I had a Board meeting downtown today at 3:30. Rather than driving, I hopped on my old Raleigh that I had transitioned into a serviceable fixie for just this purpose. I keep it in the office. It was incredibly cold on this 1 mile commute and I was nearly regretting the decision.
I parked the bike in the rack by the Bakehouse and picked up 2 bags of granola for the second edition of the Wednesday Worlds tonight. I had 15 minutes to kill so I hung out there for a bit chatting with the staff. Then I walked over to the Bikesmiths and said hello to Adam Rodkey and Eric. The Board meeting was uneventful as these things go, and ended just about 5pm. I was grateful for the timing, checking my watch frequently, as I had to cycle back to the office and dress for the ride. I had the foresight to bring my cycling bag with me and road bike to the office despite the flurries this morning!
After gearing up, I cycled over to the Bicycle Garage and waited inside in the warmth for a few minutes chatting with Thomas Walsh and Fred and Ryan. Fred’s Uncle Roy was there and we talked a bit about Fred’s fairly remarkable early days at the shop! Kenneth (J’s Bikes and an IU student joined us). We cycled over to the Sample gates at 5:55 and were stung by the cold and wind as we sought shelter behind the massive structure there.
Soon, Paul Smith (Motion), Jacob Read, Warren Clayton, Fred Rose, Ryan Shanahan, James Calvetti, RJ Stuart (Texas Roadhouse) joined in the fun. Jon Atwell (Panther/Bakehouse) and Eric Anderson (Beta) met us on the way out. The eleven of us headed out of town, down Cascades and towards the Forest. I was glad that I had suggested, via social media, to do one lap today rather than the two that is normal. We agreed that the start/finish would be at the newly marked line just north of the bridge near Robinson road.
We headed out to the start in a steady fashion, not hard but not easy either. Near the start line, I moved to the front and dropped the two bags of Bakehouse Granola off at the line and caught back on the back of the group. Eric Anderson, had a go briefly, but the wind was formidable and he rejoined the group after a few minutes of some sub-threshold work. The climb after Anderson was to prove to be the first challenge as Clayton, then me, then Anderson faded off the back, Leaving eight in the selection ahead. Eric was done for the day and was riding at his own pace. I trudged on to chase the group ahead. Two others were disengaged ahead, and they became my quarry but I would never be able to bridge, despite the voices inside my head urging me on, often disparagingly.
I caught glimpses of the two often, after Beanblossom on the long, desolate sections of Anderson and then again on Old 37. But they proved to be elusive. I couldn’t identify the second group and could only imagine the agony of the six that made it through. I thought that I would meet the group on Firehouse hill but the temperatures kept all at a brisk tempo I am sure after the ‘event’.
I stopped to check for my musette bag that transported the granola prizes for first and second place, but not seeing it by the finish line, I continued home through the bitter cold of this last day of winter and the first day of spring!
The others will have to report on the activities at the business end of the ordeal. As for the author, I am glad to have had the opportunty to chase and not give in to turning back, as there is no shame in the hunt.