I spent the majority of the day yesterday on the bike, but not all of it moving! I was at Little 5 quals taking in the local action, rolling slowly around the tarmac around the track several times, admiring the hundred or so thoroughbreds assembled. A precursor to my own horse camp I would attend the following day. I left the track in the middle of the day to meet the Bakehouse ride at noon. A small group was in attendance as most prior attendees were still at the track or at Hillsborough-Roubaix, an early season road race. Hans Ibold (Joes), Colin Allen and Kevin Hays (Bakehouse), Fritz Breihaupt, Shane Slavin started. The entire Cutters team arrived after they qualified, but were doing a west course. The rest of us left for Mahalasville for a sunny afternoon ride.
I was planning on leaving the group early to get back to the track to watch some more Bakehouse riders compete, so I turned on Robinson. Colin wasn’t feeling well and came along. We traversed to Tunnel and then 45 back to campus and the track. I stayed there until 2:30 and was invited on a recovery ride with the AEP riders and I met them at the eastside Bakehouse. Aaron Pilling was in town for the quals and lead the small group for an hour south on 446 and then back again. I tagged along.
I woke this morning to snowshowers. But the weather was showing a gap in precipitation from 10-3 today, perfect for a trip to the flashers and back! IU was playing Temple in the NCAA tournament at 2:45, so we wanted to watch that as well. I headed over to the downtown Bakehouse on the bike anticipating a small group for the same reasons above. I picked up a cup of coffee and sat down. Andreas (an IU prof and frequent participant on weekend rides) was sitting down with his family, but not riding, nursing a running injury. I sat at an adjacent table and we chatted for a bit. Soon Chris Kroll (Upland) showed up and then James Calvetti (Scholars). Lyle was there too, but had some business to attend to. The three of us left at noon and headed south out of town. Out near Clarizz, Ryan Knapp (Panther/Bakehouse) and RJ Stuart (Texas Roadhouse) met us. Jon Atwell (Panther/Bakehouse) was ahead on 446 just ahead of us. Knapp, Atwell, Stuart and Calvetti all had good days in the saddle yesterday at Hillsborough and a lot of the discussion between the pairs was on that subject.
We turned on 446 from Moores and were met with a significant crosswind but slightly from behind. Kroll and Stuart took the front and set off after Atwell dangling out in front. They soon connected and the six of us settled in for a long, cold day. Kroll and Stuart continued their impressive pull for nearly 5 miles. Knapp offered to switch places with me, letting me seek shelter on the lee side of the small group. He paired with Atwell. Calvetti and I were the final pair. Knapp and Atwell pulled as well for several miles and relinquished the point to me and Calvetti just as the road began to descend! A gift! We pulled through the county line and just as the base of the long climb before the first flashers came into view. The wind was howling now and putting a lot of pressure on the group but the climb was brisk as Atwell and Stuart drove the pace with Kroll and Knapp tapping out a tempo just behind. To this point our average speed was near 23 mph since we made the turn onto 446. Calvetti dropped off the pace after burning too many matches on the prior pull and from his extraordinary effort during yesterday’s battle. I held on until the pace quickened near the top and my world got dark letting the group go as the flashers came into view. The four horsemen continued through the first flashers and on up the next climb and into the distance, leaving destruction in their wake. I turned for home and into the headwind on this overcast day with Calvetti. He turned back to the meet the four leaders near Knightridge, no doubt coming at full steam and I continued back to town. Alone.
After showering, I received a nice text from Ryan Knapp. “Another 90 seconds and you would have made it to the end!” I know that he was just being polite, but that the most important part of a team ride is just showing up. And if you continue to do just this, your fitness will improve as you take a chance at matching your fitness with the finest racers in the midwest. I put the bike up in the rack for a cleaning and smiled as the first bits of sleeting rain were beginning to fall.