless to say, there was no mass-exodus despite the huge turnout. Exactly zero people moved toward the exit, despite the Polish Pony twitching and doing breathing exercises toward the back of the group in the general direction of the exit.
It wasn’t until the C riders were called, that there was movement to leave, followed by the C-, C--, Super-Ds, D+s, Ds and stragglers. All looked wobbly, having not ridden for what seemed like decades. Several riders appeared to be wearing diapers and further investigation revealed that they had actually stuffed down-filled bed pillows down the back of their cycling shorts, having had a vague recollection that when you don’t cycle much for a while, upright bikes truly are torture devices created sometime in the 12th century by the Spanish Inquisition. The only one not grimacing in pain appeared to be Recumbent Dude, who appeared in his usual fit spring form, ready for early season triathlons down south. If last year is any indicator, he should be peaking for the year just about any day now only to fade from over-training till about late November when he will be ready to go again.
Flying Tuna assumed the ceremonial leadership position, leading the groups out. We took the normal route out Old 161. It didn’t take long for the break, suddenly Mitch surged setting off a chain reaction. Most of the lead group decided to work together to hang on but at the top of 161, most were gasping for breath having been on the rivet since leaving the parking lot. We hit the first stop light along 161 with a solid 15.5 average, 3.1 miles on the odometer, and the discussions about cutoff began. Mitch, having laid the beat-down, smoothly and quietly dropped to the back with a devilish grin, mumbling about having to lead the whole ride.
Making the first left followed by a left and then a right we were back on 161, headed back toward town (having to decided to cut off). The pace quickened with the downhill and several short breakaways were attempted. Before long the group was winded and mostly coasting. Fortunately Todd Lee drove by, honking his horn offering to moto-pace us back to the parking lot. This was universally accepted as a great idea, and in her enthusiasm, Cindy took the first spot in line, sat upright on her bike and euphorically exclaimed her patented phrase... “I’m a FLYING TUNA!!! “
This show of excitement energized the group, and while tightly hanging on to the moto-draft they quick-paced back to the parking lot to clock in a 17.3 average on 6.2 miles!!! Not bad for after a century of no sunlight and no riding eh!?