The 40@20 is back, and at a record pace! After a few weeks delay (during which ride participation was a bit uneven, to say the least), we finally got a reasonable crowd together to go for a ride from corporate HQ. In case you have forgotten, the 40@20 is our regular Wednesday night group ride, featuring 2 county line sprints, a couple hills, lots of smack talk, and the goal of riding 40 miles at a pace of 20 miles per hour. Our man with the silver pen, Randy, has again provided the recap for your reading enjoyment:
After a midseason siesta to rejuvenate the riding spirit, the 40@20palooza fired up its 2-stroke engine with an angry kick-start and let out a snarl to warn mother earth her terra firma was about to become terra infirm. Seven, seven-eleven riders–thankful for a late day front that dropped temps into the lower nineties—singled up from the start and settled in to a pace that could only be described as blistering. McCarter was our leader, and his demon-fueled fury on the pedals had Baker breathing like Vader well before we needed a ShamWow to absorb the sweat from our brows. It was quickly noted that the chatter was nil, and I could swear I heard the melody of Business Time humming from Eichvalds’ deep dish Zipps as we motored the rollers of Lamont Norwood and made our way onto what had become during our riding furlough the worst road in the state. River Rd looked like a training ground for how to catch first, second and third in a Trans-Am equipped with asphalt piercing Goodyears and cherry bomb-dropping twin exhausts. Pot holes the size of John Candy, sand pits deeper than Descartes, and road kill at 10 meter intervals had us all thinking we’d time warped to the 2010 Cross Crusade. McCarter ain’t a big fan of remounts, so he took the lead and hammered out of the war zone into the calm before the storm.
As is always his lot, Eich was at the pull leading into the county line sprint. With 300 meters to go Eich pulled off, leaving Jones the dangling carrot and the hounds in chase. Webster made the first break, with McCarter and Rogers on his wheel. Jones sat up quickly and watched Rogers over take McCarter then pull even with Webster. It looked like the Irish lep-flute would be whistling victory, but Webster has a phobia of shamrocks and wasn’t going down without a fight. Webster by a wheel, then Rogers by a wheel, Webster, Rogers, Webster, Rogers….in the end it was called a draw by both riders, the battle of attrition neither lost nor won. The soft pedal to the crossroads revealed a reduction in numbers, as Baker had slipped off the back at River and decided a quick dip in the mighty Haw would cool him down for the remainder of his personal 30@18.
The pace line reformed as we headed north, and the 2 minute pulls were strong for all riders. Swan was the first to show signs of fatigue as we neared the turn for Dairyland: he missed his mouth with a water squirt, he used a gel to make his bars more grippy, and he started tearing off his jersey and singing Olivia Newton John songs out loud. Half way up Dairyland, Swan was Dorothea Dix-bound and off the back. Guess a Bynum Ridge lunch ride and a 40@20 do not a good day make.
The final five hit rocket speeds down Dodson’s, with the time trial masters Eich, McCarter, Rogers and Webster pushing 35 plus the whole way. Jones just sat in knowing that he was made for hill sprints and that his time to shine would come later. Rounding on to Old Greensboro highway, McCarter jumped up front and Rogers said what we were all thinking, “Here we go again!”. At every pull of the night, McCarter elevated the level of output to pro, putting the rest of us on the rivet and barely hanging on.
Spent by the pace and the heat, the group hoped for a sit-up as Eich rounded on to Damascus. Eich, never a group think kind of guy, decided an early attack would be better. The chase for the hill was on. Rogers took after Eich, Webster after Rogers, Jones and McCarter on Webster’s wheel. Eich stayed out front on the descent and into the hill home stretch, with Jones leading the chase pack as the Meacham wall came into view. Webster, McCarter and Rogers broke left, Jones slipped around Eich on the right, hoping Eich’s psychedelic Grateful Dead jersey would distract the others as he stood and kicked into sprint mode. Webster was wise to the tactic, and didn’t let Jones get more than a bike length away before he kicked in the jets and pulled even. Jones shifted and kicked, Webster countered. Jones shifted and kicked again, Webster countered. Jones threw an invisible Ninja star into Webster’s rib cage. Jones took first. Webster hung on to second over Rogers.
Completely blown and just happy to sit up and wait for the group, Jones’ cool down was quickly interrupted by McCarter yelling, “Come on, we can set a new record!”. McCarter’s enthusiasm was infectious and as much as it hurt, the pace line back in got us what we wanted—22.3. Nice work, gents.
It was never hinted that the night’s ride would be this strong, but if I had to guess at why we all felt Mercury in our muscles….
McCarter — Just happy
Webster — Extra water, small bladder
Rogers — Isner vs Mahut
Eichvalds — 60 Flashback
Jones — No Waves