With a football game nearby, the parking lot was filled, forcing cyclists to park elsewhere but still they came, including Steve O. Earlier I had tried to persuade him not to come by describing a boringingly flat route but this only motivated him to still come but bring the fat tired bike with toe clips and tennis shoes.
Paul Stock gave me two free water bottles for plugging the "Pedal with Pete" ride a couple of weeks ago on the blog. It don't get no better than that.
John G arrives sporting light blue shorts with a flower pattern while riding a single speed bike with fenders.
A rare appearance by Rich Lewis, center, Tym Tyler, on the right, taking a swig of a pre-ride energy drink.
More people came....
.....and still more so the group swelled to 65. Leaving the parking lot was a modest A group of maybe 18, including Gus, Marty, Tym & Lisa T, Dave C, John M, Pete, Steve O, Paul S, Katherine, Stephano, Doug M, Rich L and....
....Claude, who had to take care of business at the last minute, in full view of those of us not riveted to Jeff Fallen's pre-ride instructions that included trying to send us out at 5:55 instead of 6:00pm. We headed out 161 at a high pace, soon arriving at the light at 310 where we turned left and then right on Jersey Mill. An emergency vehicle approached, soon followed by a second that served to stretch out the group. Those at the front hustled away while the balance of the group was still waiting for the vehicles to pass, causing a split in the group, nice. I think we regrouped toward the bottom of Jersey Mill and approached the dead-end at 37.
There is a stop sign here and a car was approaching from the left. As has been the practice recently, the stop sign was ignored so those getting through it prior to the arrival of the car formed one group while those of us having to wait for the car to clear formed a second group. We cruised through Alexandria, arriving at the left turn on Raccoon Valley Road with a truck driving toward us. Some were able to make the turn prior to the trucks arrival, some of us could not, creating an additional split in the group. There was some grumbling amongst us about the tactics used by those in front to create gaps. It can probably be summarized by saying getting gapped because a guy has better legs or better cardio capacity is one thing, getting gapped because someone is using a vehicle or stop sign to create the gap is another. It's only a matter of time before someone makes a split second decision to stay with the group and the consequence of running a red light, stop sign or turning in front of an oncoming vehicle will be demonstrated.
Paul Stock, Steve O and I headed out RV Road, turned left on Hardscrabble, passed Claude, then Ralph and toward the top of the climb, our average was still at 23.3. As we approached Northridge, we came up on a group who had stopped. Apparently, someone had touched Doug M's back wheel but had stayed upright so all was well. Doug and Stephano jumped in with us and we had a good working group out Concorde, into Johnstown. Doug split off there while we headed down a very knarly Caswell, right on Duncan Plains and left at Green Valley. Paul and Steve were doing most of the work as we reached Clover Valley, then right on Miller and eventually reached the parking lot with a 22.4 average and 36 miles.
Here's a radical idea, when you know or suspect the group is going to get split because of a vehicle or red light, how about looking back to make sure everyone got through before sprinting? And, get this, how about not running stop signs while a car is approaching? This stupid stuff is going to get someone hurt.