I'm really loving these tuesday nights at Donaldson. Last week's ride was a really great time and this week's ride was just as good. I opted out of leading a ride tonight, but that changed somewhere along the way.
I started with the 19+ mph group 1b that was to be lead by Jill. Although I didn't cut this group down too bad, I did comment last week that they were becoming a hammer group. Who'd have guessed that I was actually wrong about that ;).
We started out at a very brisk pace. I didn't get her name, but the lady up front leading the pack was definitely strong - she was up front with John and they were pulling that train at a breakneck pace! As we made our way down perimeter road, I commented to Jill "They're not afraid to set a strong pace are they?". She agreed it was a little fast, so I sprinted up to the front and asked them to pull it back a little. Even though we pulled the pace back, we were already at 19mph average speed before we turned off of Perimeter road.
Although I wasn't the ride leader, I tried to stay up front to assist in whatever way I could. We turned on to Griffen road, and they kept the pace high. They were great though, as soon as I requested a pull back, they complied. That gradual uphill along Griffin and past the plant is always a nice pull and those folks up front kept the pace. We were over 20mph already. I tried to hold the pace back a little in this early section as we generally increase the pace as the ride progresses.
It really was a great group tonight. Although we had some very strong people up front, we did a great job of re-grouping at the logical points. When we stopped at the intersection of Richey and Woodville roads, we had dropped some folks. Unfortunately, it appeared that we dropped our leader. I wasn't in the front of the pack when we got to this intersection, but when I did get up there, Bo had turned around looking for me as the leader. Since I'm not terribly shy these days, and since I had already been working as assistant leader, I stepped into the role.
Not that this group really needs a leader. I was surprised that as we continued along Woodville road, including the normal strong efforts going up the hill, our pace had dropped into the 19.7 range. A big part of this was because the excellent re-group efforts of those at the front of the peleton. Another full re-group at the intersection of Reedy Fork Road and we were on our way.
More strong efforts up the hill and along old hundred road kept us right in the 19.8-19.9mph range. I was feeling good, and I think those who were in the group were feeling good as well. We made the left turn onto Holly drive, and the pace kicked up another notch. I was glad to see the peleton (at least those in front of me) had stretched out into a single file line. This is much safer on that narrow twisty road. We had no traffic on the road, and of course there was the surge of addrenilin as we dropped through the roller-coaster ride that is the last 600 meters of Holly road. Great job on the re-group.
Again, this group surprised me as we headed up Reedy Fork Road. I thought it was going to be a hammerfest, but it was actually a great pace - lead once again by the woman who pulled the group so quickly at the beginning of the ride. I think I need to do better getting people's names....
By the time we pulled up to the stop sign at Michelin Road, I was showing an average pace of 19.9mph. Although Dan likes for this group to average just over 20mph, I think this group probably would have averaged a bit over 20 if we had not been so excellent in keeping the group together (read that as stopping at the stop signs!).
Even after we turned on to Perimeter road, the group stayed together. The pace didn't really change, although there was a small breakaway as they climbed the hill next to the golf course. I say they, because after doing my share of pulling along perimeter road, I pulled out and let the group go. I tried for a while to pull them back, but just didn't have it in me tonight. I finished out my ride at an easier pace.
Thanks to the volunteers who keep us organized on Tuesday nights, and thanks to my fellow riders for making each week such a great experience!
1 year ago