|good to see Paddy again|
It was also Kevin's first organized ride since his latest wreck, so with no 40-ish mile option we decided to take it easy and do 36. He picked me up with Jens already on board. Jens is a new employee at the Mothership who wants to get into cycling. He bought himself a nice new entry-level Novara and is enough of a newbie not to realize it came with a carbon front fork! Jorge was also in but decided to drive himself as he wanted to get an early departure for a trip to Ren Fest.
Great to see a big group of Mules at the start, including Paddy (back from Singapore) and Mike (back from Blighty), plus many more that I either didn't know or hadn't seen in ages. Lots of back-slapping and camaraderie, it's a great group.
Off we went in a big group. Fairly quickly we separated with Kevin, Jorge, Jens and me going at a slightly more sedate pace. Jens was definitely enjoying himself but he's clearly a natural athlete and decided to push ahead leaving the three of us trying to hold 17-18 mph. Kevin was full of beans, showing no after-effects of his fall and leading from the front as always.
We took a break at the second stop. As usual on these smaller rides there were no lines for the portapotties, that will change as the season gets going. We hooked up with Chris, Greg and Jens but weren't going to stay with them for long. Jorge was looking very comfortable and really enjoying the ride, which was nice to see - apparently Irina kicked him out of bed and then went back to sleep!
I struggled a bit during the run back but the guys held up for me, which was kind. Kevin was really feeling strong and wanted to push ahead, so I told him to tear it up and tried to hang on. I held on for a bit but he dropped me and the others too. We regrouped for the final run in and crossed the finish line in the Three Musketeers formation.
Back at the Mules stable for a beer and a hot dog. Then one of the organizers showed up and asked if we could help with bike fitting, so Kevin and Kelly did some adjusting for three of the Little Heroes. Nice to give something back.