It’s with a measure of fear and trepidation that I greet newcomers to the Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride, and, thankfully, most of them come without prior reputation. That was not the case today as Ted Huang, Alto Velo strongman, showed up for the first time to find out what our ride is all about. Fortunately, he’d been softened up a bit by doing the “morning” ride beforehand (the “morning” ride is a one hour hammerfest featuring the sort of folk who enjoy getting up way before the sun comes up to get their suffering in… in short, people I can’t relate to). Also making a showing for the first time in a couple months was George, now cyclo-crosser supreme, back from a 5th place podium finish at the Nationals.
So in short, I know I’m toast before the ride even started. Add to the mix James (Cat 1 racer, ouch!), Todd, John & Chris, and we had a regular wrecking crew. Missing in action were Ludo (he’d dropped by the shop a couple days ago to let us know he was heading to SoCal for a bit), Eric, Karl & Karen. Oh, right, we also picked up Millo, a former regular, up on Skyline for a brief visit (he had to take an early exit due to childcare obligations).
Tuesday=faster and that was they way it worked out. I’m sure the fast guys were having it pretty easy; for me, getting up Kings in something under 28 was accomplishment enough. Weather was nice; we were out on the road before the latest weather hit, so we had mostly dry roads. I was hoping nobody was going to contest the first sprint (Skeggs), but no, James takes off strongly from the back, instantly putting two bike lengths into me before I could even begin to respond. Dumb on my part; I should be watching for moves from the back, or pushing the pace so hard it doesn’t matter. I closed some of the gap but not enough. After the sketchy downhill (water in many corners) I was unable to get around Millo, James & Chris at the front. I could have, but it would have meant going over the centerline, and that’s something I just don’t do anymore.
Ted was being kind to us… so far. I really don’t know what happened on west-side Old LaHonda though because I came unglued where it turns back on itself. I ended up in no-mans-land, in-between the guys putting the hammer down and ahead of those taking it easy. I didn’t see any burn marks in the pavement but I’m sure it was a very fast ride at the front. Last week, maybe, I might have been there. Maybe. But for now I’m quite happy that I got a very good workout and finished on the same day as the fast guys.