Plan A was to leave on a 60 mile ride with a fair amount of climbing. Seven of us, on 6 bikes, took off, with very overcast skies. The TV weather report varied from the internet forecast on when the rain would arrive, 2:00pm vs 10:00am respectively. At about 4 miles we made a left hand turn instead of the right turn I expected. The change in plans had been made before I arrived at the rendezvous. The group was going with the 10:00 forecast and was shortening the ride.
The pace was somewhat brisk (17-18) over some rollers. We were making a large loop, which, I learned, was designed to meet us up with another group from our club leaving 1/2 hour later. Our bike club has about 170 members with no fewer than 9 separate riding groups. Advanced, intermediate and the other guys. The advanced group is divided into A, B and C groups. I ride with the ABs, we were meeting the ACs. The three advanced groups have an e-mail mailer that lets us know in advance what the planned routes are, so we knew the plan of the ACs.
Here's a picture of one of my favorite turns. It's slightly banked, slightly downhill and has just been repaved.
More rollers. After about 20 miles, we come to the place we hope to meet the ACs. After about 2 minutes, we hear them coming as they chatter with each other. Here's most of the two groups. Most have shed their rain jackets. Nearly everyone wears Hi-Vis stuff.
We start up a dead end road, UP being the operative word. It is only recently that the ACs have gotten this adventurous. They have a new leader. As tradition dictates, we regroup at the top of a mile climb. I continue riding to set up for a photo op. I take several versions of this picture.
Another mile climb and then a downhill across this bridge. There was a whole sandwich of wild turkeys, but they moved out of the picture before I could snap it.
At the end of the road, we run into a flagman, which was a big surprise to us. The road actually continues as dirt for a bit longer. He was surprised to see us ride up, too. It is tradition to touch the sign that says, "Road not maintained beyond this point", but couldn't get to it today.
It's just about 10:00 now. Everyone re-dons rain jackets for the trip home and soon it is sprinkling big drops. We regroup one last time after a fast-paced stretch. The AC leader has a slow leak in his rear tire. You can see them working on it in the picture.
We make our usual stop at the cafe, albeit coffee replaces the usual Cokes and Arnold Palmers. It is still raining a bit, but we missed the big downpour that came about 2:00. Our average speed, thanks to quite a bit of climbing, is a bit below 13 mph. 33 miles instead of 60. But we made the right choice.