Friday, October 28, 2005

Happy 50th birthday Wayne!

The Fast Girls and Slow Guys had it's last after work Tuesday/Thursday ride yesterday. It was actually sort of sad that the summer is coming to an end. But as predicted we went out in a blaze of glory!

We tinkered around till almost six rather than starting at 5:45. Rolled out and right off the bat there was hammering going on. No warming up tonight. Stayed at around 20 through the woods and slowed for a moment to cross the short wood bridge then up again. Wayne, the birthday boy, pulled. Yale attacked. Chris then pulled and got us going around a steady 22mph. I took the pull next and took us on down to the river park and then do as I always do and that's pull over to the left and watch as they try and kill each other in a sprint to the bridge. Lord help any walkers that see this train coming!

We stopped for just a few and began the 7.5 mile ride back. Everyone was talking and having a good time while rolling along about 21mph. Open to the open road and Chris cuts loose and takes us to 24. I really need a drink due to dry throat. Chris pulls off and his wife Jennifer (very strong rider) takes us on and bam... Mark attacks. Bro, we are already at 24!!!! The breakaway group slows on up the road as we catch them. Once again we are all bunched up. No real order, just good time. We get just below the cliffs and I pull us around, down and across the long wooden bridge to Burns Park golf course. That's it, need a minute to recover. We all group together and fly down to the river and across by the soccer fields, the hay field and then the small wooden bridge. It's dark now and even darker as we gear up to hammer the last of the path to our cars. "Deer ahead!" the shouts come. The herd run over across without bothering us and the break away group start to crank it up. Mark... Bill... Chr---- DEEEEEEEERRRR!!!!! AHHH!!!! The deer fly out to the right of Chris and he barely dodges. Oh crap another runs between Chris and I. I lock it up and lean to try and slide off the path and feel a slight shift of my back tire. It felt as if the deer rubbed the back tire or maybe I hit a crack in the road or a stick. Then the laughter started. Chris and I laughed so hard and so loud mainly because of our good fortune that we were still on our bikes rather than bloodied on the path. What a rush!

We all got back to Cook's Landing where our cars were parked still laughing and cutting up. Bikes get loaded and we all head over to get pizza, chips & salsa and drinks in Maumelle. Jennifer had gotten the table all set up for Wayne's 50th and made him wear a pink boa, Mardi Gras beads and a funky hat that's a big birthday cake. What a hoot! We give him cards, goodies and a gift certificate from Chainwheel.

We talk about what we'll do now. Winter's coming and we want to continue the fun and friendship we've built throughout the summer so we're going to try and spin in the fitness center on Tuesday/Thursday nights. There's never anyone there after 6:30 so it shouldn't be a problem. This way come the return of daylight savings in 2006, we'll still be is pretty good shape.

All in all it's been an incredible summer of riding! At the moment I'm 117.63 miles away form knocking off 5,000 miles for 2005 and I still have 2 months left! Never in a million years would I have thought I'd do something like this. It's the first sport that I have ever really had a compassion for and excelled in.

I'm not patting myself on the back, just stating a fact about myself and sports. Ask me about who is the current quarterback for Seahawks? I don't have a clue. How many points did Kobe shoot in the last game? How should I know? But ask me about bike racing and, yep, I can tell you about Basso, Levi, Ullrich, Mayo and Lance. I can tell you that Hunter and Donnie are the strongest Carve riders locally. I can tell you that Brice Jones lives in the heights and rides for Jelly Belly. I can tell you that Healthnet ruled the bike race world in the US. I can tell you that Colorado has the best collegiate cycling team.

I think I like this sport because it gives you freedom. Pick a road and go ride. Go explore. See the sights, feel the air, smell the smells of autumn. You can go in a group and laugh and cut up or get serious and work on skills. You can go solo and think about life, set goals or just unwind. You can ride on flatland or you can challenge a mountain.

Yes, it's been a wonder cycling year ... so far!

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