40 at 20 #3 – Tuck and Roll

Another ride recap of our weekly Wednesday night group ride from headquarters, as written by our very own Randy Jones (in case you forgot, the goal is always to ride the 40, sometimes 30, mile route with an average speed of 20 MPH):

While a pack of riders skinsuited up for the local time trial, a small group of Wednesday warriors headed out under overcast skies and chilly sub 60 temperatures. McCarter was the first to admit that if he wasn’t warm in ten minutes he’d call a SAG wagon for a pick up and find the closest watering hole serving Guinness and bangers and mash. Jones liked that idea and almost made the call at the 2 minute mark, but decided that spinning the legs at 113 rpms would be a better warming agent than pub fare. The brisk pace worked, and by the time Swan took the lead on Lamont Norwood, jerseys were unzipped, arm warmers rolled down, and the G-man was getting spit out the back. McCarter offered to throw Collester into his little red wagon and pull him through to the B-ride cut off, but Collester refused and vanished into the countryside.

With the group down to 5 riders in less than 4 miles, we knew that a 20 MPH average would be tough to keep without some real leg work on the pulls. Tommy V, needing to redeem himself after last week’s failed attack, shot to the front and maintained a strong pace all the way to Frosty’s. Maybe he caught a whiff of stale NutterButters, or maybe he just wanted some alone time to think about that Swedish minx he met back in high school while visiting Niagara Falls, but for whatever reason he bid the group farewell at the next turn, leaving the Four Horseman to pile drive the pavement for the next 23 miles.

Coming into the wind-up stretch before the county line, McCarter backed off the pace and sent an alpha male snarl at the pack, letting us all know that any attempt to make an attack would be futile against his superior sprinting skills. Jones, playing the roll of happy-go-lucky puppy, plodded along at the back with Tony D, secretly planning to break things wide open at the last moment possible. Swan must have been thinking the same, and at 4 meters out, the entire group pounced. The pace was furious–topping out at 42 MPH–and had it not been for a farmer snapping photos of what he believed to be Martian invaders riding hovercraft, we wouldn’t have had proof of the first ever 4 man tie for the sprint win (Eds. note: the last sentence is patently untrue, but we left it in for entertainment value). Tony D was most elated with the co-win, but more spent than the money of a sorority girl’s daddy. He took the short route home at the crossroads, leaving McCarter, Jones, and Swan to fight out the last 17 miles.

Swan pulled the full stretch between the OGCHR and 54, and his pace left Jones a bit winded as he tried to stay strong up the false flat leading up to Snow Camp proper. McCarter dropped in late and deep–like Gerry Lopez at Pipeline—but pulled strong out of the barrel leading into the prologue before the hill sprint. As we rounded onto Damascus, McCarter threw out the question, “do ya’ll want to try to keep 20 or just battle it out for the sprint?” Swan gave the most obvious answer, “Both!” McCarter and Jones sensed the extra enthusiasm in Swan’s words and soon learned why. At the rise leading up to Meacham, Swan dipped a finger into the Blackberry jam hidden under his top tube and made the first attack. It was a strong effort, and Jones and McCarter both thought the game was over. But Swan was disoriented from the sugar high and completely missed the right turn onto Meacham. Jones and McCarter saw their opportunity and took it. Half way up the hill, Jones pulled to the front, with McCarter tight on his wheel. Up ahead, Collester materialized from the brambles and Jones used him as rabbit to chase down. McCarter, knowing that Jones would look right and give the G-man a jab, broke hard for the lead, leaving Jones to fight hard to catch his wheel. At the last meter, McCarter literally exploded—his jersey flew open, his helmet straps shredded, his legs caught fire—and Jones took the victory.

Learning that they had indeed averaged 20 for the ride, McCarter, Swan, Jones, and Collester soft-pedaled for the rest of the ride. Not much was spoken on the road home, but if I had to guess what was on our minds it would have been all smiles!

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