Notes From The Front.., (A Major Taylor Iron Riders periodic blog on cycling matters)
It was a Gangster Ride…..Part Two
As Jerry loaded Bijou’s bike on their car rack, I knew that I was witnessing my last chance for salvation getting ready to pull out. Fortunately, Christopher told me, Mel I got you. That alleviated some of my anxiety, but the return home ride was about ready to begin and I know as a veteran, that the real ride is always going home. The needle on my tank was on E. There was going to be a problem.
Before I discuss what happened on the way home, let me discuss the route for the Heckscher State Park ride. It is a straight shot out on route 27 that turns into Sunrise Highway. Going out early in the morning is easy, because there is very little traffic. Unfortunately, we must get on the highway for about an exit to reach our destination. It is a little hairy.
Coming home is a completely different experience. We get back on the highway riding against traffic to reach an over path that will put us in the direction of home. When we get on the highway traffic is heavy. We are hugging the shoulder of the road as cars are flying by. Fortunately, there is so many of us that the drivers have to move over. But with the rough road surface that is very bad in spots, it makes for a ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat. You can not afford to have a spill on the highway, nor a flat. Drivers were passing us by and probably saying to themselves these Mofo’s are some real gangsters to be riding on the highway with bikes.
The A group had taken off and the B group was motoring at about 21 mph. There were numerous false flats coming back that make the trip extremely hard on tired legs. I got to a point were those little rises sapped me of my reserves. I called out to Christopher and he slowed down to put me on his wheel. He took the pace down to about 19 mph. Warren, Jolly and I took advantage of Christopher pulls to keep us in striking distance of our group. Unlike coming out, once we got off the highway, it seems like we caught every light. That left no chance for me to recover, but the drop-in speed made a big different. I was riding my pace.
One final comment on riding this route. Another variable is the midday sun, which was in full effect on the way back. The heat from the sun coupled with the heat from the cars was murder. Did I mention that there is absolutely no shade on route 27. If you are riding on route 27 during midday in heavy traffic driving like they are on the highway, you are gangster.
Rowne directed the group to stop about 10 miles in for fluids. I went into my bags of trick and brought a big bag of salty potato chips. I stood in the corner and devoured as many as I could with a gatoraid, before I gave the remainder out. We left the deli only to ride about a couple of miles before there was a mechanical. As the group veered to the side of the road I kept going at an easy pace. Then those chips started to kick in and my pace increased. Suddenly on my left were three original gangsters Hefflin, Bruce and Normy. They took the pace up over twenty mph and allowed me to sit in. The B group never saw me again. Now that was gangster.
I paid a price for that performance. It had me reconsidering whether 100 mile rides should be in my palmares or maybe I just need to stay away from gangster rides. *grin*
Great ride everyone! Thanks Rowne for your leadership on the ride.