My favorite way to kick off the New Year? A bike ride with some of my riding buddies. For 16 years Kevin of The Spin Cycle in Cary has been hosting a New Years event. The 2009 version was 37 miles on familiar roads near Jordan Lake. My other choice was the annual Road Dog Rally north of Raleigh. However, with local racing legends such as Ronnie Hinson showing up, that ride promised to be several notches faster than the ride I had in mind. So Spin Cycle it was.
I drove over with Danno and we got there early enough to hang around in an icy cold parking lot and chitchat with the local rando crew -- Fearless Leader Al, Sridhar, Byron, Geof, Branson, Alan and others who will remain nameless because I forgot to name em. By the time we got rolling, there must have been 100+ riders.
There is the risk of a crash on any ride, but that risk is amplified by the accordion effect of the peleton. The riders are tightly packed and there is constant acceleration and deceleration. Wheels touch and a rider goes down. And so it was on Thursday within the first five miles of riding. I noticed a quick grab of the brakes three or four bikes in front of me, heard the metallic click of bike on bike, saw the rider tumble to the asphalt. I veered to avoid him, bracing for a hit from behind but none came. The downed rider sat up as I passed; he appeared to be okay.
I rode with Dan for the rest of the trip and we finished with the front group. The day had warmed considerably by the time we rolled back into the Spin Cycle parking lot. We capped off the ride with coffee at a nearby Caribou, a pleasant post-ride celebration with five or six riders who believe cycling goes better with caffeine.
Photos below show Geof styling on his pink Trek, and Branson and Byron in the parking lot at the ride's conclusion.