Three Sundays ago I connected with some real roadies. Yep... Real ones!! From time to time you'll see them out and about whipping around like the Borg. They are indeed a collective, and indeed resistance is futile. After all - as a collective there's less resistance. Get it?
The first outing was a bit blustery and chilly- constant winds in the neighborhood of 20 mph with gusts around 40 - temps right around freezing. I headed down to the meetin' place - a Gazebo in Scituate and connected with three other riders on my trusty Salsa Vaya. Why Vaya?? Cuz it kin hold good fenders good. While a semi-road, semi mountain bike isn't exactly on par with a real road machine - I did have the smarts to swap out the 833 grams each Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires for some Continental Gatorskin 700X25's. Hooo whee!!! 2lbs off the wheelz FEELS GUD!
About halfway into the ride we connected with some Connecticut folk and bombed around at a decent clip fairly close in. After brushing my handlebar ends against the juicy bits of my fellow riders it kinda dawned on me why road bars are so narrow. (8" more narrow- yeah, measured that when I got home) No one got hurt or really even frazzled - but I think I lernt something.
Overall the first ride went well for me. It's apparent that I have built or maintained a decent level of fitness - and it was apparent that this may have come off wrong with a group of guys who haven't been out biking nearly as much. It's also apparent that in turn, they will soon be increasing their fitness and at that point "school will be in session" - as in I, being the punkass can count on some schooling in a couple of months. Things to look forward to! I'm not exactly sure how far I went (no computer or nuthin - that's about to change) but it was somewhere between 80 & 90 miles.
Last night Jeff from the road bike collective emailed that they were heading out at 8:30. Initially I had considered bagging it as I have been getting a solid 4 days worth of commuting weekly - which translates to 112 miles not counting any recreational riding. But, this morning Lucy prompted: "You should go out riding - it's already like 36 degrees out". Maybe I'll just keep her to myself after all- (see comments).
This time around I was armed with my trusty old C-Dale CAAD 5 equipped with some brand spankin new CRUD MKII fenders. Now we're talking! The C-Dale may be a little old - but she is something vicious when you stomp on it. Gawd I forgot how awesome that feels. Every pedal stroke is a little whoosh in the panties. Now that I have admitted my love for the old girl I must warn you - love hurts.
At first, the ride to the meeting spot was going perfectly fine. Road conditions - just a little wet. The meeting spot in Scituate is about 8-1/2 miles away and goes through some nice back roads. Roads that pass by low spots next to wetlands... and stuff.. you know.. stuff conducive to retaining cold roads... and stuff. I'm whizzing along delighted to be riding the old girl so effortlessly and get to a little downhill with a nice curve at the bottom. I start to apex the sucker with style and accelerate out of it - only to have the acceleration induce the inevitable that much quicker: My beautiful impeccable C-Dale that I might add, has never been down - went down... fast. I reckon I was moving at least 25 or so. The good news: Icy roads don't have alot of friction - I just skidded with the bike for 30' or so. Resultant carnage:
Left Brifter - Yes, it's only 105 stuff
What's wrong with this picture?
I know! Half of my brand new effin' rear fender is strapped to the top tube!
Leftover rear fender - "Cafe" look!
Last but not least: First blood of 2011 - I'll try harder next time.
The night before, inner voice says "hey man, it's going to be freezing overnight so the roads might still be icy in the morning". I ignored my inner voice - stupid, stupid, stupid.
Being a mountain bike stud - there was no way a little blood and scrapes were going to get in the way of a good ride. I picked myself and the parts up - checked everything out and showed up at the Gazebo a minute or two late. Immediately on arrival Jeff and Jon ask: "How was the ride in?". It seems that another of the riders also went down on the way in and someone in a car may have experienced an even worse situation as there were cars backed up on Rte 101 with sirens heard in all directions.
The ride followed the same course as prior and this time we even got in some real road riding stuff. Like that rotating paceline stuff. It took a couple of rotations to smoothify my performance - but I started to get the hang of it - and even liked it. There is a kind of natural "flock of geese" beauty to a nicely performed rotation.
Please don't tell anyone who knows me about this. I am not known for being a team player. The words "lone wolf" have been uttered in public - lord knows what they say behind my back.
Oh yeah. Them guys are getting stronger already.