Due to the holidays, this past weekend was the first opportunity everyone had to put in a few extra miles. We had a good group show up at CVS including Ken, Alan, Scott, Richard, Chad W., James, and myself. A couple of others were there but did not want to tackle the hills of Elmore County. Colin was supposed to show but after w aiting till 7:12, we had to go.
We headed East on Vaughn Rd, cut through Wynlakes over to Atlanta Hwy and made our way down the service road to Wares Ferry Rd. About 15 miles in, almost to the Toll Bridge, we saw two riders approaching. It was Chad H. and Robert P.. They had left about the same time we did and were going to do about 5 hours on the bike (putting in a full day). I was glad they were going to ride with us because a lot of the guys in the group did not know who Chad H. Seee, Chad H. is a sponsored by Scott Bicycles. This guy rides a bike better than he can walk. And when you put him and Robert together, they are in a league all to themselves.
The hills up near Wetumpka will give you a pretty good workout. At about mile 22, we hit the first two-tier climb. This is where it seperates the girls from the boys. I actually had my legs that morning and even though I fell off the first group, I was able to stay close enough to catch them after we reached the top. A couple mile later we hit our first good downhill reaching speeds in excesss of 40 mph. But with every downhill there is another uphill. This one isn't as steep as the first but it is a lot longer. Mark W. and I tried keeping our momentum up and moved ahead of everyone for the immediate climb. We kept up the pace as hard as we could but that when I saw a shadow and then a blur. Chad H. and Robert blew by us and put us in our place. Not too soon after our legs and lungs were about to burst and Ken and Alan passed us. Then Richard was coming around me and I jumped on his wheel and followed him up to the top where we took a breather and waited for the rest. One of he most imporatnt things you learn about riding with people that are stronger than you is when to attack, and when NOT to attack.
One of the best parts of this ride is when you are on top of Emerald mt and start coming down through the neighbor hood. We carried an easy pace of 23-25 (easy for me, I was drafting) through the neighborhood. After a few miles, you reach the hill that shoots you on down to the Toll Bridge. This is where the real fun begins. The only problem is at the very bottom of the hill is a stop sign. Well, trying to stop a bike when you are in a group of other bikes going 45 mph isn't exactly what you need to be doing. So we normally have everybody looking over there shoulders for oncoming traffic. This isn't usually a problem because the traffic isn't ever bad. But this day was different because a huge moving van was barreling down the road.
My first though was I had to stop. But I had several guys behind me and it could get real ugly, real quick. Then I noticed the 3 guys in front of me were speeding up. They were trying to get through the intersection before the truck got there. I hammered on the pedals because that seemed to make more sense than eating asphault with the guys behind me. Flying through the intersection at 35 mph, we got on the main road in front of the van. All is good. Then I look up and Chad and Alan stand up for a sprint. So I stand up, push the heart rate above 180 in the red zone and latch on to one of their rear wheels as we are cruising on a flat section of road at 35 mph!!!!!! We lasted for about 1.5 miles before our smiles got too big and were creating too much wind resistance and slowed down.
We stopped at the toll bridge store and picked up a soda for the toll bridge operator. She always lets us through for a discounted price if we pick here up something on the way back. We pressed on back to CVS and I ended up with about 53 miles. As we are pulling into the CVS parking, we see two feet sticking out of a VW Passat wagon. Who was it but Colin! He had misssed us by about 2 minutes and thought were were ridding the flats and went the other direction. Hopefully he will ride with us next time. He knows more about racing than anyone I knnow. But he should, he used to race professionaly for Gatorade in Germany. This was a great ride and an awesome way to start out the new year.
Till next weekend!