Here is a quick ride report from Saturday. First, and of the most importance to me, is that prior to the ride I only had a couple of comments about the ride announcement, which I not-humbly called "The Best Ride Announcement Ever". I try to write things that are amusing, interesting and occasionally funny. On Friday I created the video announcement and I completely cracked myself up. I thought for sure that after I posted it I would get a few messages along the lines of "G-D that was the funniest thing I have seen since Caddyshack" or "Holy cow, other than getting the technology from BikeSnobNYC, that was very funny and clever". Instead, however, I got two complaints about not providing a text pronouncement (Thanks Bobs) and not much else.
As I rode up to the group on a beautiful Saturday morning, I honestly thought I was going to get a number of looks like "what is the matter with that guy?", and also, to be honest, I don't want to have a conversation about what is the matter with me. The list is too long to start. Anyway, I was pleased that the reaction was good and that people enjoyed it. In the post-Oscar glow, my inner-Sally says, "They liked it, they really liked it!" As evidence of that, the blog posted a five-fold increase in readership from the prior days.
But you are now asking, what does this have to do with a ride report? Nothing, but then again if I didn't digress, this blog would be filled exclusively with six-word entries from Quicksilver.
So, on Saturday at 11 a.m. the sun was shining and the temperature was rising slowly. The group grew and grew, until we had an impressive 27 people ready to go for a ride. Not bad for this early in March.
There was a wide range of clothing, from M. S. who looked like Nanook of the North to my fellow TTW riders who seem impervious to the cold and dress like it. As it turns out, those with the light clothing on were suitably attired. I ditched my wind vest approximately 3 minutes into the ride and the stops were used more for shedding layers than shedding water (if you know what I mean). Speaking of shedding water, or what the professionals call a "nature break", last week the group had turned a corner with a stop sign and had stretched out a bit. I was in the middle rear of the group with Rider 1 and we saw Rider 2 take off at a dead sprint off the front of the group. Rider 2 is usually the diesel motor type, not the pretty-pony type, so I said to Rider 1, "What is up with #2?" He said, "No idea", so I said, "Shall we catch him?" "Sure" was the response. So, feeling frisky and knowing that primarily all I had to do was sit on #1's wheel, we got quickly up to speed and started eating up the asphalt between us and #2. At that point, however, just as we were closing in at full speed, #2 pulled off the left side of the road to a, shall we say, private area. Unfortunately, we had pulled the group up to warp speed as everyone was getting onto the train before it left the station. This left #2 well and truly behind. Now, #2 had a theory that we could have turned off the gas, but jeez, we didn't keep speeding up, we just burned off the momentum we already had. Before you get feeling too bad for him though, it turns out that we were not far from a long downhill, which Rider 1 took at full speed, and then the road turned up sharply for a long hill. This is where I saw Rider 1 again. Going by. Quickly. Let's just he wasn't really in danger of being dropped.
Anyway, this week we had a couple of more organized nature breaks. Rider 2 took the time to complain about the deference offered to those with stops on Saturday.
The ride took the lower portion of the "new" Fish Lake Trail. This trail is definitely being discovered and we saw lots of people on it. Our group was very civilized and I can assume that T. W. was doing his "Gregarious Rider" impersonation to every person we passed. With 27 riders we needed to be courteous and I believe we were. At the intersection with the Cheney-Spokane road, we turned towards Cheney and stayed on the road. We had a bit of a city limit sprint and then made our way to Betz Road. By this time, we had shed a few riders off the back. I actually dropped off the back at one point to find out what happened, but the few riders must have turned around since they were not within sight.
As we headed up Betz road, one of Rider 1's favorite sojourns, we did have one fearless soul dash off the front who then served as our rabbit as the group kept up a good tempo. We eventually caught him as we left Betz Road and the group came together again for a few minutes. As we left Four Lakes we did have another burst of speed, first by a couple of speedsters and then by Rider 1 who decided, without warning I think, to open up the after-burners for a 3-minute threshold attempt to get an idea of how his Sunday 12k TT was going to go. Or at least planned to go, as it unfortunately did not, but I am proud to say that I caught up to him. I would like for this to stand as a testament to by speed and and fitness, but it was not. Instead, I used a bit of trickery, like cutting through a stop sign at high speed and then again at an intersection where Rider 1 had stopped traffic and I was just barely close enough to make it through the intersection before traffic started up. Yes, trickery was much more useful than speed.
Anyway, we made our way back to Thorpe, sped down to Vinegar Flats and then I headed home and let the rest of the diminished pack head up the fish ladder on the way home. It was largely an uneventful ride. A few got dropped, a few were frisky, and I think that everyone was tired after the two hours of effort, but the real news is that the sun was shining and the temperatures are getting hopeful. It was a ride that reminds me of why I enjoy cycling so much. Just the right mixture of BS, hard work and the easy camaraderie of a pack of like-minded souls. Thanks for the ride, guys.