Last week I was running late because I couldn't find my gloves, well today I left on time and completely forgot the gloves! For the non-cyclists the gloves give you some padding so your hands don't go numb but for me the key is keeping my palms dry. With today's high humidity, it was a feat to keep from slipping off of the bars.
I made the solo ride in good time with no incidents. Didn't see any Big Game this week, but a "killer squirrel", did mount an attack. Luckily my quick reflexes avoided a sure disaster. :)
Due to leaving on time and no wrong turns I actually had a few minutes to rest and talk with the group before heading out again.
The group pulled out of Caribou's at about 7:35 and headed into Preston Woods before getting onto Carpenter Upchurch (aka. Up Chuck). That's where my flat hit. I couldn't find a hole so I'll just chalk it up to a bad tube. I'll check it later to make sure. Of course I need to hit the store for another backup before riding again.
I figured the change might take awhile without the "team car" so we had most of the riders continue on with 4 staying back to help me catch up after the tire change. As soon as we got back on the bikes Steve (Capt'n Carbon) makes the comment that I have to "pull" since it was my flat. So much for getting help in catching the group! Of course he was joking, a little, but I did most of the pulling anyway. After a few miles we caught the main group and were on our way again.
One thing I've learned in this group is that it's REALLY hard to win a sprint. Two of the guys are super fast, and probably weigh 50 lbs less than me, so I decided to be a "lead out man". That means I pick a friend and let him draft behind me while I go all out. Then as soon as the other sprinters get close he jumps out of the draft with fresher legs and hopefully wins the sprint. The sprints take a lot of effort, but they break up the ride nicely.
At Lake Jordan, the group spit up with the Roses going for a longer ride at a slower pace while the Thorns headed back home. At UpChuck we met up with the Cycling Spoken Here ride and 2 of the Thorns split off to do another 20 miles with them (that's why they are "Thorns". The last 3 of us stayed together until UpChuck T's at HighHouse and I split off for home.
All told, 2 water bottles, 1 Gatorade, 1 tire tube, 50.5 miles and a fun ride in the country side!