Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Taking wing at Donaldson Center

After work, I loaded my bike on the car with apprehension in my stomach. The plan for the evening was to ride for the first time at Donaldson Center. I had heard all kinds of stories about how tough it was to ride there. Just before leaving work, I got this message from a friend.
The first lap is a "warm up" lap. Yeah. Right. Quarters are VERY tight -- 3-4 wide on one side of the street. A bit of bumping. And lots of accelerating and deccelerating. Don't leave any gaps or someone will jump in -- a space for a wheel is a space for a bike.

And that's on the B ride. =)

Have fun!
On that note, I put the car in gear and headed over.

It took me about 15 minutes to get there from my home near downtown Greenville. The six o'clock start time kind of made for a hectic get away. I only had a banana as I drove over.

Once I got there, I was glad to see Kevin Dunn. He was cornered by some folks who where letting him know what he needed to do differently about the P3 ride. For the record, Kevin, I had a great time on Sunday and thanks for showing me where the B ride started from tonight.

There is a C, B, and A group. The C group does a longer loop around the area at a more leisurely pace. The B group I was told averages around 20 to 22 miles an hour around the seven mile loop. The A group contains the riders with racing licenses. I assume they go very fast.

I paid my five bucks for the police escort and then watched the A group pull off. We had to wait a bit before taking the course. I meet a couple of guys I ride with on Saturday mornings with the Sunshine Cycle Shop group - Jeff and Barry. It was Jeff's first time out as well.

The first lap started out okay. I found a spot and stayed there trying to be conservative. However, all the jockeying made me nervous and when I group broke away, I decided to bridge up and join them.

By the second lap, I found myself riding with a big dude with a scar on this left leg. I remembered that scar from the P3 ride on Sunday morning. The other person in this group was one of the DeFeet girls. That was probably some of the most fun of the night as the three of us broke away from the group and held our own for more than a lap.

In the third lap we got overtaken by the group. More jockeying and I found myself trying to stay near the front while at the same time trying to recover a bit. Once again, by the end of the lap, I found myself near the front.

Fourth lap - but I was confused. I wasn't sure what lap I was on and as we finished it, I made a dash to be one of the first to cross the finish. Only, it wasn't the finish! I asked a guy beside what lap we were about to start. He said, "Five of six."

Ouch. So, I dropped to the rear of the group thinking that I was done for. However, riding back there is a great way to recover and watching the near crashes in front of me was a motivation to move back toward the front. So, by the end of the fifth lap, I was once again only about 12 back - out of between 25 and 30 people.

At that point, something happened and the group split. I don't know if most of the group just stopped or what, but I was left with three other riders to finish the sixth lap. We rode it alone. It was another DeFeet girl, a guy in a t-shirt, and a younger, tall guy with Campbell soup can logos on his butt.

Again, that was fun. We paced each other with the guy in the t-shirt doing great work on the pulls. As we neared the finish, the DeFeet girl was in the lead. I moved up so my front wheel was parallel to her rear wheel and I was content to just end the night like that. Then the soup guy came blasting past us and I just couldn't help it. So, I went after him. It was too late.

Over all, I was very pleased with my effort. 43 miles in an hour and fifty-three minutes. I averaged nearly 23 mph for the ride. I also accomplished my three goals: 1) don't wreck, 2) earn respect by being willing to pull, and 3) stay with the group.

It was kind of nice to be the mystery rider who shows up for the first time and can't be dropped. I had people ride by me as we were pacing and look back at me. I could tell they were checking to see if they knew who I was. That felt good.

Maybe I've found my place in the B group.



Post a Comment

<< Home