Sunday, February 28, 2010

End of February Rides – and welcome back to a biking buddy

Saturday Feb 27, 2010
Those in attendance included;
Jen Serino – Slow Jen Fizz – came early in hopes to get some work done (WHAT?)
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Kevin Smit – GOG (Glistening Older Gentleman)
Rob Robertson – second time with the group
Carrie Zelna – Mother Goose
Don Zelna – Earned a nickname on the days ride – know now as – “Track Stand”.
Steve Cope – Capn Carbon formally also known as – The Chihuahua– The Angry Chipmunk – The Gnat.
Josh Carter – Moving Violation
David Bridenbaugh – Mr. Bridenbaugh
Joe Pitman – Immortal Man
Steve Mark – back riding with the group after 4 or 5 months.
Karen Kemerait
Frank Lewis
Todd Pechner
– Slow Todd
Eric ????
Dwight Moulton – stopped in again for a bagel run but no bike ride.

The temperature at the start would have been pleasant enough to have ridden without a jacket, however the wind was sharp and cut through to the skin without a jacket to protect against it.
So jackets were in order.

At the start GOG asked if there were any time constraints for the group. Several riders indicated they needed to be back by 11:30 and two suggested they needed to be back by 11 am. With this information GOG designed a route that would allow for at least two points for groups to turn early in the ride. He made it known that no one should be allowed to head back solo so he asked them to please make sure they had others willing to turn early. GOG is always willing to turn early or go slower than the pack so most riders were not concerned about riding solo, or getting dropped.

The riders rolled out of the back parking lot and out onto High House. The wind was a factor both in making it feel colder than the thermometer recorded, and tougher than the speedometer recorded.

Mother Goose was particularly worried about the days ride due to lack of ROSES on the ride. The group that had assembled and that was now charging down High House was comprised of THORNS, and maybe one or two STEMS.

GOG new he had to keep Mother Theresa in his mirror while attempting the Sheppard the THORNS at each turn. This became immediately impossible at the first short climb in the ride. Mother Theresa was gapped as the THORNS rolled easily up the first hill in the Preston Neighborhood. Mother Theresa was still climbing the hill as the THORNS were dashing across Davis Drive and on towards the roundabout. GOG had positioned himself between the THORNS and Mother Theresa in an effort to reach either group as needed. The THORNS were all focused on themselves and the potential for a fast run down RONS PULL or the attack up Carpenter Jenks, or whatever road GOG points them to as they head out of Cary. The gap widened as Mother Theresa was crossing Davis while the THORNS were swinging into the roundabout. Then with a degree of situational awareness the THORNS reluctantly slowed sensing someone was missing. The pace slowed as the group coasted towards the turn at the Yellow barn/big Chicken intersection. GOG saw this happening and pushed towards the THORNS knowing he needed to convey his plan for the days ride. The THORNS did not wait at the intersection. They rolled left as if they were reading GOGs mind. The only THORN that demonstrated a concern to see who all was there was MR. Bridenbaugh. As he turned his head to make his observation he caught GOG signaling him to drop back as GOG was beckoning to him. Without hesitation Mr. Bridenbaugh pulled out of the pack and turned back to join GOG who was still not to the most recent intersection.

“OK, I will hang back and sweep and keep Mother Theresa company” , “ You lead the THORNS”, “Plan to do RONS PULL, then either the Three Ugly Sisters, or UP CHUCK”. GOG was heard as he provided key phrases only rather than a full description of the ride. “I don’t know the Three Ugly Sisters” Mr. Bridenbuagh informed GOG. “Cary Glenn, It is also known as Nicole’s Roller Coaster when coming from the other direction” GOG went on to inform. Mr. Bridenbaugh acknowledged with a head nod.

“At any rate take them to the top of UP CHUCK and then across New HOPE past Mount Pisgah to highway 751” GOG continued to explain. “Then head to Martha Chapel, Folks that need to head back early can stay straight to the Strawberry Patch, everyone else heads to Lake Jordan.” “Then for those wanting more miles take them to the Lystra Gas Station and then back Home either on Martha Chapel or Hollands Chapel”. I will sweep and hope to keep your group in my sights as I do so.
As these instructions were being completed Mother Theresa rounded the corner and had closed the gap significantly. Now the pack was closing in on the next turn. Capn Carbon was looking back as if to be asking what way do we go. Then he spied GOG way in the back signaling to make the right turn onto Carpenter Upchurch Road aka “RON’s PULL”.

With delight the THORNS launched themselves onto that section of road. This would be the first of many opportunities for them to attack each other to then be followed by a short rest and recovery. This behavior would be repeated several times during the days ride. This behavior is one of the distinguishing attributes of how this group rides. If a rider is looking for a long fast steady draft line to ride in they would be greatly disappointed. This group does not seem to possess the level of concentration required for that type of ride. Most are on the THORNS ride to socialize, and do more of the speed play – attack and recover style of riding. Banter is a requirement in this group.

The ROSES are clearly the most social and have no instinct to attack one another.

The STEMS are THORN wanabes but lack the conditioning or the killer instinct required to participate fully in an attack. STEMS are usually used by the THORNS as Domestics. The STEMS end up in the pull position for long periods as the THORNS use that time to recover from the previous attack. As the ride closes in on its last few miles the STEMS are shed as the THORNS attack, attack, attack each other to sort out the Strongest/most skilled among them.

Oddly enough this group can show and support this level of diversity as well as supporting the SPIRIT of a “NO DROP” philosophy. If a rider has issues be they mechanical or physical, support will be provided from within the pack. NO ONE RIDES SOLO.

Back to the ride.
The THORNS had stretched themselves out along ‘RON’s PULL” forming a single file. Mother Theresa was tucked in tight behind GOG who monitored her position to ensure she was not gapped by him as he was also working to not be gapped by those ahead of him. The pack was just starting to wind up when a traffic jam ahead forced all to sit up and coast to a gradual stop.

“Who picked this route” barked Immortal Man. “We could turn around and go towards Holt” he went on to explain. GOG took this in and considered just that thought as Slow Todd slid past the line of cars to assess the situation ahead. Apparently Green Hope High school was sponsoring a run. This had the entire north bound lane closed by the police. They were shuffling the traffic pattern by alternating groups of cars in each direction. Slow Todd returned to announce our group would be turned loose just after then next black car went by from the opposite direction. Less than a minute passed before the cars and cyclists began to slowly travel in the desired direction. No strong pull or long draft line formed due to the congestion, and the fact that the pack was interwoven amongst the line of cars.

Once past Ron’s Pull the pack made their way to Carpenter Fire Station Road, again a busy road that would lead the pack out of town. The group rode single file with all riders still in tow. The pace on this stretch of road typically ranges between 17 and 20 miles per hour. Today was no exception even with a bit of strong head wind. As the pack closed in on Cary Glenn Capn Carbon and Mr. Bridenbaugh glanced over their shoulders in an attempt to make eye contact with GOG. GOG was pointing straight ahead signaling that they would likely be headed towards UPCHUCK.

The pack was intact as the group slowed and then glided through the left turn from Carpenter Fire Station onto Yates Store. Each rider looked to see what gear they were in and to make appropriate gear changes in anticipation of the fast down-hill, momentum draining flat section, and then GRAVITY CRUSHING CLIMB known to all as UPCHUCK. The attack on the downhill had the group totally scattered as each rider elected to approach the pending climb with a different solution. Some would coast the downhill and spin on the flat in an effort to start the climb spun out and in an easier gear. Some pushed a big gear on the downhill building enough momentum to support the big gear demand for at least a third of the climb to be followed with either rapid shifting into easier gear, and/or standing as the pressure on the peddles demanded more power.

GOG was near the back of the pack. He was unable to focus on the outcome of the climb beyond his own survival, so he cannot report who took the poke a dot jersey. Once at the top of the climb GOG realized the pack already had enough information to continue their ride across New Hope Church Road towards 751. GOG circled at the top for Mother Theresa, who was being accompanied by Mother Goose. Rob Robertson had slowed and was waiting to see if GOG needed help. Mother Goose saw that GOG was circling and handed off Mother Theresa into his charge. Mother Goose then charged on forward to close the gap on the THORNS. Rob was torn between waiting on GOG, and joining Mother Goose in the chase down of the pack. “I got her, you go on” yelled GOG to Rob. By then Mother Goose was well down the road leaving Rob in no man’s land. He was trapped there the entire length of New Hope Church Road. To make matters worse all were faced with a stiff head wind, and Rob had no one to draft.

“You go on ahead, I do not want to slow you down, I am going to turn around at 751” Mother Theresa was informing GOG. “I do not want you to ride alone” replied GOG. “No one should ride alone” he went on to add.

Now faced with a real dilemma. GOG was working to figure out how to let the pack go without him so he could ensure Mother Theresa was not left alone on the road. Who should he assign as the sweep if he is not able to continue on the designated route. Somehow Mother Theresa could see this conflict for GOG and without saying a word picked up the pace and pushed on towards 751 where the pack was now waiting for their arrival. As the two joined the group Mother Theresa informed GOG that she was OK just needed a short break to blow her nose. “Capn”, “No Need to hold the group up any more”, “Theresa and I will follow and pick up anyone who falls off the back”. “Those that want to turn early can do so at the Strawberry patch, or at the end of Martha’s Chapel Road” GOG was now providing his final ride instructions to Capn Carbon and Mr. Bridenbaugh. Mother Theresa was still focused on her nose as the pack jumped onto 751 headed for several long hills and the turn at Martha’s Chapel Road.

GOG and Mother Theresa slowly slid onto 751 and prepared themselves for the heavy traffic and tough hills that lay ahead. Mother Theresa used the slow climbs on that stretch of road to practice License plate recognition. As each car passed on the uphill section she would try and memorize the license plate. She would like for each rider to learn how to capture license plate numbers, along with vehicle model, make and color information in the event the group encounters drivers who are unable/unwilling to share the road. It has been the group’s experience that when confronted by one of these types of drivers no one has the awareness to get that information. Most of the time the riders are startled and focused on their cycling skills to avoid an incident rather than looking to identify any information that could be communicated to the authorities. The dilemma even then is that the authorities can do little without a 3 rd party witness to any event. Still the only power a cyclist has in a situation like that is to remain in control of the bike, while gaining vital information of the incident, and then reporting that as accurately as possible to the authorities. It has been told to this group in the past that when that happens the police will visit the driver and inform them of a complaint, put them on notice, and then explain the rules of the road, and request that the next time they encounter cyclists on the road they provide for safe passage by all. Who knows maybe this will save a cyclist from that drivers bad habits next time, and it maybe you who is passed carefully and courteously by that driver.

GOG and Mother Theresa were the last two to the turn at Martha’s Chapel. The THORNS were no ware in sight. The two settled into a nice smooth run down towards Lake Jordan with Mother Theresa tucked in out of the wind behind the body mass of GOG. As the two cyclists rolled up to the intersection of Martha’s Chapel and Farrington they observed two cyclists headed back up, it was Slow Todd and Eric. They elected to head back due to the time constraints. In addition GOG and Mother Theresa spied the pack all bunched up at the intersection taking on water and a short rest. As the two glided up to the back of the pack Capn Carbon spoke “We are all headed back from here, no one care to do the run up to the Lystra Gas station.”

With that information the pack was directed left onto Farrington and the section of road known as “Kevin’s Crawl”. Capn Carbon looked at GOG and signaled with his head and shoulders in a gesture that suggested GOG should take his honored spot at the front of the pack for his typical pull up “Kevin’s Crawl”. GOG replied “No Thanks, Don’t have it in me today”. GOG fell to the back of the pace line as the group began the pull up the hill. Within a ¼ mile GOG found himself reaching for the rhythm that powers him up the incline. Slowly his cadence responded to the ever increasing pressure of the hill. Realizing he was indeed speeding up GOG pulled out wide and began to walk past one cyclist after another until sliding back into line near the front of the pack. The group crested “Kevin’s Crawl” at 20 mph. A great run for being early in the season. This splintered the group with all coming together once again as they made the next left turn onto Holland’s Chapel road.

The previous push up “Kevin’s Crawl” lit a spark in the THORNS who were now pushing the pace at 18 – 21 mph with others doing all they could to hold on. GOG and Mother Theresa never had a chance and were happy to survive as best they could together to complete the days ride. They did notice at least one additional rider who was off the back of the pack and in no-mans land. It was Rob Robertson pushing against the wind unassisted. These cyclists remained separated and in sight of each other all the way to the Strawberry Patch and onto Lewter Shop as it leads the way back into Cary.
Then suddenly a pack of cyclists were identified as they bunched up on the edge of the road. The THORNS were all hovering around chatting and watching as Capn Carbon was observed helping Immortal Man change a flat tire.
GOG and Mother Theresa approached the group just seconds after Rob Robertson had made his stop.
“ What?, the THORNS can’t sustain the speed without long stops alongside the road” scoffed GOG.
Just at that moment Rob decided he would head on down the road to get a slight head start. This startled the THORNS who were torn between protecting one of theirs or taking chase to ensure no one gets ahead of them.
“Lets go” demanded GOG. “They can catch us” he went on to inform the group.
“Capn can pull me back to the pack” Immortal Man assured his peers.
“What path were you planning to lead the group back on Mr. Bridenbuagh” asked GOG. “Right at White Oak, and then straight on in on Green Level” was Mr. Bridenbaugh’s command.
With that all but Mr. Bridenbaugh, Capn Carbon, Immortal Man, and Don Zelna jumped on their bikes and headed down the road. Don actually had started but a phone call held him back as he stopped to answer it, meanwhile his wife “Mother Goose” was already in hot pursuit of the pack and the breakaway Rob Robertson.

There was no visible attack at the county line, at least no one in sight of GOG who was unable to latch onto the THORNS from their earlier pit stop. The THORNS did slow just long enough to make a tentative right turn at what they believed to be White Oak Church road. In doing so they looked back to get a signal from GOG as to the correctness of the maneuver. In the distance GOG signaled as large as he could for all to see his concurrence of their most recent maneuver. As GOG made that turn most of those in front, including Mother Theresa, were already at the bottom of the hill and preparing for the climb up White Oak past the Tobacco trail entrance. GOG was the last to the next intersection. Rob had already committed to a left turn, the others were patiently waiting for the car behind them to make a move, and to once again gain conformation from GOG. “Left turn here and stay straight all the way back to brueggers”, “Please be careful on High house when we have to cross 4 lanes of traffic to get back into the parking lot”. As GOG was completing this last set of instructions the pack rolled away and on down the hill on Green Level towards Cary. He initially caught up with Rob who was riding comfortably. “Back there on Holland Chapel I thought I was doing really well.” “I was riding strong at 18 mph and yet the pack was pulling away from me as if I was standing still”. “I realize I am not ready for them yet”. Rob reported to GOG. “You are riding well”. “Especially early in the season, and having never ridden in a group before”. GOG said in an effort to encourage additional visits from Rob back to the group rides.

Then the climb up Green Level prior to it changing names to High House began to bog the riders down. No position changes occurred just larger gaps between groups and individual riders. As GOG crested the hill he checked on the status of those behind and was anticipating the return of Capn Carbon, Mr. Bridenbuaugh, Don, and Immortal man. Sure enough in his mirror he could see a small pack racing up the hill towards him. The pack had actually splintered into two riders a gap, a third rider, a gap and a forth rider.

Then a sudden change in air pressure announced the approach of a fast moving locomotive from behind. WHOOOOSH a blue steak was observed out of the corner of the eye as first Mr. Bridenbaugh careened past with Capn Carbon in tow. The swirl of wind was just dying down as Immortal Man rode up to GOG, coasted long enough along side to explain “THEY CRUSHED ME ON THE HILL”. Then in a short burst he accelerated in a effort to announce he had his second wind and was up for the challenge. He set his sights on the cyclists up ahead and pushed to close the gap on them. Don Zelna was the next to glide up beside GOG and he too was amazed at the power and strength of those who he had been drafting in an effort to catch back up to the pack. “I just could not hold on any longer” he said in short gasping spurts. Don then settled down into a pace that matched GOG’s. Together they rode onto the edge of Cary. The light at highway 55 allowed for a short rest before the groups made their way onto High House. It was at this intersection that Beth Gonzalez and her daughter honked their horn in an effort to say Hi to the group of cyclists. GOG caught who they were but had no strength to return the acknowledgment.

As the cyclists pushed the peddles edging their bikes ever closer to Cary Don and Rob were out in front of GOG and Mother Theresa. It was just after the bridge and the set of lights that allow traffic to pass thru the intersection in an orderly fashion that GOG caught up. As he did so Don had slowed in an effort to ask if they should turn there or go straight, Rob has slid up to Don on Don’s left side, and GOG was just pulling up along side Rob. And then….. Just like Arty Johnson (riding a trike and falling over on Rowan And Martin’s Laugh-in), DON slowly fell to his right with feet still clipped into his peddles. This spawned a few honks from cars as they too enjoyed the show. Don scrambled to recover his feet only to wrap himself up tighter into the bike frame. A perfect demonstration of how NOT to do a “TRACK STAND”. This maneuver has been repeated many times by many many cyclists, they just didn’t do it in front of GOG who has the duty of providing nicknames for riders in the group. So Don Zelna will now be known within the THORNS and ROSES as TRACK STAND.

Once recovered from his mishap Don took chase as GOG was still laughing when he rolled up to Don’s wife Mother Goose to inform her that DON had Crashed. GOG provided no more information as he now slid past the stunned and concerned Mother Goose. Within seconds Don was there to indicate he was OK.
At the lights on High House and Davis Drive Don and the others caught GOG waiting for Green. “Thanks a lot for ratting on me” he said to GOG in complete disappointment that something so trivial was worth reporting to his wife who was now laughing at him. Rob Robertson was quick to point out the most obvious “Oh you don’t have to worry about having your wife being the only person who will learn of your fall”. “I suspect you might read about it in a BLOG somewhere” and with a wink Rob was the first thru the Green light.
The ride produced 31 miles at an average speed of 15 mph for the Stems/Rose. The THORNS average was clearly better even though the elapsed time due to all the stops was almost identical to the Stems and Rose. A fun ride that had something for everyone. Lots of Thank You’s from those in attendance. “I always get a great work out with the attack and recovery style rides” Slow Jen Fizz was heard as she was sharing her appreciation on how the group rides.

Thank YOU all for helping form the unique character of the group and its rides.
Lets continue to work together to provide what each is looking for in a safe, fun, ride.
Remember “Never Take Yourself Too Seriously”.

Sunday February 28th.

Another windy day, that forced layers of clothing on what should have been a warm day per the thermometer.

In attendance;
Emil Veaszquez – not on his city cruiser – he was on a serious tri bike.
David Bridenbaugh - Mr. Bridendbaugh
Theresa Smit – Mother Theresa
Jay Brainard
Kevin Smit – GOG
Jeffery Roussel – Down Hill Racer. – Jeff had not been back on his bike since the crash and broken collar bone sustained on one of last year’s rides. It is great to have him back in the saddle, and in the group.

The days ride started with very low energy. The group was missing the small energy power plant known as Capn Carbon. Capn has a very infectious energy level that sets sparks flying just by him being around.
In addition each individual was standing with their hands in there arm pits in an effort to remain warm with the wind cutting thru all layers of clothing and underlying epidermis. GOG looked at Emil and Mr. Bridenbaugh to detect the level of effort they were hoping to participate in. These two riders were the only make up of the THORNS, the rest of the riders were emitting body language that suggested they would like to be classified at the start as ROSES.

GOG’s feeble brain was working the situation as a improviser might do when thrown an odd suggestion from the audience. How does he turn that suggestion (the weather, the mix and number of riders at the start) into a ride all can enjoy and benefit from?
He first approached Emil. “Any expectations for the days ride?” he asked. The perfect open ended question, designed to challenge the recipient to either quickly reply with a “what ever” style response, or if Truly a strong need is expressed it would be delivered with great detail. Either way GOG would have more information to work with. “I am here just to ride, no real need for distance or speed”. Emil was happy to provide. GOG looked at Mr. Bridenbaugh who after Emil’s response would be the only THORN left to express his needs. Mr. Bridenbaugh has been riding with the group long enough to understand, nourish, and lead the “Spirit” of the ride and its participants. His look back at GOG suggested he would support anything for the days ride. GOG had all the information required to make an executive decision designed to support all in attendance.

“Jay how about you take us on the RTP route” GOG was heard as he delegated to one of the many who are capable of leading a group on a safe fun ride. GOG is learning to engage others in the route design and leadership of this dynamic group of cyclists. Shared Ownership can be a positive experience as long as those sharing the responsibility keep the concept and spirit consistent.
“OK” was Jays reply, as she heartily accepted the leadership role for the day’s ride.

The ride followed the standard path out of brueggers onto the streets of Cary and into the Preston neighborhood. Emil, Mr. Bridenbuagh and GOG rode slightly ahead of Down Hill Racer (who was still working through early season adjustments). He was riding ahead of Mother Theresa and Jay. None were attacking out of respect for what was expected to be a casual ride with all staying together.

GOG confidently guided Mr. Bridenbaugh, Down Hill Racer, and Emil to make a right turn at the Giant Chicken. As all three riders aligned themselves onto Lewis Stevens they could hear a shrill “KEVIN”. This was followed by GOG signaling to those behind that he was slowing and stopping to investigate the alarm. In looking back they all saw Jay and Mother Theresa make a left hand turn at the Giant Chicken. “Ah They Pulled a GOG maneuver on YOU” taunted Mr. Bridenbaugh. All turned and headed towards Jay the ride leader to fall in line. Upon reaching her she informed GOG “I do not want to miss out on a strong pull and run down RON’s PULL”. Wow who would have known that the ROSES love to turn up the volume and push the pace. Actually it has been reported they enjoy a solid effort from each ROSE participating in a rotating draft line. They have even been observed coaching each other in the proper techniques of drafting and taking turns in the pull position. Their approach is designed to challenge each rider without dropping them from the draft line, more a team spirited effort than and individually focused effort.
The run down RON’s PULL started with Mother Theresa taking the pull position. She was observed holding a steady line as she guided those behind her in ever increasing tempo and speed. She did this while responding to a very strong head wind. NICE JOB.
GOG was in line behind Emil who was behind Jay who had taken the second spot in the draft line. Down Hill Racer was tucked in behind GOG and Mr. Bridenbaugh was acting as sweep. Down Hill Racer was doing a solid job of showing no fear in the draft line. It was a draft line incident that had resulted in last year’s crash and broken collar bone for Down Hill Racer. The single file continued for well over a ½ mile with Mother Theresa solidly in the Pull position. GOG was waiting for Mother Theresa to pull out and glide into place at the end of the pace line, but she was unwilling to relinquish the reins. GOG then looked for someone in the pack to pull out and push to the front and take the reins from Mother Theresa. None responded. GOG then pulled out of the draft line and pushed slowly to the front. “Solid Pull Theresa”, “It’s my turn now” GOG said as he acknowledged the strong effort by that ROSE. GOG was shocked at how strong the head wind was and reflected again to himself how well Mother Theresa did at the Pull position against the wind. To better describe the effort that had been provided by Mother Theresa GOG was unable to increase the speed much beyond that provided earlier by her.
GOG continued to control the front of the pace line, checking periodically in his mirror to monitor for any gaps and then adjust speed accordingly in an effort to keep all in tight formation.
The Pack was directed to make the right turn at the end of Ron’s Pull and then to stay straight, missing the usual left turn onto Carpenter Fire Station. The pack instead was guided to the left turn onto Koppers Road, and back into a combative head wind. GOG was sensing that Emil was itching to practice his attack and recovery skills. He observed Emil sliding out of the draft line, making a short run up the side of the draft line, and then coasting back into position. Mr. Bridenbaugh was riding solidly confident of his own skills as he sat comfortably at the end of the pace line. His body language projected the confidence of a strong rider who could easily respond to any challenge from any and all riders on the days ride. This was demonstrated as the pack rounded the turn towards Davis drive. It was at that point in the ride when his cell phone rang. “You guys go on, I will take this call, and then catch up”, he said calmly. Sure enough by the time the pack reached the stop light at Davis Drive, Mr. Bridnbaugh was back in the pace line. Once across Davis Dr. Down Hill Racer elected to break away. He was definitely testing out his reactions, conditioning, bike functionality, and mended shoulder. His effort was sustained the entire length of McCrimmon Parkway. He was followed by Emil who was happy to respond by dancing on his peddles to close the gap produced by Down Hill Racers break-away move. The two break-away riders were smart enough to slow down to check the status of the packs next turn. Sure enough everyone was being directed to make a left turn onto Church Street placing all rider smack in the face of a head wind. GOG found himself once again in the lead of the group. Emil was on GOGs wheel, followed by Down Hill Racer, and Mr. Bridnbaugh. Mother Theresa and Jay both had dropped a considerable distance back as they did not attack the turn as aggressively.

The Pace line that had been established slowly splintered the remaining pack, with Emil making his break as GOG was struggling to maintain 13 mph into the head wind. Emil exploded past as if to ask “Is that all you got GOG?”.
The pack regrouped at Church and Highway 54.
After a short pause the group was directed onto Highway 54 towards RTP. Emil still feeling strong shot on past everyone and rode at least one city block ahead of the other riders. The wind was very strong and all others fought to make head way against it. As the pack closed in on their next turn Emil was already headed thru the light at that intersection. GOG elected not to shout out to Emil regarding the turn he was missing due to the fact that his voice would not be able to travel more than a few inches before the wind would throw it back in his face. Instead GOG and the others signaled their intention in hopes the Emil would glance back soon to check on the others. Sure enough just as Emil finished crossing the intersection he glanced back to see he had indeed missed the next turn. His timing allowed him to quickly adjust, make the turn, and wait on the other side of the turn for the pack to perform a more controlled left hand maneuver.
The group split slightly again into two groups as they rode in a strong cross wind that played with the front wheels of the riders bikes. The group was now traveling Hopson drive as it headed back towards Lewis Stevens and Highway 55. The crossed a area where large bulldozers and earthmovers were clearing the way for the planned route of 540. As they slowed and regrouped at Davis drive GOG suggested the following “How about we shorten the route some”. “I would vote for that” responded Mr. Bridenbaugh. No one else voted either way so majority ruled. “OK, Lets turn at Lewis Stevens and stay straight on it to the end, then short run down Davis and into the neighborhood, past their pool, and out back onto Koppers Road, that will take us straight all the way back to the BIG CHICKEN” announced Jay as she continued to provide solid leadership for the days ride. “I am looking forward to the tail wind we should get on Lewis Stevens” squealed Emil. Down Hill Racer almost cringed with the realization that having Emil announce is expectation of a tail wind might have likely jinxed every-one with a switch in the head wind direction.
The group swung easily onto Lewis Stevens. Emil and Mr. Bridenbaugh took full advantage of the tail wind and charged on ahead of the group. Jay, Mother Theresa, Down Hill Racer, and GOG all took turns riding solo and at times with at least one other in the group. This was the first time there was any casual chit chat on the ride, no Banter however.
The riders regrouped at Davis, with Mr. Bridnbaugh and Emil both charging onto the next set of turns as described by the ride leader, once that information was provided (again).
The pack did not regroup until all had made their way past the neighborhood pool and back out onto Old Maynard Road. “I did not know these roads were back here, and I did not know there was an OLD MAYNARD ROAD” Mr. Bridenbaugh said in amazement. The group then headed straight off of OLD MAYNARD and back onto Koppers road and the straight shot home to the turn at the BIG CHICKEN.
The rest of the ride was completed quietly as each rider was now coming to grips with the end of the days ride. Some were thinking to themselves “this was too slow, easy, and short, but glad I rode”. Some were thinking “Not bad for having been off the bike with a broken collar bone”. Some were thinking “ tough ride for as short as it was”. The ride ended with all returning safely to the end Down Hill Racer had the most miles since he rode to the start of the ride. The rest of the riders completed 24 miles at a 14+ mph average.