I took Friday off from work and played on the coast. Jodie had some work to do and I took a couple of books. I enjoyed the nice weather. I sat on a bench in the shade for a couple of hours. I did take my bathing suit and thought about swimming. Unfortunately our beaches in Mississippi are not good for swimming. You can wade out into the water for a mile before the water gets deep enough to swim. Oh well, I did enjoy the water.
With rested legs I met the group ride on Saturday morning. Some of the usually suspects were missing. Some of the hardmen were missing from the ride. There was a chill in the air. I wore a pair of winter cycling gloves and my arm skins. I also had a sleeveless compression shirt underneath. I was cold for the first couple of miles. Others had on legs skins and jackets. It was about 60 degrees. It was not cold. We are just soft.
I warmed up soon enough. It felt cold in the shadows. With fresh legs I was able to give several hard pulls. I would pull until I blew up and then tuck back into the group. Nothing huge but I was feeling fresh.
Towards the end of the ride we went down a very long downhill. As you know, what goes down must go up. I found myself at the front of the group and I put in a hard effort. I wanted to complete at the top of the rise. Three fourths into the climb I hear Keith from behind. He said, “You dropped them all. We just have to keep it up to the end of this road.” I could hear the excitement in his voice. I was not trying to breakaway; I just wanted a hard effort. With the encouragement from Keith I dropped to a harder gear. I blew up about 10 seconds later. I told him to go on. Keith sped away as I dropped back to the group to recover. I was soon enveloped. I was still blown but just as I started to recover Raland took off in pursuit of Keith. I had nothing to respond with; Raland developed a gap too quick. I could not follow.
It was cat and mouse between Keith and Raland with the rest of the group following. Keith continued to get some separation and got some traffic between him and the chase group. This route ends with a series of hard climbs. The group was gaining on Raland but Keith was out of reach. I tried to drag myself to Raland wheel and was only successful after the last climb.
With the group splintered we eased up the pace and rolled home. I did have one last effort on the homestretch and came into the parking lot second behind Keith. He had a huge grin on his face. He said that I could not have timed it better for him to break away. He said that next time he would work for me. I told him congratulations but there was no stratigy behind the effort. It was luck. The rest of the group rolled in and we talked about bikes for a while. It was good fun.
After the ride I told the story to Jodie. She said that I was the Jensie. I wish. The next day I was at the bookstore and I saw that Velo magazine had a cover story on the hardmen of cycling. And low and behold who was on the cover.