The continuing saga of the Performance HQ Wednesday night group ride, as told by Randy, our elfin warehouse maestro.
From Baker’s Dozen to Six Pack:
Under a fine mist of North Carolina’s legendary pollen, 13 P-funkers saddled up for the season’s second round of ego stroke, emasculation, and braggadocio. From the get-go, a stiff southwest wind battered the peloton, bending the lead pulls into the drops early and beguiling what seemed like a strong effort on the pedals. The mood of the mass seemed more somber this week, and I can only guess it had something to do with the sight of Peterson’s superhero muscle mass and the Unabomber stare of one Bob Eichvalds. The G-man tried to lighten the mood with a few cavalier solo attacks, often precariously straddling the center line as on-coming traffic gawked in disbelief at a 97 year old man in the hideous purple of the Donut Boy lycra kit:
With tension still hanging in the yellow haze, Tony D and Webster pulled forward to start the windup before the county line sprint. Their pull was short-lived as Tony’s fashion sense was stronger than his legs and he drifted to the back of the pack, never to be seen again. It was Jones and McCarter up next, and when McCarter said to Jones with a twinkle in his maniacal eyes “looks like it’s about time”, the demons began their chase. McCarter put his head down and ramped up the speed, when out of nowhere, the Lord Humungous rocketed by on the left with Turits, Overby, Rogers and Webster fighting in the jetwash. McCarter gave chase, leaving Jones out to watch the chaos up ahead. Like last week, Turits once again tapped into his inner nitros pack and actually kicked up a chunk of asphalt when he made his jump to the lead and the win. It seemed that the rest of the chase group traded positions a dozen times in as many meters, but it was Rogers taking second, Webster in third, and Overby in fourth. Peterson sat up, vomited once, and swore he’d never eat tofu and arugula on a Wednesday ever again.
At the crossroads, there wasn’t even a look back at who was still on, for we all knew that Ali’s B group had absorbed the less afflicted and that they were enjoying a nice spin back to the ranch. Baker quickly brokered a deal with the devil, hoping for a flat, broken chain, perhaps a wardrobe malfunction, anything to slow down the group and give him a chance to hang in to the finish. His soul-selling was in vain though, as Turits, Overby and Jones each pulled up 54 like Cerberus was nipping at their Sidis.
Making the right from 54 onto what is usually a nice cool down stretch of rollers, the SW winds battered us all and threatened to kill the 20 MPH average we were keeping. It was Rogers who gave nature an Irish wedgie and took to the front for a Bushmill’s Sixteen-fueled pull into the home stretch. Rounding onto Damascus Church, Rogers began a verbal attack of Jones, trying to get into his head before the hill sprint. Webster, McCarter, Turits, and Overby traded jabs as well, while Tommy V remained suspiciously quiet. We all learned why when he made a surprising attack long before the windup began. Turits yelled “let him go”, so we did, but as he continued to pull away strongly, we thought it may have been the move of the year. Jones and Overby took to the front as the group crested onto the last descent, and when Jones shifted to his big ring and asked Overby if he was ready to earn his burrito, it was on like a potted neck bone.
Turits, Overby, and Webster attacked first, with McCarter, Jones and Rogers hanging on to any wheel available. Surprisingly, Turits started to sputter ¼ way up the hill, and McCarter, smelling blood, made his move. He jumped out ahead quickly, while Jones opportunistically snuck around Overby and Webster, both of whom were caught in Turits’s no-wake zone. Overby managed to free himself from the kiss-and-go lane and locked on to Jones’s wheel. Rogers was somewhere in the mix, but the top three had already spread the gap and it was now a three man race. McCarter’s lead started to contract and Jones and Overby could see the look of panic in his eyes when he glanced back at their chase. Jones jumped out of the saddle and thought he might have enough in the tank for a photo finish, while Overby stuck to his wheel, waiting for the slingshot moment. McCarter stood and kicked, Jones stood and kicked, Overby stood and kicked, but their positions never changed and all three collapsed onto their top tubes as they crossed the line. McCarter gave hi-fives to his chasers, and we soft pedaled waiting for Rogers and the rest of the gang to catch up.
With a mile and a half to go, our average was 20.7 MPH. Overby wanted 21, so he and Jones did their best to make that mark. Rogers suggested some late-night graffiti. Turits saw another opportunity to drop us in the near future. Webster had nipple chafe. McCarter was as giddy as I’ve ever seen him. The baker’s dozen had reduced to six, and it may have just been the pollen, but I could swear, we were all glowing.
*Side note: Tommy V was caught and hung out to dry halfway up the sprint, his Breaking Away moment was not to be.