I arrived early to reaclimate myself after missing 2 Tuesdays. No sense putting it off, dive right into the midst of Peggy and Butch and brace myself for insults and general verbal abuse. As I approached the Peggster, I could not help but notice she had dropped some weight so I said, "Wow Peggy, you've lost weight." Peggster's face lit up like a 2000 watt light bulb and she grinned from ear to ear. Finally I discovered the secret to getting on her good side and want to share this secret with everyone.
Logan made the mistake of getting to close to Dennis, Ryan, Kevin and me before the ride. Someone asked why he did not come in first at the state championship. "Because Todd has not taught me how to win yet." he replied. Someone else, who asked that I not identify him but he drives a fuel efficient blue car, blurted, "Todd can't teach what he doesn't know." That was a hoot and we all had a belly aching laugh over that.
Hot night and the shady area became packed. Here Billy C, team mate to his right and Nate from Jenis mix with the plodders. As it turns out, reports from the road were these three were the leaders but made a wrong turn and the balance of the pack did not wait for them. It's a tough crowd.
New guy. Don't know him. Forgot to count but smallish group of maybe 35-40 for a very hilly route. Da Boss (since he sent me a private email and apologized for recent vicious attacks in comments section I have recrowned him) was missing but there was not a wet eye in the house over that absence. We all love and respect the guy but he hurts us with his bike so..... The A group was called out and after a second of hesitation, Dennis and I joined a group of 14 with Ryan, who happens to drive a blue, fuel efficient car, shouting, "See you guys in a couple of miles." Very funny and amazingly accurate too.
The young whippersnapper (Logan), went to the front and rode hard. My goal, a modest one, was to not be the first to drop out. We hit Waterloo and the climb past the church on the right, navigated the "S" curve and began the long climb to Slough. Our group consisted of 2 Walker guys, Poobah, Dennis, Mark C, Steve O, Billy C and friend, Jeni Nate, Claude, Andrew, Logan but not for long. A slight gap opened in front of Mark C and he rose to sprint to cover, as did Steve and then me. On the brink, AT FREAKIN WATERLOO!!! I was draining the reserves when suddenly, Poobah dropped out. Marking the spot on the road where he dropped, I rode 1" farther and packed it in. I could have hung in a little farther but deemed long term prospects, well, in one word, HOPELESS. Poor Dennis was caught behind me and so he too dropped. Whoa, whats' that??? Both Walker guys dropped too. It appeared Poobah turned around and Dennis and I turned onto Slough, overtook the Walker guys and passed them as well. Dennis was pushing the pace and probably did not want to suffer the ignominy of being overtaken by the B group (Kevin H, Ryan (who drives a blue, fuel efficient car), Mark R, Jeremy, et. al.) We could see Andrew just ahead of us but could not close the gap. Also passed Claude going in the opposite direction, having abandoned.
Making a left on Brandt and that hill, a right on Kauseman and that hill (start to see a pattern here?) Lamb out to Crumley...the rest of it is a blur of sweat pouring like rain from a gutter, into my eyes and a blur of orange and yellow as I followed Dennis. We finished with an 18.4 average, which, considering the terraine and Dennis pulling the entire way, not terrible.
Back at the parking lot, Billy C and team mate talk to Todd. Todd had returned to his car, driven the route and finding Billy and friend after they made a wrong turn, attempted to motor pace them back to the group but was unable to do so. I have a friend who drives a dump truck so will get him out there to have in reserve for next week.
Here, Claude appears despondent and Dennis wiping away a tear, emotional after being forced to pull me the entire route. Dude's hand was sore from waving me through so many times but I doggedly stuck to his wheel. Lead group finished with a 21.4 average, good speed for that route of just under 2000' of climbing and 37 miles.