Good evening riders!
Tonight we had a nice group ride to San Bernardo. The weather has been the nicest we have had in a while, so without further ado, here's the report.
We met at BCC and rolled out in a good group of 8 or so riders. Kevin a new rider to the group just got a new BMC which looks awesome. Welcome my friend and nice steed!
Along the bike path, we pair up to chat before reaching Lawson Hill and turning on the gas. The condition of the path is quire northern european in character in that it simulates long stretches of pave. (pave is the correct reference to the cobbled sections of the one day classics). The movie "A Sunday in Hell" narrated by Jurgen Leth has a chorus of french monks singing "PAAAAVEEEEE" as black and white scenes of riders crashing on wet, muddy cobbles rolls through. Carnage to monastic chants - can it get any more poetic?
Max, strong rider that he is, just bunny hops over the cracks, then veers into the dirt and continues on as though it was all fresh asphalt. Just by that simple display of bike handling prowess I realize that he will be one rider to watch tonight.
Aric, has to stop at the bottom of Lawson to tighten his pedal, and we use this time to regroup and mentally prepare for the assault on what I consider a (expletive here) of a climb. And climb we do! I get to the front to set the pace in hope that the rest will stay behind. But alas! I can't hold it so I pull off as Bertrand, Max and Tim pull through. Tim is one strong rider who I met last year and has the perfect riding form. When others suffer, and start to swing from side to side, Tim is perfectly aligned with poker like composure. Very good example, sir!
Bertrand and Max are at the front talking.... hmmm... I bury myself in trying to catch them; their leisurely, conversation with unbroken compound sentences and the occasional chuckle contrasting my erratic breathing. But I latch on close to the top and so hang on to my pride for a while longer.
We now stop and wait for the rest to regroup. Osborne (The Badger from the last report) who started late is coming up with Kevin at a blistering pace. Damn that guy! He's flying. Weather is still good, so we take our time before mounting our steeds and heading down the back side of Heartbreak Hill. In the next few miles, there are 2 climbs. They are not terribly long, but you definitely need to be in the right gear. Everyone is shifting and I realize that I can use the surprise factor and attack from the back. Attack I do, and I feel good. After what seems like eternity I lean forward and look between my legs to check if any wheels are latched on. Quick strategic note here (if you attack then turn around to look, it 's clear that you dug too deep and are suffering; therefore practice looking between your legs, past your seat post or just keep going - it will make the others think you're much stronger) This one is a freebie.
I sit up at the top of the climb; the area around my mouth is tingling due to lack of oxygen but the others don't need to know. I think the mental games are working. The front group is back on and Max suggests a little offroad / criterium detour; not saying where it was, but it was fun. As I'm following Max I have this big grin on my face. Max loves cycling and it shows! Good time!
Ok, we're back on the road and we descend towards Ophir. Fast! Through there quickly and now climbing towards the Ophir Turns. From now on these turns will be referred to as "The San Remo Turns". If you wonder why, please watch one of the Milan-San Remo races and that should suffice for an adequate answer. Any questions? Of course not! Good.
This setting makes for some beautiful riding. Dark, wet rock walls, as the backdrop to sexy spandex going fast. I have Bon Jovi's "Shot Through the Heart" playing in my head and I realize that this whole thing just works! As I'm enjoying my symphonic rapture, I realize I'm being dropped. ARRGGHHH! I scream and the alarmed group slows down for me. Thank You Boys! Much appreciated.
And so we roll into San Bernardo... except for Bertrand who keeps on towards Lizardhead. The Frenchman waves as he ascends and that is the last we see of him.
Well, this is our turn around point and it's time to head back. With the sun going down we slowly make our way into the last exposure of rays and back towards Ophir. To make for good televised coverage, I attack again through the San Remo Turns but no one is fooled. Max, Osborne, Aric and Tim are right on my wheel and soon pass me. My tank is close to empty and I pop spectacularly. Ray pulls up next to me and I try to have the cordial chat with him to disguise what's really going on on the inside. I find a good gear (granny) and try my best to survive. From this vantage point (being dropped - yeah again) I have a great view of what a nice group of riders we had tonight!
The boys wait for me at the top and together we roll towards Heartbreak Hill and the sprint showdown. Before we wind it up, we take another detour through the afore-mentioned crit. circuit as I thought I had dropped my phone in the initial off-road excursion. To help, Aric calls and my pocket rings! Go figure... I had it all along. But the lap was still fun, got us all smiling again and took some of the pressure of the upcoming sprint off our minds.
But back on the road we are and Tim leads out, Max running second wheel. I'm looking everywhere for Osborne who I have learned rides like Cancellara with locomotive pistons in his legs (not sure if locomotives have pistons but please indulge me in this imagery). For future reference, his wheel is mine, so please find your own lead out! Niel is also a good one as you will soon find out.
Anyways, from nowhere Aric explodes forward and lights up the sprint. IT'S ON! Max and Tim are on him. I am looking for my sweet gear (4th one down in the back) and once I find it, I go for it. This hill is very deceptive and one needs lots of practice with the right gearing and timing to conquer it successfully. I'm making up ground and gaining on Max, pulling within a wheel of him only for him to get serious and put me in my place. By the second mile marker after the yellow sign (this is the finish line) he has about 10 meters on me. Very strong finish Max; by far the strongest rider tonight. Nice job my friend!
Good ride. Good group and nice weather.
All for tonight.
Osborne will lead out the ride. Meeting place will be 9:30 am at the Angler Inn. This is down valley towards Placerville. If you are riding from town, plan on meeting at BCC and leaving by 8:30-8:45. If you have a truck please drive down as it will be good to have a support vehicle should anyone need a ride back up Keystone.
The ride will be either Norwood or Dallas Divide. Due to lack of major rollers, both of these offer for some good group riding and pace line practice.
Go out there, have fun and ride safe.
Telluride Cycling Club
...ride forth victoriously!