OK…I guess I should finally write this….I was actually running a bit late this year and by the time I got to the preserve there were already many cars there. I proceeded to drive in with the annoying Flobots “handlebars” song playing. I also got straight out of the car and….
…I dropped the hammer. Well hammers really. I figured it would help set a tone for the ride. Oh and in BF talk that’s “drope the hamer” (Droh-puh thuh hahm-ur).
The usual suspects were there:
Colorchange talking to MJH2 – convincing him that we should take it easy…like only 300W until after 2 loops then we can dial it to 500W…. “Seriously guys I think we can do a 4:30 century. I even brought my helmet to do it. Anyone??? Anyone?? Bueller?”
shider – wondering why he still decides to go slumming with the BF’ers
CyLowe97 – busy thinking about Wisconsin, how much he’d rather be living there, and cheese.
Murderer’s row – L to R: New daddy nietsmas, shider in Great Lakes BF kit, aham23 in SoCal BF Kit, Colorchange in Rock Racing kit
MJH2 on Right and New Guy on Left. New Guy had a blast. MJH2 is feeling a distrubance in the force.
The first loop group L to R: New Guy, RJBTrek’s Friend, Footballer, Voldemort, RJBTrek, CyLowe97, nietsmas, MJH2, iab, shider, aham23, colorchange, JT1.
iab with footballer in the background.
So we got the group together and decided to roll out on the first loop. As usual I led things off out of the parking lot. This is my way of making sure the group stays together to at least the first turn….about 50 ft down the road.
After the first turn I back up down the line and watched the greyhounds take off after the invisible rabbit. This year I didn’t feel as back knowing that we were going to blow people off the back. I think more were well aware of what was coming.
We were rolling well. By well I mean fast. Everything was meshing well. People were talking, we were running a double paceline, the mood was good, etc. We were on Brier Hill rd which I had driven in my car the day before. I remembered there were some nasty holes and was about to announce to the group to be on the lookout when I heard yelling and saw some movement in the line.
Yup…shider had ridden around the hole without mentioning it, general mayhem ensued. I swore I heard CyLowe do one of his patented, “you think you’d point out…” quips. There was jumping, swerving, swearing, etc. I made it by with no issues. Everything was good until I heard:
There is no mistaking the sound of lead-assing a hole or the subsequent flat that erupts thereafter. Classic pinch flat. I yelled, “FLAT!!!!” as is customary in these situations. I also pulled to the side to help out…it was MJH2 – can’t leave a teamate behind right?
A few other guys stopped as well (Nothingman, New Guy). I’m trying to do the 2 minute tube swap I know lives inside of me (think cycling version of the tire changing in Christmas Story), but MJH2 never put baby powder on his tubes before mounting them…they had basically vulcanized themselves to the tire casing.
At this point the “B” group we had so flippantly thrown off the back came rolling by….with smiles. Soon enough we were back on and rolling. I figured the A group had left us, but it turns out they were just on the otherside of the next roller….nietsmas had flatted as well.
So we start rolling…with real rabbits to catch. Then there was another flat….seriously. MJH2 had a slower leak from the rear that none of us caught the first time. We were under 10 miles and already digging into the reserves of tubes and CO2.
As we begun rolling again I was with aham23 who looked at me and said, “man I love this interval stuff we’re doing”. Seriously….it was tough…hot/cold/hot/cold. Did not bode well for a day of hard riding.
The rabbit chase was on. I was holding my own about mid-pack. Feeling great. With my Garmin on the fritz I had to keep pulling the map from the back to check it out. I keep forgetting that I could just put it up the leg of my shorts for easy access. Well, I went to grab the map and was getting my bearings around a turn on to Harmony. When checking the map you keep you distance to the wheel in front of you. Well…the wheel in front of me left a gap. By the time I looked up the front end of the line had a pretty serious gap on us.
I was still half torn between riding hard to get up to the front or hanging with the “A-” group. *editor’s note – I at this point while writing this because we had a tool explode at work. i am now returning to finish after 5 hours…*
I wanted to stay in the front group I decided. At this point my decision was coming kind of late. They had a huge gap on me (1/8 – 1/4 mile at least). I solo TT’d and was able to hold the gap where it was….then whenever I backed off a tad I would lose ground. I had my computer in my back pocket, but I know I was going hard (23-ish – maybe even more). I kept sitting up going, “I’m not going to catch them…just wait.” Then I would change my mind and hammer even after losing more ground.
I finally gave up when I had my saddle tilt back on me. If you’ve never had your saddle tilt back on you let me try to explain what it feels like. Take a few fingers, stick them up your butt and try to pull your cell phone out of your front pocket with them. So I stopped and adjusted the saddle and waited.
We had a decent “A-” group. We stopped quite a few times for me to adjust my saddle, to wait up, etc. We made it up to the KOR section (King of the Rollers). This is kinid of my version of the Tour’s King of the Mountains, but more specific to the flat lands that are Illinois. First one over is King of the Rollers. There were already 2 groups through (B’s and A+’s) so there was no chance of any of us being first over…..
….but I also have a “Queen of the Rollers” competition as well. While always a runner-up I have never taken that prize which goes to the girlish sap that is last over the hill. I actually went over first in the A- group. Felt good.
After that we blew throught the stop figuring that the other groups had skipped it. We were soon stopped while I was fixing my saddle again when CyLowe called asking us where we were. They had decided to stop and wait for us. Ooops. So we waited for them to catch up to where we were. As shider came into sight I told everyone, “you might as well start rolling because shider isn’t going to stop as he comes through here.” He didn’t. From there it was a race back to the start.
I found myself 2nd group again. nietsmas and I started running a decent paceline with footballer. We started a rotation. He knew what the deal was. He got in front and started to do the popcorn dance. You know…where you’re all over the machine digging deep for the speed while looking over your shoulder every 5 seconds to make sure you’re not being overtaken and/or leaving everyone behind? That dance. I was about to say, “ride within yourself. Don’t make yourself pop. You’re no good to us off the back.” when he flicked and pulled to the side.
I held pace and looked back in about a minute to see him off the back. “DAMNIT!” I looked at nietsmas, “Should we wait up for him or keep going?” “Might as well [keep going]. We finally have a good rythum going.” Sorry footballer…:(
In short order nietsmas popped as well. He’s a new dad and really hasn’t been on the bike a lot lately. He was pretty sure he was going to pop and called it out beforehand, but still sucks to see him blow. He’s like a diesel engine that just cranks along and then when he pops he pops. No real chance for recovery.
We came in from the first loop and he packed it in for the day – (I’ll add picture later).
Footballer had a clipless fall down in the parking lot that I was able to catch with my camera:
MJH2 received the first boobie prize as well….flattie. It’s a tire patch kit along with an extra tube.
Stats loop 1: 37.88 miles, 1:57:09 time, Avg speed of 19.4mph with approx 1,500 ft of climbing. Spicy, but not leg killer by any means.
Loop 2 is where my camera died. Recursive showed up. He’s a Cat 3 cheese headed racer that graces us with his presence quite often. We all like seeing him and he’s always pretty good at humoring our slow asses. smokinmiles showed up to lay the energizer bunny routine on all of us (she never stops at stops…seriously). Tim showed as well too. You might remember him from the “I don’t have any shoes” saga from either last year or the year before.
I hate the route on loop 2. It just sucks. It’s a West-East out and back for the most part. It’s on extremely flat roads with really nothing to look at. The killer is if there is a wind. It will almost always be a headwind on this leg. Luckily there was no wind. We all kept together too. Some of the riders in the rear would open a gap up in front of them as we came floating back to allow us back in front of them in the rotation. It kept the stronger riders riding hard at the front and allowed the ones working harder enough of a break to hold the group together. Worked great…
Ran across a road that had fresh gravel spread on it – waiting for oil. While everyone pondered what we were to do I yelled, “keep going straight” and kept riding. I was taking it easy until I heard colorchange yell, “it’s a breakaway. GET HIM!” He joined me. We looked back and no one was really going hard after us….so we hit the gas. Recursive was with us at this point and went to the front….and turned it up. I held for what I could. We were going fast. Really fast. Ludicrous speed in fact. I popped soon after I heard colorchange yell, “go hard, but not frickin 30+ mph!”
We rolled into the stop in Genoa and made all the locals think that some weird mix of superheros had taken over their town. On the way out of town the next King of the Rollers section was to be had. CyLowe went with the main group challenging it and then popped. Self-admittedly his day was done from that point on.
Right after that we got into some gravel roads. Seems the county didn’t check with me regarding my century route before deciding to spread the gravel. There was no turning back to we did our own Paris-Roubaix. If you don’t know what Parix Roubaix is then Google it….good shiz.
Everything was going fine until we hit a 90 degree turn. I can corner fairly well so I feathered the brakes and made it around only partially sliding. Everyone else made it through OK as well….everyone except Voldemort. He overcooked it and ended up in the corn field with some nasty souvineirs. So – for those of you keeping score that’s – 3 flats, clipless fall, 2 gravel roads, and a rider hitting the turf.
We made it back to end the loop with the following: 29.34 miles, 1:27:34 time, 20.1mph avg with 837ft of climbing.
At this point aham and cylowe ditched out. Only a few of us were left to do the whole deal: Voldemort, JT1, colorchange, shider and myself. I think I missed someone… Shiders family (son and wife) joined up for the last leg. We rolled out fast. No pretense at all.
The route was fast, but then I bonked. Bad. If you look at my speed file you can see it just drifting down. Same bonk that I got during the RAIN ride so I could recognize it coming on. I forced gels and prayed I’d get to the stop where I could get water. I gassed up at the stop and was ready to roll….with only 6 miles left .
I rolled the last bit with Shider’s son. Good rider. Seemed a little uncomfortable with riding in a group, but recursive and I rode right in front and behind him all the way in to keep an eye on him. It’s moments like that which make the rides fun. He’ll be tearing legs off in short order. Nice natural talent.
Leg 3 stats: 32.39 miles, 1:42:41 Time, 18.9mph avg speed , with 951 ft of climbing for a grand total of…
Avg Speed: 19.4 mph. – meh.
Great turnout. Everyone had fun. We drank a bit in the parking lot on our return and swapped stories. I handed out the rest of the boobie prizes:
Smokinmiles – latern rouge (last place, she rode in with shider’s wife keeping her company. It was a reward for that move) – she received a red blinkie. A USED red blinkie.
JT1 – Chatty cathy – self explanatory
Colorchange – hammertime – gift hammer for dropping the hammer most often adn with much fury.