At some point in the ride, after making a turn onto a north/south road, the club President had some words for us.
This group is rather rag tag. We’re not playing follow the leader. We’re supposed to have a social pace line.
I can’t say he was wrong. The C group were not riding well together. Those of us up at the front were probably going too fast, and not doing enough to help struggling riders. In this case, being called out is not a bad thing.
So, we settled on a social pace line and kept it up for the next 30kms or so. It worked well and we all benefited from the draft. On the flats, we had a good 30 plus pace going. While I wouldn’t call it really fast, I thought it quite suitable for most of the people in the group.
The day was not without its challenges. We had a few dropped chains, a few waits for slower riders, and worst of all, the president suffered a popped tire. That’s right, the tire popped, not the tube (the tube probably went as well, but who was thinking of that). It was a loud sound like a firecracker. Upon inspection, there was no fix for the problem as the tear in the tire was huge and he had to call his wife and arrange a pickup.
Leaving him and entering an area of heavy traffic meant less observance of the pace line, and we had to unconsciously rode away from the struggling riders and had to wait for them on hilltops and at traffic lights.
I felt strong all ride until the last big climb of the day. I was 4th in the King of the Mountain, and felt okay about that. On the descent, I noticed that my brake felt quite stiff. I then realized that my brakes were stuck closed and I might have done better in the climb if that hadn’t been the case–at least that is what I told myself. We did some quick roadside repairs, and we were on our way.
All told, with my ride to and from the meeting place, I did about 85 kilometres. I feel pretty satisfied with that. I feel stronger on the bike every time we go out and know I am making progress. I have ridden this route before, but mostly in the opposite direction. The huge climb that I wrote about is a fantastic descent when ridden the other way–but aren’t they all?