Typically this time of year we don't have 90 degree temperatures. I headed out to the tuesday night BOB ride anticipating that we might have a reasonably good turnout with some guys willing to work. Well, we had guys willing to work, but the turnout was way less than I had hoped, and the guys that were willing to work are either not up to the fitness level I was hoping for, or had other issues.
Duano used one of his old cannondales, and the 5 middle cogs were skipping, so he couldn't put any power into any other gears than the 11/12 and 19/21.
Billy has been having leg cramping bouts for the past two weeks, that according to him come on very suddenly. He didn't want to pull through when he was off the front with me, but didn't contest any sprints either.
Breenster is fit and fast, but spent way to much time pushing the pace. He said he was ok with staying on the front, but it was obviously wearing hard on him by the end.
I got a little frustrated, as we stopped twice in the first half of the ride - once so that duane could escort an old dog that started to chase us down the road back to its house, and once for an older rider who met us en-route to catch back on after we passed him going the other way. Once the pace picked up he got dropped again anyways.
I took some hard pulls for the rest of the trip, mostly on the inclines. I didn't attack, I just kept the pace high, and in almost every instance I left big gaps behind me. I wasn't interested in a solo ride last night, so I kept shutting it down until the group got back on.
The Zoo had been there all night, riding well for him, he went off the front a couple times as well, but wasn't able to make it stick, he doesn't have the fitness to stay away for long yet. Some years he never gets that level of fitness, but it's good to see him working it so early in the season. There have been times when I've been in a small break on these rides late in the season and he's there, but just drops off. It's just as much mental with him as it is fitness.
At the end I was off the front (again) but not working very hard. Zoo was at first the only one attempting to bridge up to me at first, but looking further back I could see duane coming up as well. Zoo went by, then duane. I hopped on duanes wheel, behind zoo. Since all duane had was his 12 he was driving hard. No one had come up with duane, even though there were like 5 guys still behind us. There is a sharp left corner just before the 'finish'. Duane pulled off but zoo was doing all he could just to stay in duanes draft. So Zoo sat up, I just kept the pace, and when I looked back I had 100 feet on the two of them. I was impressed that Zoo put in the effort at the end to stay with duane. He's riding alot better this year, he seems to have a better attitude, which has been his problem all along. In the past not only would zoo _not_ have tried to stay with duane, he wouldn't have been anywhere in sight at the end.
It wasn't quite the ride for _me_ I was hoping for, but it was the first time this year that I had done the whole ride of: ride from work to the ride, do the ride, and ride home. That's a 56 mile trip with hill sprints, townline sprints, chases, etc., so I was pretty spent.
The fun part - On the way back through south hampton, Breenster was motoring along and swerved suddenly to avoid a snake. Billy was on his wheel and rode over it. It was big enoungh that it tossed billy up in the air, like hitting a really fat garden hose, but he kept the bike up. Everyone else avoided it. I got a good look at it - no doubt in my mind it was a timber rattle snake.
As we rolled by, duane freaked out: "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?". The shape of the head was unmistakeable. The only other indigenous snake to this area that big is a hog nose, but hog noses don't have heads shaped like that. We didn't stop to investigate further, but then, just around the next bend, a fox ran across the road.
Duane yelled out "WHAT IS THIS, FUCKING WILD KINGDOM?"
Well, any ride you go on with duane is bound to be a wild ride....