December in Gainesville, Florida
Tuesday, December 16, 2014. The temperature at 6pm was about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the best time of the year to live in this part of the world. I do feel for those cyclists in other areas who’ve been enduring some rather miserable winter conditions of late.
Ten spritely individuals appeared at tonight’s edition of the Tuesday Night GCX Worlds:
K-Dogg, Dr Pain, JOM, Big Head Todd, The Fraulein, The Terminator (Roger of Ocala), Steve of Ocala, Nature Boy, Pfaff Daddy and Joe (of Pleasant Cyclery).
The environment had been set for a fast ride. The usual email circulated between the regulars during the day, inquiring into who was showing, and was not. Typically these emails degenerate into a pile of bollocks, and are mostly a complete waste of internet bandwidth.
The Long Route – Sector One
Pfaff Daddy went to the front and set a hard tempo, followed closely by Dr Pain. Yours truly (JOM) was third wheel, but avoided sitting in the draft. Pfaff Daddy is blind as a bat, and there was no way I wanted a repeat of smashing another rim (see last week’s report).
This move was countered by Nature Boy, Joe and Big Head Todd. A nice little gap was established by this trio; awfully early to be hammering this hard, in my opinion. However, all was well. Steve of Ocala, who doesn’t have tribal knowledge, was goaded into sitting on the front, and maintaining a tempo hard enough to keep these guys in check. In other words, he was used.
As the first decent sized hill was reached, Dr Pain, followed by various wheel sitters, bridged across to this move, and completely shattered it. Nature Boy came flying out the back like an ejected F-18 pilot. Of the original trio, only Joe would hang onto this attack. The Terminator, JOM, Dr Pain, Pfaff Daddy and Joe all made it to the end of this sector. Behind was carnage.
The longest and flattest sector; The Terminator went to the front and ground the pace up to 27 – 28mph. Granted, we had a tailwind, but we were flying. Each member of the group took a brief turn on the front in this rapid rotation. All was well until either Pfaff Daddy or The Terminator (I was hypoxic), took advantage of a heavily washboarded section of the road, to further lift the pace.
Mayhem ensued. The bunch split in half again. Either there were some very tired legs in the rear half of the split, or some serious sandbagging on. I (JOM) barely made it to the front split. I’m still dealing with a lingering cold, and this suffering wasn’t a lot of fun. Thankfully the sector eventually ended, and everyone regrouped.
Not much to report here, other than the disappearance of Nature Boy. His legs were completely empty from his personal best 5K run over the weekend. A solid excuse, and wise of him to cut the ride short.
Sector Four – The Flappalachians
A tailwind of sorts helped push the pace along this sector, which was mostly lead by Big Head Todd. He needs to be commended considering he was nursing knackered legs from the previous weekend’s cross race.
The third hill of the Flappalachians is where things went awry for most people, myself included. The group split into a neat half again; The Terminator, Pfaff Daddy, Dr Pain, K-Dogg and The Fraulein all crept away on the second step of the third hill. JOM and Joe were close behind, with Steve of Ocala and Big Head Todd (well used by the group), off the back.
JOM clearly heard Joe utter rude words as he suffered alongside. At the end of the sector, everyone regrouped, and this is where JOM and Steve of Ocala bailed.
I (JOM) was feeling rather rough, and decided it prudent to not make my stupid cold any worse. Steve’s helmet light had failed. Riding fast and hard at night while following wheels is unsafe and ill advised.
Head for Home
Steve and I enjoyed some good conversation, and a chilled out pace on the longish return leg to the ride meeting point. Due to good route improvisation and timing, we ran into the group about four miles from the end of the ride. Turns out my personal abandonment was a wise decision, as the pace on the remaining limerock sectors was flat out. I keep reminding myself it’s late December, and my next race is in February 2015. All is well!
What happened after I departed… courtesy of Dr Pain
Flappalachians to Home:
After Nature Boy, then JOM, then Steve “spat the dummy” and headed for home, the rest of the Leprechauns circled around a bit on the bitumen to make sure Steve and JOM were riding together and Steve would find his way home. Then the festivities resumed.
The pace picked up to normal speeds as we hit CR 1491 in preparation for the next sector (#5). Pfaff Daddy took his motorpacing pull on the tarmac, and we headed into the limerock at a brisk pace. On a fast dirt downhill, with The Terminator setting a good tempo, Pfaff Daddy suddenly sat up bleating something about getting sand in his eyes from Roger’s rear wheel. He then slotted into the rotation behind Dr. Pain’s 2-inch tires to find it even worse. Then he pulled a JOM and “sat up”. His light along with the others, with the exception of K-Dogg, Dr. Pain, and The Terminator, drifted into the distance behind. Why Pfaff Daddy doesn’t wear glasses is a bit of a mystery. I think he might get some new ones with clear lenses in his Christmas stocking.
Reminder from JOM – Pfaff Daddy is blind as a bat, and needs glasses for two reasons.
Somewhere in Sector #6 we regrouped a bit, hit some sand, which blew up the group again, leaving The Terminator, Dr. Pain, and K-Dogg alone at the front. We went through the fountain of youth spring, sludging our bikes, as usual. I think if de Soto had wandered into this area, he might have found what he was looking for.
We regrouped at the pavement, waited patiently for those who had been distanced, only to experience BHT (Big Head Todd), flying right past the waiting Leprechauns to continue on the paved road. This was not particularly appreciated by those who waited for him; Dr. Pain had to do his best “aero-cross” position to bring the group back to him. Just as we were about to make contact, the Night Dog (the canine variety), with a companion, rushed us from the bushes. BHT’s acceleration was pretty impressive, but resulted in an increase in the gap for Dr. Pain. He was reeled in nonetheless.
The Final Sectors
Were simply a blur of speed into an awful headwind. At this point only half the group was doing any work at the front, and some of those folks became casualties after their pulls. It should be noted The Fraulein kept to her promise of never sticking her nose into the wind for nearly the whole ride. She is apparently both smart, and to be believed.
The final stretch of limerock was done with The Terminator setting a blistering pace at the front, resulting in K-Dogg doing a “that’s it”, and opening a gap behind him. Dr. Pain saw it happening in time to sprint across the gap to join The Terminator and Pfaff Daddy. Dr. Pain dutifully took a final pull at the front, then in an hypoxic state, was confused at the next intersection. The confusion resulted in a lessening of the pace, and a regrouping.
As we rolled along the pavement to home, we encountered two wounded Leprechauns (JOM and Steve) who had cut the course short, then apparently rolled along at about 3 mph, since we made up 5 or 6 miles on them. No more hostilities occurred in the last few miles, probably because everyone was spent. Excellent efforts by all, no one got hurt, everyone got home. Joe even acknowledged that he had achieved the goal of feeling like he might puke early in the ride. Success.