|Blondie made some great records|
Blondie's 1978 UK hit "Sunday Girl" would have been a good earworm on my last ride, although there's zero chance it would have shown up on Kevin's iPhone I suspect. They were a refreshing change on the UK music scene, coming on the tail of the Punks.
I couldn't ride Saturday (airport run to drop James off) and Kevin had church duties on Sunday. Larry was entertaining grand-babies but Lee was planning to ride with the Mules, so I set out for Zube on a cool, clear Sunday morning, heading for an 8am start.
There were a fair number of vehicles heading in the same direction, some with bikes, others with female lacrosse players, as I found out when we got to the park. The main parking areas were pretty full, which never happens, and I ended up in the overflow lot at the back. As I pulled up, Lee parked next to me. There was a very large girl's lacrosse tournament getting organized, with tents, banners and lacrosse sticks as far as the eye could see.
I got geared up, hit the rest room and then rode over to the main gate to wait for Lee. Several other Mules appeared, including some new faces for me. Pretty soon a good group developed and we began to discuss routes and paces. I'd already talked with Lee about a longer route at a slower pace, say 50miles or so at 17-18mph, and he was up for that rather than the usual mad dash to the gas station. With 14 or so riders we had the luxury of multiple distances and speed groups, but Sean (ride director) wanted to keep the group together at least for the first 20 or so. Off we went with Lee and I in front. It rapidly became clear that the woutherly wind was going to be a big factor today, another good reason to keep the pace sensible. After a few miles we peeled off and let someone else do the work and sure enough a gap developed. I resolutely held my pace and Lee did the same.
We reached the split in fairly good order, with Lee and I not far behind the field. There then ensued a classic confused discussion about routes, distances and options. I waited for a while and then told Lee I was heading out, which I duly did leaving the group behind, still arguing about 28 miles vs 32 vs 35. Lee dropped in behind me and off we went, expecting to get picked off by the fast group at any moment. We got to the turn and immediately felt the wind, so we formed a paceline, switching out the lead every half-mile. We still made good time and held off the speedsters for quite a lot longer.
Our discipline held all the way to the gas station, pretty impressive for amateurs. The racers were still there when we arrived. after a break we had the same discussion, but this time Adam elected to join Lee and I on the longer, slower route. I told him he might get bored and fall asleep! Back at it and the three of us adopted the same scheme as before, switching out every half-mile. This worked well on the downwind legs, and we kept it up when we turned east for home. At this point we were on a beautifully smooth country road on a glorious morning and life was pretty good. Lee was starting to flag on the little climbs so Adam and I took the lion's share of the pulling. With a cross wind we try to ride en echelon, with the second rider beside the lead but about half a bike back, and the third in a similar position on the second. You don't get as much of a draft but you don't need it as much.
As we rolled east we spotted a large white dog, apparently sunning himself by a letter by a letter box. When we were level with him he leaped up and gave chase. Adam hit the afterburner and sped away, which was just what the mutt wanted - he dropped Lee and me and took off. Very entertaining to watch! The dog was of course harmless, just wanting a run but Adam didn't see it that way. The rest of the ride was uneventful, although we hadn't finished with work - Lee took us due south on Mathis into a now concrete head wind, before we turned east-northeast on Betka. Back at Zube and the lacrosse was in full swing. Wonder if they feel the wind?