Tuesday's at donaldson. Maybe the best night of the week. I went out again tonight and had a great ride. I met up with some of my P3C3 friends and we tagged onto the back of a group that had a bunch of riders that usually ride in the C1b group (19+ mph).
Tonight the Spinners tried something new to reduce the size of the groups. I'm not totally sure how it worked out, but our group ended up merging with some others that were out there. We probably had 25 or so riders. I don't think it started out that big, but as we started to pass groups, we picked up more people. These folks probably wanted to get a good fast ride in, and our group was moving fast - for sure.
A difference I noted - while the previous grouping method was not perfect, and all ride leaders have different styles, it seemed that tonight - without a clear ride leader, there was a little more chaos on the ride. Not that it wasn't a great ride, just that there seemed to be a little more speed when it came to the stop signs. We made maybe 3 full stops. Compare this to previous rides where we might make 5 or so full stops.
At the start of the ride, I was in the parking lot with Jeni, John and Perry - my P3C3 buddies. We saw a group head out and Perry thought Cunningham Sr. was leading the group. It turned out it wasn't him, but the group was about our level anyway.
We had to chase for a while to catch them - Perry did an awesome pull all the way down Perimeter road to reel them in. We sat in at the back for a while. The pace was pretty spirited - even for this group. I saw a lot of guys I recognized.
As we made the turn onto richey road, I decided it was time for me to get out and pull a little. I made my way up to the front and sat in for a little bit in the 2nd or 3rd position. As we started up the rise on Richey road, I got out for a little pull of my own. It felt good to stretch my legs, but of course, as we made our way up the hill (really just a gradual thing), some other folks came past me. Perry gave a really good effort to stay with the front pack. We passed a lot of people along that road as well. Some of them may have jumped in with us.
We got out on Woodville road, and I sat in 2nd position until just before the bridge crossing. I pulled around a guy on a tri / time trial bike (who was pulling) and Perry came with me. I think the rest of the crowd was right with him as well. Jenny was right up near the front too. I did my best to give a good pull up the hill, but started to weaken about half way up. Perry pulled around followed by another guy and Jeni. I pulled in behind Jeni and tried to keep the pace. It was a strong pace!
That pace didn't really slow down as we jumped on Reedy Fork for the short jaunt up to old hundred road. Again, we were passing more people from smaller and slower groups. The guys up front didn't let up when we got on old hundred either. They kept that strong pace for the entire distance. There was no attacking for a sprint - I think everyone was near their limit.
We made our first crossing of 418 and kept that pace along Hopkins road. I did a fair pull along that section until we started up the rise before the next crossing of Reedy Fork. A couple of other guys got out front again and pulled us up to the stop sign and then up to the left turn at Holly road. I was sitting in 2nd position as we approached the turn for Holly road, but the guy pulling dropped off as we made the turn. When I looked back, I had pulled a little gap through the turn onto Holly road.
I kept my pace, knowing that they would catch me anyway. Someone came past me at a good clip, but I decided to just stay at my pace and see what happened. I saw Perry behind me, and then a pretty big gap to the rest of the field. I know Perry is a really strong sprinter, so I figured if I could reel this other dude in a little, Perry would slam him on the uphill section of Holly road.
I did manage to reduce the gap a little to the guy in front, and in fact increased the gap to the rest of the field. It was the one guy up front, me and Perry, then everyone else as we made the left hand bend before the drop into the little valley. Perry came around and ate up the distance between me and the leader like it was nothing. He passed the guy before we got to the top of the hill. I managed to catch the guy shortly after that as well. I backed off well before the stop sign to try to take advantage of a brief rest. The peloton consumed us as we approached the stop sign at Reedy Fork.
I stopped to make sure we still had Jeni, and somehow missed her in the group. I ended up at the back of the peloton as we made our way up Reedy fork. After crossing 418, I got back up near the front. A regular on the C1b route - John did a lot of pulling tonight - again, he was out there as we made our way back towards Donaldson. Perry and I did our share of pulling along that section as well. Perry did an awesome pull to bring us up to Garrison Road.
The pace up the rise between W. Georgia Road and Griffen Mill Road was not as spirited as usual. We passed a bunch of slower riders, but usually there is a bit of a sprint up to the stop sign - tonight it didn't seem like that. However, I had gone back to the back again to sit in, so maybe that is why it didn't seem quite as fast.
We continued our pace onto Michelin Road, then made the turn towards Perimeter road. I started to make my way up front again - I actually prefer it up front (or in the leading 4 or 5 positions anyway). As we got onto Perimeter road, the same guy (guy 1) who had his little breakaway on Holly road was leading, followed by the guy (guy 2) on the time trial / tri bike. I was pretty amused when guy 1 pulled up and asked guy 2 to sit up so he could draft. I think guy 2 actually said no as he kept slowing down.
Being a guy who doesn't like the pace to drop because someone doesn't want to pull (at that particular moment - guy 2 had done his share of pulling throughout the ride thus far), I rode between them and tried to set a good pace. I pulled about until we got to the Ashmore bridge intersection. At that time, some guys came around me and kept up the pace.
I pulled back in the line - maybe 6 or 8 back as we made our way along perimeter road. From Ashmore bridge road, there is a slight downhill, followed by a slight uphill. Then, another downhill before the golf course hill. As we crested that slight uphill, the pace had dropped off. I decided to make my way back up to the front because we needed to keep the pace! Actually it's just because I love getting out there and pulling when people seem to be getting tired.
I set a good pace down that slight downhill, then kept hammering it as we started up the golf course hill. John was right behind me, and I was getting tired about half way up. Nobody came around me, so I kicked in whatever I had left to pull them up to the top. As we crested the top, I called back to John "That's all I got!!". He came around along with one other guy and I was able to drop into 3rd position for a while.
John dropped off after a strong pull and the guy in 2nd position did a short pull before I found myself out front again. I did my best to pull them up the hill next to the small pond. As we headed up the rise, I tried to pull off, but no-one came around me. Whatever I thought, I'll blow it out now and drop off on the next hill. I got them up to the top of that rise, then down the next. As we started up the last rise, I pulled off and told them I'd had enough. My average pace about that time was 21.7mph.
Once again, Tuesday's at Donaldson was exceptional tonight. What an excellent ride.
2 years ago