Sunday, April 1, 2007

Morrisville 200K / March 31, 2007: The Kid Is Back

The Kid is Back...

And what better way to prove it than to shatter the peloton at mile 80? Our friend Wes, returning from six months of spiritual exile (that's a nice way of saying he's slowly recovering from a bad bike/car collision in Oct. 2006) did exactly that on Old Greensboro Highway on the return trip of yesterday’s Morrisville 200K.

JoeRay and I made a pact on Thursday to take yesterday’s ride easy, maybe hang back a bit. In short, a social ride, a chitchatting, easy breathing slow rolling affair.

It was not to be.

A massive crowd – 40 is a guess – were on hand at the start. (Yours truly got busted by Sridhar when I got Joe to retrieve my card, essentially short-cutting to the front of a line that was a dozen deep. Note to self: wait your turn next time.)

Many of the locals were there – Chet and Cyndi, Jerry, Branson, Dean, Danny Thomas, Todd from the camera shop, Dr. Steve. Missing were Dan, Bob, JD, Caroline, Gilbert.

So many folks, so much check-in, that we did not get rolling until 7:13, according to my GPS.

The weather was supposed to be cloudy with a 10-15 mph SW wind and a chance of showers in the afternoon. In fact, the day remained cloud-free and the SW was not as strong as predicted.

As many as 15 riders hung together for the 62 mile trip out to Siler City, and the pace was remarkably fast: we hit the turnaround with an 18.7 average, according to JoeRay’s computer. The group included me, JoeRay, Rich, Wes, Jerry, Branson, Andreas, Justin (an 18-year old on a touring bike with disk brakes) Tom from Lumberton (who was also at Spartanburg), Tom’s wife Mary and a few others I’m forgetting or do not know.

Our crew was the first to the control and we did a quick water grab. I don’t think we were there more than 10 minutes.

We ended up losing a few at the control, including Jerry who was still in the boys room when we got rolling again. I’d say we had a group of 10 as we motored up Snow Camp Road – Tom, Justin, me, Rich, JoeRay, Wes, Steve, Branson and one or two others. At one point Tom and Justin rode off the front but we reeled them back in at Snow Camp.

When we turned onto Old Greensboro Highway we had a favorable wind.

That’s when Wes opened the bay doors and dropped the bomb.

My GPS shows a conspicuous spike in the pace about 3 miles down Old Greensboro. A jump from 22 mph up to 28. Wes exploded off the front, did a massive surge over one of those steep rollers. Joe hung on for dear life, and I hung on to Joe. In my mirror, I could see the damage done. It was a war zone with bodies everywhere and the smell of burnt flesh.

Tom from Lumberton managed to bridge across and the four of us finished together, never really letting up the pace. Joe suffered for about 10 miles after we turned off Lindley Mill but he eventually got his legs back. We made a five-minute water stop at Andrews Store before dropping down Jack Bennett to the lake.

We finished at 2:05 p.m. If you count the late start, our total time was 6:52. We bumped our average ride time up to 19:1 mph. My GPS shows that we did 61 miles of the ride – or a little under half – at 20 mph or better, with 17 of those miles at 24 mph or more.

I apologize for a report that focuses so much on speed and result, but I’m afraid we may never be able to match this, and I thought it was significant enough to memorialize it. (And for the record, I have plenty of slow brevets under my belt.)

Yes, the Kid is back.

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