I'll preface my report by saying that, by my philosophy, speed is fun. And I had a blast today.
After yesterday's ride, it was apparent that I was a little bit faster than the others. So, I talked to Chris, my normal riding partner and we met at around 7:00 near the registration building. I saw a couple of familiar faces, but I'm sorry to say I forgot almost everyone's names from yesterday. Chris and I took off at 7:10. The route out of town was messed up by road work, but I simply hopped on the sidewalk and rode (slowly) past it. Normally I hate doing that, but in this case the sidewalk was empty and it relieved the car traffic of dealing with us, too; so it was an all-around good solution.
Once out of town, we headed north and gradually picked up the pace. Before long we were doing 22 mph, then 23, then 25+ on flat ground. Early on, I hit my day's high speed of 39.6 mph. If I'd have known I was that close to 40 mph, I would have pedaled harder! Since we were pushing it on the flats, I made the decision to NOT push hard on the hills, which were the standard S Michigan fare. Even with that, nobody passed us anywhere on the route, and we pretty much spent the morning dusting pacelines. Most of the area race-oriented clubs provided sacrificial offerings for us, and I lost count of how many 30-mph fly-bys we did.
Early in the route, we followed a blue arrow, which we thought was for the century route. Nope, it wasn't a Helluva Ride marking. We ended up in Hell, Michigan. That little detour added 10 miles to the trip, as well as killing our average because we had to lead several other lost riders back onto the route.
I was getting pretty hungry by lunch time. I usually have problems taking in enough Calories on these rides, so I tried eating more this time. Bad move; I ate too much. That came back to haunt me later. The route after lunch was more of the same stuff. One group tried to pass Chris while we were still doing our post-lunch warm-up. That was a Bad Move, too; because it terminated my warm-up as Chris immediately dropped the hammer, forcing me to give chase. Once I got 'velocitized' again, I was OK, though. It was a short jaunt to the Grass Lake rest stop. By then I had a stomach ache, so I forced down a few glasses of water and eventually got a few belches, which made it feel better.
Off we went again! By now, a small wind had come up, which was quartering against us. Just enough to move the flags in the front yards. Headwind is bad for average speed, but it makes us look GREAT because it only slows our recumbents down half as much as it slows everyone else. We passed lots of bikes on that stretch, too. Finally, we turned for the last stretch back to Chelsea and got a quartering tailwind. Chris immediately hit the gas, and I gave chase. We were passing bikes like they were fence posts. At one point, we came off a small hill doing 30 mph, then accelerated to 33 mph for the several mile shot out across the lowlands. I didn't have much power to spare for the small climbs, but then luckily neither did he. I finally managed to get in front of him, just in time to win the sign sprint. YES!!! Take that, you 45-year old KID!!! I finished with 85.00 miles showing, and the computer average of 20.2 mph. Walking the bike across the gravel at the fair grounds dropped the reading to 20.1; but I'm still going with the higher number.
Shortly after getting back, Road Fan found me. As it turns out, he had seen me at the top of a hill on the final stretch. He was helping load a heat-prostrated rider into a SAG vehicle and get it back out on the bike-clogged road. We hung out a while and worked at getting re-hydrated, then went over to a nearby fast-food place for some food and more liquids. I only needed a *short* nap when I got home. Naps, after all, are a Good Thing(tm) at our age!
It was a pleasure to meet everyone this weekend. I was impressed by the quality of riders represented by BF. There's lots of good experience and skill in the group! Maybe we'll see a few more here next year.