Yesterday morning saw me out at Zube with a big gang of Mules, although sadly no Kevin or Jorge. It was unusually cool for June (low 70's) but already very humid. Paddy proposed a new route that added 8 milles of country-lane riding and off we set.
All the Speedsters were there, including Shawn, just back from riding a 240km classic in Holland, and Ian who is soon to be transferred to China. The pace was predictably hot, and Yvonne (who had looked very strong on my last Mules run) was falling behind. About 10 miles in she and her husband Steve decided to turn back, leaving me at the mercy of some very strong riders.
I was lagging a bit too but Ian kindly bridged me over to the Peloton a few times. After the goat farm turn, Britt and Oz decided to put the hammer down and we were flying along in a tight paceline, rotating the lead every 30 seconds at about 23-24 mph. I held on for a while but eventually got spat out the back.
We regrouped at the gas station and headed into Hempstead (this was the new section of the route), familiar roads for me although I normally ride them in the other direction. We turned at Peckerwood Gardens and then turned onto Brumlow road and terra incognita (for me anyway). It certainly was a pretty route through the country and much nicer than the usual slog up Business 290, but the pace was still high and I was struggling pretty badly.
We made a turn north and got back on Business 290 just before Waller. The guys formed a paceline once more and left me for dead pretty quickly. I wasn't too sad to watch them go, I was happy enough at a slower pace and you always hate to be a drag on faster riders.
I got to Waller and saw that Paddy and Charlie were hanging back for me, so I slotted in behind and let them do the hard work all the way home. Charlie and I had a good chat near the end, he's working on the same project as me so we have a lot in common.
Back at Zube and the tent has been set up. Paddy tosses me a cold towel and it feels wonderful on my neck and over my head. Sadly the beer selection was rather limited (what a whiner!).
And so the time has come for the Mules and I to part company, at least until the weather is a bit less aggressive. I'll try a few rides with the Truth Squad, but I may just Lone Wolf it for a while. Wtach this space...