What a fun night. Drew, Mitch, and I showed up to enjoy Paceline's Recovery Ride. This ride is all about having a good time, so we yacked for two laps around Dull Rd. before the mood turned more serious. Unfortunately, Drew (being the gentleman he is) escorted two riders who were having trouble back to the shop. He missed the fireworks.
Ride leader Curtis was looking to repeat last week's smashing of the peloton by playing the waiting game. In his post-race interview, Mitch confessed that his strategy was to 'take it easy' up the first big hill then crank on it. I recalled Curtis' advice from last week's win ("hit it at the bottom of the hill"). What would happen, especially with Young Drew out of the picture? Well, here's the play-by-play of the 3rd lap:
Taking the right on Styers Ferry, all was quiet. Sure, there were the usual twitchy moments and squirts of speed that signal the rising anticipation of a break. Scott was playing mind games with all of us by speeding off and letting up. He had a follower in Jeff at one point, and pulses began to rise, but by the time we got to the big downhill, Mitch was holding steady, Curtis, Rob, and I were sitting on, and Scott was still dangling out front a bit. No one was really punching it.
At the bottom of the hill, I let out some slack and drifted left to avoid braking, grabbed a reasonable big-ring gear and got on it. Curtis and Rob came with me and before I knew it we were a trio cresting the hill. Rob calmly (barely breathing) utters "C'mon E-rich!" but my body wanted to rest a bit so I dug deep. Curtis was on my wheel, and we had a healthy gap in the works with two workhorses and a twerpy climber.
Curtis, no doubt still recovering from his iron-fisted dusting of all-comers last week had to fade a little after taking a long pull. Rob and I now found ourselves trading off and (at least I was) looking back to see who was on the trail. After Curtis, there was a good gap to the chasers, so the Curt-dawg was in 'no man's land.' Looking back 15 seconds later, Curtis was closing the gap (with Mitch and Scott closing) so I actually pulled out my whip and began to lash Rob and shout "hyah!" This helped things considerably.
With the Speed Limit sign in sight, Rob and I were clear with clean wheels. Whew! I shudder to think what might have happend if Drew were there...ugh. Here's a pic of Curtis (chatting cooly on his cellular telephone) & crew before we made for home.