Is the title a bit confusing? It should be. Basically, there is a ride in these parts that takes place the same day as Paris Roubaix each year. It consists of a bunch of reasonable pavement, some crappy pavement and a bunch of dirt roads. Kinda sorta like Paris Roubaix just without the french accents and high Vo2 max's. It's really just a group ride with a bunch of regroups but the last 1/3 of the route (once we're at a point where noone will get lost) is GAME ON! with attacks galore as we run along Appleton Ridge and back into Searsmont. Most years I'm an idiot and push the pace early in the ride and then totally implode in those last 7-8 miles. It never helped that I usually rode to the ride start. It's about 42 miles there and, that early in my season, leaves me dragging towards the end of the ride. This year, for a number of reasons (mostly because I'm not in good enough shape)I drove to the ride. Good plan.
We rolled out with 18 guys on all manner of bikes. Most folks were on either cross bikes or road bikes. There were a couple of guys on single speed flat bar road bikes and one dude who was on a mountain bike. Mountain bike dude, we'll call him "Bill" since that's his name, also forgot his cycling shoes so was riding in sneakers with clipless pedals. Probably one of the worst experiences ever. Right up there with riding a recumbant in a crit. Honestly, I probably would have packed my stuff back up and driven home. I guess I'm a quitter.
Anyway, the first part of the ride was uneventful. No flat tires, nobody flew off the road on the washboardy dirt roads and most importantly, I didn't do anything really stupid. Sure, I attacked a couple of times and instigated a fast paceline with a few others that left the rest of the group in the dust (remember, it's ok to do that on this ride since we regroup often) but overall I kept everything in check.
One item of note is that I actually met a Racin Rick "fan". OK, he didn't actually say he was a fan, more that he reads the blog, but this is my blog and I can say what I want. Hmmm, in that case, this "fan" was a totally hot babe who totally wanted me.
That's "Bill" in the yellow sleeves. He stayed in the front group the whole time despite the sneakers.
Shortly after this pic was taken the final selection was made. I made a tiny little dig, followed by Trevina pushing the pace for a couple of minutes as well as a guy I'll call BBB (he had a back bay bikes jersey on) and Boulder Boy (a guy originally from boulder co and sporting a boulder sports kit) and of course sneakers Bill. We were now down to five.
BBB was the first to take a flyer. I'm not sure if it was a planned attack but he accelerated and was off the front for about five minutes. Once again, I fought my natural tendancy to sprint to his wheel (and bring the rest of the group with me) and instead we slowly realed him in. Maturity is the shit!
That's BBB up ahead there.
Once back together again the group slowed down a bit and we just lazily cruised along. That is until I noticed a small group trying to bridge up. No way was that going to happen. I made mention to everyone who would listen that they were bridging up hoping that someone else would take the initiative (and save me the tiring, tiring trouble) to pick up the pace. No one seemed game so, just as we crested a hill and Boulder Boy was at the front (he was my biggest mark), I dug in and shot off the front. It wasn't really an attack (I kind of thought Trevina was coming with me), but it was a pretty decent acceleration and before I knew it I had a sizeable gap and dreams of my first not race victory of the season.
From that point, I went into TT mode and drove and drove. On the last climb of the day I looked back to see BBB closing in on me. I though the jig was up but figured I might as well finish the climb before I cashed it in. Apparently BBB must have cracked though because by the time I was over the hill I had opened the gap back up and had a few hundred yard lead for the final 2-3 mile drive into town.
I had things in the bag right up until about 100 yards from the finish when I hit some bridge construction with a stop light. So just like that my lead evaporated. While sitting there "Bill" and BBB caught up and we not so patiently waited for the light. When it turned "Bill" and I practically ran over the car in front of us and I was able to edge him at the finish.
Hey Trevina (aka "My Biggest Fan") if you know folks names (BBB, Boulder Boy etc) shoot me a comment.