|wait for me, Santa|
We knew there was a lacrosse tournament at the park that morning but when we arrived the car park was still pretty quiet. We geared up and headed for the toilet block for the obligatory pre-ride ablutions, only to be stopped by a cop who (somewhat apologetically) told us that the whole area was reserved and we had to move the car. Could have told us sooner, chief -
A tactical error immediately ensued - rather than load the bikes back onto Kevin's truck, we decided that Lee and I would ride to Hockley and meet Kevin there. Giving Kevin a three-mile advantage is not a good idea.
We regrouped and got going, with a strong wind out of the north to make it fun. Not surprisingly the runs north were very tough, and even less surprisingly Kevin took point and dragged us both into the wind. One section is on a fairly busy road where we usually ride in the shoulder, between the rumble strip and the dirt. There's not much room and usually loads of trash but it's safer. Kevin lead out but we got crossed up and I ended up in front, with no room to pass, so I bore down and tried to set a good pace for the others.
My focus must have been pretty good because at the end of the section I looked back and realised I was on my own, the others weren't even in sight. I waited a second and then turned back, hoping that it was a simple mechanical rather than anything more serious.
And indeed it was! Lee was running new tires and tubes but had still managed to get a staple through his rear wheel. Kevin had stopped to help and presumably called out to me but I heard nothing (strong head wind!). By the time I reached them they were already inflating the new tube, practically ready to roll again.
A bit more north with some rollers too before we made the turn and were able to relax. This bit has a slight descent and trees lining the road, so we could coast for a while and get our breath back. As usual I gained slowly on the others while coasting. In self defense I reminded Lee that Galileo had hypothesized that all objects fall at the same speed regardless of their weight, so my downhill prowess had to be put down to a better bike rather than a lardier butt. I didn't help my case by suggesting that as geologists, Kevin and Lee probably thought that Galileo was a name made up by Queen for "Bohemian Rhapsody". To lighten the suddenly grim mood I launched into the song, hoping to get a rousing chorus going, but it was not to be. Whoops.
The tail wind kicked in and we cruised to the Exxon in fine style. Lee proposed returning via Prairie View A&M, a slightly shorter route with a few punchy hills. Predictably enough Kevin let it all hang out on the climbs and just as predictably in the process dropped us like a bad habit. As always I was very glad to see the flag on top of the soap box derby track, particularly today as it marked the end of the ride. We wound up with 38 miles in the bag, a good morning's work for sure.