Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TNR for July 28th. The Horses come to play.

A perfect night for a perfect ride? Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. But 12 riders in a rotating pace line comes close. By that standard, we approached perfection several times. It happens several times a year. But it's always welcome: Tailwinds on Luxemburg road. Today, it was not just a gentle breeze, but a REAL TAILWIND. We could all imagine ourselves TDF riders as we cruised at 24, then 25, then 28 mph. I moved to the front as soon as we turned onto Luxemburg road, along with Jason, a TNR first timer. There was a disconnect between what I saw on the speedometer and what I felt in my legs. It was just too easy to be going that fast. After a couple of miles, we spotted a lone rider, pedaling slowly as if waiting for us. It was Jesse. He must have decided to let the fast group have at it without him. I was glad to have him with us since he generally helps to keep the group together instead of launching attacks to split the group. With Jesse on the front, our speed kept slowly increasing until we touched 29 before the hill climb to the Rendezvous road turn. It's a small hill, and the tailwind had left us with fresh legs. I led us to the top at 28 mph. Then we turned, and the fun was over.Not really over. Just changed. We organized a counter clockwise rotating paceline and made pretty good time, keeping the number on my speedometer north of 20 mph most of the time. There have been few times that I've been in a group that large that completed multiple rotations without breaking up. This was one of them. I'm afraid I got caught up in keeping a tight formation, and was hollering to that effect when the smart thing to do was for the leaders to ride the center line as everyone echeloned off to the rear. We figured it out in the end. Between rotating pace line sessions, Dale, Todd and George looked strong at the front. Usually Todd is pretty vocal about being ready to catch a draft. Tonight he was right up there in front. I was sucking his wheel for a change. We still did the mandatory hill surge after crossing Hwy 54, and dropped Karl in the process. But as soon as it became known that a rider was "off the back", the whole group slowed. It didn't take Karl long to catch up, and when we got to the next hill (just before the Thiry Daems turn off), Karl attacked at the base, taunting us to drop him again. Unfortunately, the REAL TAILWIND turned into a REAL HEADWIND as we cruised down Thiry Daems. But it was Super Jason K to the rescue as he pulled us smartly into the wind. I was happy to be able to latch onto a friendly wheel under those conditions. I thought I had the legs to take a pull when we turned onto Marys road. I geared down and led up the hill. The hill, which is steep at the start, then deceptively long, was blocking the wind. I crested at 15 mph, and felt the wind's full force at once. I tried to hold that speed as mother nature's breath pushed me back. Father time had other ideas though. Lacking the strength to carry out my plan, I happily fell in behind Jason and Jesse again. Fortunately, we were at Gravel Pit road soon. A bit of recovery, then spin up to speed on the long downhills and try to hold the speed before the sprint for the highway as the road levels out. After the sprint to Bayshore Park, no one had the ambition to do the hill. As a Chequamegon fat tire festival addict, I'd prefer to save myself for the hill, but it wasn't to be tonight. Instead, we took a 13 mph breather, waiting for a couple of stragglers from the Gravel Pit Sprint to catch on. Then we pace lined for a few miles before attacking Benderville hill. Again, the peloton got split on the hill. But the leaders had the good sense and courtesy to wait for everyone to catch back up before settling in to pace line towards home. Once again, Dan did the lion's share of the work. The Nicolet drive head wind wasn't as bad as it had been on Thiry Daems, what with the surrounding trees. I took one long pull early, then let Dan take over. He set a brisk pace, and no one cared to cruise by and take over -- at least not until the City Limits sign came into view, and Jesse pulled out to sprint. A couple of riders followed. I'm not sure they knew it was a tradition to sprint for the sign, or just didn't want to let Jesse get away from the group. After all, he started the sprint what seemed like a half a mile from the sigh. It was good to see that someone had some extra energy to burn just to make the ride a little more interesting. Once we re-grouped, Jesse hung out at the front for a while. I could hold his wheel pretty well, but at one point he started surging. I dug deep to close the gap at 25 mph into the wind. Once I got there, I was spent, and had to fall back. I was toast and over 170 beats per minutes. Fortunately, he slowed down again, and we were able to finish together. We set no speed records with the slow rollout, the waiting for stragglers, and pushing a stiff headwind part of the time (I had 19.9 mph avg). but it was fun to be part of a group that actually worked together, and pushing the limit on the way home gave me a couple of lactate intervals to build fitness with.Steve

A big group of twenty three rolled out under comfortable conditions with some moderate wind. Steve promises a better narrative tommorow but for now enjoy the photos and check out Jason's youtube video at their cabin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY1uYcaAvAA.

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