I am not a fan of the local Saturday a.m. BikeSouth ride ... too early, to short and frankly to much squirrelly testosterone. A good mix of racers, strong recreational riders and some pretenders too. In any event, it usually shakes out the cobwebs in the legs, starts the heart through the roof and puts an order to the peloton very quickly. I only go if there is no race, no cookie ride, no mountain opportunity and I am just plain bored. I decided to go this day because of the above mentioned and threat of rain around lunch (Mother Nature delivered right on cue).
I always tell myself to chill, watch moves unfold and enjoy from the pack. Never seems to be the case with so little self control. And anytime there are two or more cyclists, there seems to be a race. We actually got further out than I thought before attacks started flying. At least we got a warm up in. One of the local college kids jumps on the first real hill and the flurries begin.
As much riding as I do out South you would think I know the names of these roads and local highways by now. I know them well, but not by name or number, simply by right or left. We were somewhere in Fort Mill near the US Foodservice distribution facility - flat stretch, great TT section. I jumped on and filed it out for another warmup. I pull over and one of the local bike shop employees jumps (Cat 2) and the college kid goes with (Cat 2) and there forms the break. Do I even need to say that Carolina Flyers missed the move and had over 10 guys there? I guess I do. I was waiting for them to pull it back and they certainly gave effort, but I closed it down (remember, it is my blog and my recollection of how the events occurred) on Doby Bridge.
Once it came back, the pack put it on chill as they always do on that stretch in fear of the Doby Bridge climb. Everybody sits in and recovers and waits and tries like hell to pounce, to cover and to hang on for dear life. Four or 5 guys broke off the front for the sprint. Don't know who picked it up because obviously I wasn't there. I believe the mix was Matt, Marcus and Andrew in some order.
And on 521 back in, the pace seemed chill again because of the threat of the finish and the final sprint. Two guys were allowed to go off the front, one was Jim Andrews who seems to have converted to triathlons and another guy I didn't know, but seemed fairly strong. Those two put a good 1/4 mile on us over that 6 mile stretch. But as usual the final hill produced attacks and four of us got separation and oh yeah, Rafik was out there sagging with his scooter. So, once Andrew, Matt, Marcus and I got separation, Rafik moto paced us to the sprint. We were gaining so fast on that two man breakaway that it was scary and we were coming into the sprint around 40 mph. It was a give me and Marcus gestured for me to take it, knowing I was sitting on waiting as last man.
I turned around to ride back out South with the 8:30 group and Rafik joined in on the scooter. We decided to venture out on our own for some moto pacing - not what I had on the plan, but certainly couldn't hurt (until tomorrow of course) and once in Van Wyck, we started. Rafik killed me and has gotten very good at motor pacing, lines, speed, signaling motorists, reading facial expressions, motivation, etc. I caught myself going down Van Wyck to the brick plant at 49 mph - OUCH! We continued on for 35 miles or so before I had no more. 85 miles later I am home, sweating like a pig from the high humidity and rain coming in. Job done by 11:30a. Thanks Rafik!