Fast Friend Dave proposed a reru of the Tour de Cure route for today with a decision point at Lakeville whether or not to do the loop around the lake. Sara suggested she and Billy would pick up the group near Rush. I liked that idea shorting the ride to something less than a century so I also opted to start the ride from that meeting point. Sara and Bill kindly offered their driveway for parking so we could ride there together. I wasn’t too sure about the distance – my last ride was a month ago – and so I had to watch the pace and going around Conesus Lake was certainly a no-no. That would still make it a 60-65 mile ride.
Yesterday morning I went down to the basement to get the road bike to bring to the store for repair, take the Bike Friday out the suitcase and put it together for the ride. On that last ride a month ago the front derailleur got stuck on the small ring. For fun I tried the handle, and my, the bike magically healed itself! The bike shifted back and forth between the two rings just fine. Odd. Oh well, riding on the proper road bike then!
Got to Mr and Mrs T’s place in Rush. Billy was riding circles on the driveway. He got a brand new bike, it arrived yesterday and he’s adjusting tit to his fit! So exciting, a new ride! It will be a long winter though until it can be seriously ridden. Before riding off they let their Golden Retrievers out to pee and so Cooper and Stella introduced themselves to me in the happy way only dogs can; but of course after first some proper precautionary barking at the stranger.
It’s about 5 miles to the meeting point with the rest of the group and we take it easy. I ask Billy about his bike (so shiny! look at those sprockets!). It’s a titanium frame from a small bike factory in Tennessee. He asks how old my bike is:
“About ten years now, I think.”
“You need a new bike then! I buy a new one every 2 or 3 years. You’re way overdue.”
Bill is a wise man.
We’re a little early, the other group also had a flat so we have some time at the junction before they’ll arrive. It’s bright sunny, no wind, very pleasant to just hang out there and bask. Mid-November, this is not going to happen much more. Pity though there’s no Starbucks on this corner. The others arrive. Bob brought two new Fast Friends, Patrick and somebody else. I’m so bad with names and I must admit I don’t know now which of the two is Pat… They have nice time trial bikes, especially the older’s Trek (I shall call him Patrick). I don’t really like it when there are TT bikes in a group ride. They handle and respond differently than road bikes and so require extra attention by the rest. Pat seems very solid on his but his friend is a little wobbly. Off we go.
Dr Bill is in the group too. Haven’t seen him in a long time. I move up next to him to chat. I ask if he’s been riding much. Not so much, work and stuff, but yeah not bad. Me?
“This is my first ride in a month.”
“And you chose a century?”
“Well, yeah, I mean, how hard can this be?”
Some miles further we’re moving through some rolling hills. I got dropped at first but manage my way back to the group. After a turn Mark has pulled away a bit. Dr Bill increases his pace to stay in touch, I latch on to his wheel, staring at his back tire not letting any light in between. When we get over the roller Dave asks Mark to ease up a bit so that we don’t drop folks. Dr Bill asks Mark if he’s wearing a heart rate monitor:
“Keep it under a hundred then.”
We ride through a small village (Restof?) a few miles before Geneseo where we’ve decided to stop for a break. It rolls down here for a mile or so, my momentum takes me forward and I pull the group for a bit until first Patrick and then Billy move past. In Geneseo we’ll make a left turn up the hill to the college. The last half mile before that on the main road it starts to incline just a bit (2 maybe 3%) and already there I drop off the back. The climb up the college goes slowly, slowly. Not much of power to detect in the legs with just two rides in the last months. I get to the convenience store stumbling inside for the much needed hot caffeine injection and a cinnamon roll. We discuss who wants to ride how far. To Lakeville, around the lake, turn before Lakeville? Sara and Billy say they want to turn at Avon, go back to Rush from there (yes!). This makes it about a 45 mile ride. Perfect, me thinks.
Rolling out of Geneseo first Bob then Dave take the lead. We’re going about 19-20 mph. I’m pretty sure everybody thinks this a casual pace but I am only just hanging on towards the back of the group. At some point I’m riding behind Bob in the middle of the group. He moves up to take the lead, I follow in his wheel. Protocol requires me to take over from him next. Not that I am looking forward to that but the closer to the front you ride, the more even the pace is, an even pace is much easier with rapidly tiring legs. And Bob’s pace is always very even. Not slow, just very steady. Sadly someone can’t maintain her patience with this perfectly fast-ish pace and comes by rolling past picking up the pace a couple of miles. Yes, Sara got bored. I’m hanging on for dear life. Just before Avon the road goes up and I fling off the back. The legs are done. I’m quickly moving down the gears. In Avon Sara, Bill and I turn left while the others continue their march on Lakeville.
It’s only 6 miles or so back to the start. My two companions are very patient with me while they drag me back, going about 15mph (that may be optimistic actually). The last climb takes us up their driveway. We’re done!
Billy opens the door, and Stella and Cooper come running out. They have a lovely big front and back yard giving the dogs plenty space to run around, chase after their balls. Wise strategy to wear down the dogs before apres cycling nap time! We chat for a little bit but I want to get going before my legs get too stiff.
It was a great ride with fabulous weather for November. But maybe, maybe I should ride more often than once a month.