The Oldest Man On the Road

I have to type my date of birth to get into this blog page.  It’s kind of annoying.  It was so very long ago.  I was the oldest rider tonight at WW.  Someone asked why I still ride with the very competitive group out here, turning myself inside out each Wednesday.  I replied, “Because I still can.”  But I know my place.  And it’s less and less about me now.  And that’s fitting.  I am fine with watching from the back, giving up my place in the paceline to a younger rider, albeit begrudgingly.  Watching this beautiful thing that we create each Wednesday night.  Like a beautiful painting, the more you look at it the more you see and knowing that only few know what to really look for.  Tonight about 30 riders came out to the art exhibit at 446 and Knightridge.  A tough and challenging 4 miler with two little power hills.  We agreed on 7 laps tonight.

There were more than 30 at the start.  I am a counter, as you know from previous posts.  I counted 36 on the roads heading out to 446 and we picked up at least 5 others on the road.  We decided to do this course despite a chip-and-seal approach by the county to get the road surface up to date.  But that was a couple of weeks ago.  I surveyed the course a couple of days ago and reported back on Twitter (@tsaccone) and suggested that we get back out here tonight.

A big storm system had run through the area late in the afternoon , but had blown itself out by the time we met at the Sample Gates at 6PM.  There’s construction there so we met under one of the trees on Indiana Avenue.  There were many teams represented; Scholars Inn Bakehouse, (Fred Rose, Thomas Walsh, Spencer Brauchla, Shane Slaven, Kevin Hays, Lyle Feigenbaum, James Calvetti, Brendan Wise, Dan Schnur), Upland (Chris Kroll, Tim Nixon, John Cody Woods), Bissel (Kevin Depasse, Graham Dewart), Racing for Riley (Tom Cox), Harley Davidson, (Isaiah Newkirk), Motion (Paul Smith, Turner Duncan), Wright Cycling, CSF, MOB (Karim Abdelkader), Brooks Integrative Training (Hans Ibold), BKB, DRT (Tomasz Golas, Chris Arvin), Jordan Bailey, a few others.

Seven laps changes the structure of the race just slightly over its less aggressive 6 laps that we’ve been doing.  What’s another 4 miles?  We’ll, it can be agony.   Tonight started out uneventfully enough and the author was grateful for that.  Nonetheless, a small attack had the effect of dropping ten riders off of the pace on the second lap when a well represented break got a few seconds advantage on the group and it included Newkirk, Rose, Duncan and K. Depasse.  It was kept in check but kept the pace for the field high as we sorted out the next steps.  A few other attacks ensued once the foursome was brought back into the fold but nothing materialized until the fourth lap when Dewart took a flyer and won the coveted Bakehouse granola prime.  He took a few riders with him, but the horsepower at the front of the group would prove too much and all was one as we headed into the final lap.

Kroll had flatted on lap 4 and rejoined for the finale and dialed up the pressure heading up the climbs.  the rest of us were put into great difficulty by this and the trains beginning to form at the front from Upland, Motion and  Bakehouse.  It’s no Tour de France, but I could see from my vantage point that the represented teams did make an effort to keep their riders near the front until the pressure just got to great for the rest of us.  In the end it was Tim Nixon out sprinting Tom Cox for a well deserved victory tonight.  My computer had stopped working earlier (like in April!) but someone had said that we averaged over 26 mph for the 28 miles of racing.  Not a bad effort for a Wednesday night.  Just the right amount of effort, speed and results for those getting ready for the Indy Crit this weekend and The state road race on the 20th, or the bigger venues throughout the region.    So, all of us tonight, regardless of our finish contribute, in no small way to the health of cycling in Bloomington and throughout the Midwest.   Never think that just because you get dropped or you falter in the final moments that you don’t matter.  You do.  Your participation and willingness to test yourself on these roads with the significant talent that we’ve cultured here in Bloomington is an important piece of the story and our history until the time that you can take your turn at the front of the pack.