i was hoping they wouldn't do it again, but they did. the oz guys dropped me like a sack of hammers on the way back to minneha school. i had no excuses. cato had a new chain, a new rear cassette and new rings up front. there was no skipping and popping when i accelerated. i just plain wasn't strong enough to hang onto the wheel in front of me after 24 miles. i could talk about the cramp in my side, but it wouldn't make a difference. i got dropped again. i'm kind of bummed, but i'll recover.
the ride out was great. though there was a strong headwind, we sailed along near 20mph. we cruised up and over hills. we chatted as we rolled along.
near the turn around point, i popped off the front up and over a hill. i thought it was the last hill and that i'd get a bit of glory. no such luck. i was two rises too early. had to laugh. i sat up as the young guys buzzed by me. they rode hard up to the turn around and headed back. i u-turned early. no sense in going all the way and never catching up.
on the way back i hung with the first few mad accelerations. i instigated one of them. then i started cramping up a bit. my side ached. i struggled to take deep breaths. still i stayed with the front group.
i made it around the first two corners with them. i was still on the wheel in front of me through the next two curves. i pushed for the next mile, but the slight uphill and my cramp did me in. the rain started falling about that time and the wind which had been in our favor switched. we had a headwind again. i could blame my demise on that bit of bad luck, but i can't. i'm just not strong enough to hang with these guys yet.
i rode alone in the pouring rain for several miles. if you'd seen me, you'd have thought you saw a drowned rat. i was miserable. then, through the spots on my now-too-dark sunglasses, i saw another rider ahead. i locked onto him and accelerated ever so slightly. my cramp was subsiding, so i pushed myself to catch him. i did so just after the last turn on to webb road.
the rest of the ride was a bit more enjoyable. my friend (i forgot his name and didn't ask) and i pedaled along and talked. we caught most of the lights right and sailed up and over the overpass south of kellogg avenue. crossing kellogg, we sped up a bit. somewhere before minneha, he spun off to the left and rode home. i rolled on alone and made it to the parking lot just before the last two riders left.
i was tired. i was wet. i was not as happy as i would've been had i stayed with the group, but i was glad to have been on a bike. i was glad to be alive. i was glad the lightning stayed far away.
there will be another time. i will keep trying. someday, i won't be dropped. someday. (32.99 miles @ 18.6mph)