Independents day

6 07 2007

On the 3rd my head was filled with all sorts of foolish ideas about riding on Wednesday: Troxelville, RB Winter on the fixie, the combination of the two that has been talked of but never completed. But, thankfully I couldn’t drum up any support for any of that and I woke up on Wednesday morning facing the choice to ride something stupid solo or join my friends on the annual shop RB Winter ride. What finally broke my resolve was the weather report: heavy rain! I immediately had an image of myself in the rain on the backside of the Troxelville loop, looking for an open convenience store on the 4th of July and decided that my fate was more certain riding with the group.

The annual 4th ride is a fun loop, one that I’ve already done at least once this year, and one of the more causal centuries around. But unlike the spring classics, this one is a more varied group, often the first or only century of the year for many. So the pace is usually slower and the group slightly less coherent, which held some reservations for me, but not enough to opt for 7 hours in the saddle alone.

I pulled into the shop as they were rolling out and was surprised by the size of the group, at least 10 with some folks that I’ve never even seen riding road bikes. The real shocker was that all 4 of the original shop owners (Jim, Frank, Harry, and Roman) were on board, the first time I’ve seen them all together since Roman left the shop.

I pushed the pace early on in the ride and tried to stay near the front for the run out to RB Winter to keep things moving along. The group was game and we held pace nicely through most of the rollers. At the park I broke away a little as the group started to coast a bit down the low-grade descent towards Mifflinburg, but they got the picture and caught back up (really, I just love going fast on that section because its so easy). We held together through Mifflinburg and the water stop at the spring in Glen Iron, but I could tell that there were cracks forming in the group’s resolve. As we headed up the hill after Glen Iron I decided that I would go it alone across the top and picked up the pace for the climb. I could hear the group drop away in the early part of the climb as derailleurs climbed to the top of the cassette. Roman held on almost to the top and kept me pushing hard on the climb, but his choice of bike (a cross bike still shod with knobbies) was probably a bit too big of a handicap on the climb. I pushed it across the top flat and sat up for the descent into Woodward as I could see Roman behind me and thought that I might have a partner in crime for the ride back. When he caught up he said he was going to wait for the group and so we parted ways and I started back the las 40 miles on my own, looking to get back in time for the string of barbeques the afternoon promised.

The rain held off until late in the afternoon while Nita and I were walking the dogs in Rothrock. So I could have been the fool and gone out for the big day in Troxelville. But ultimately, it was much more fun to join my friends for the day.  I have the whole rest of the year to be foolish.




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