photo by Christine
On Saturday morning at 7am sharp a field of 79 riders took the start from the Good Guys Sports Bar in Centerville, Maryland. From our local group Katie, Christine, Ron, Barb and Nigel were in attendance. Ron and Barb would be one of many tandem teams in attendance while Nigel was attempting the ride on his recently acquired Raleigh fixed gear.
After a pretty chilly start the sun began to warm things up quickly. Upon leaving the information control at only 8 miles into the ride I started to feel quite comfortable. I rode for a bit with riders from home. Nigel was anxious to test himself on the fixie and picked up the pace putting a gap on us. I asked Katie and Chris if they wanted to catch him. They said they were out for a more leisurely tour. I slowly closed the gap to Nigel. We were joined by another rider, on a Rivendell, named Steve. We established a nice three man pace line which helped with the ever increasing wind. A fourth rider tagged on as we were passing by. He worked the rotation with us until Nigel took a mighty pull, which effectively burned the guy out. He fell off the pace, and was gone. On a subsequent effort by Nigel, Steve began to falter. We decided to keep him with us, easing up to let him hook back on. We continued to the 50 mile point where Steve opted out to stop at a coffee shop.
|Steve with Rivendell at dolce bakery photo Daily Randonneur|
|The Pavilion at Slaughter Beach photo by Christine|
The next control stop in Bridgeville, Delaware was 18 miles away, most of it into a ferocious headwind. Once on the front I would stay there, trying to give Nigel some relief. Although, he did sprint past a couple of times to take a turn. There were a few wooded sections which provided a much appreciated break from the relentless air currents that gusted to 40 mph at times. We slowly pass by riders who were too weary to bother jumping on the back. Wind can be mentally fatiguing as well as physical. It dampens one's spirit to the point that pedaling the bike becomes robotic, totally absent of mental function. The mind retreats to a safe zone, separating itself from the misery the rider is enduring. In this way the function can be maintained for long periods of time. Certainly by no means a happy experience, but it becomes manageable and sustainable. The final turn to the control is reached and for a brief period the air is still. I'm welcoming the break and purchase a Gatorade, something I rarely consume. The sugary liquid will provide some much needed energy, at least for the short term.
|Nigel on the Raleigh One Way (right) Me (left) photo by MG|
|MG and Felkerino at the ocean photo Daily Randonneur|
|New Jersey's Ron and Barb on the purple Burley photo Daily Randonneur|
|Katie (left) working her way to the 5,000k award photo by Christine|
While it is nice to strive for goals and to achieve, I find it is equally rewarding to revel in the accomplishments of others. While devouring a veggie pizza I enjoyed chatting with Nigel who was obviously pleased with his fixed gear debut. Sometime later I enjoyed seeing Katie at the finish, which put her past the RUSA 5,000 kilometer total for the first time. Many riders I know have reached new heights this year. It speaks well to the supportive nature of our group. We are not individuals solely out for our own gratification. We motivate and encourage each other. The camaraderie works wonders. In my opinion, the respect and support of fellow riders is far better than a chest full of shiny medals. Although, there is no reason why one can't have both. Enjoy!