Sunday, August 06, 2006

Chasing the Hammer

Chasing the Hammer

Yesterday was spent doing…well, mostly nothing. I went out to get some stuff at Home Depot and to buy some jeans at the mall, but they were out of what I needed/my size. Instead I went to Best Buy and got a copy of “Office Space” with a gift card I had sitting around. I ended up watching three movies yesterday; one on TV and the other two on DVD. I guess you could say I was recharging for today.

I drove over to Jon C.’s house today and met him, Wally and Dave L. for a nice thirty mile ride. I don’t think it was a hot today as it’s been lately, but the humidity was high so it felt a lot hotter. Jon led us off on a route that he apparently rides with all comers every Sunday (this is just the first one I could show up for).

A lot of the roads were ones I’ve been on, many of them recently with John B., but I still don’t know them all really well, as was evidenced at the first county line sprint.

OK, I realize that some of you may not be avid cyclists, so I’ll explain that one. Any time a group of riders goes out on a ride, and more so with the folks I tend to ride with, you can count on a county line sprint. You may have set a ‘easy ride’ rule at the beginning of the ride, but once a county or city limit sign comes into view there will be a frenzy of acceleration from most of the faster riders to see who can win the glory and honor of the sprint. These sprints are neutralized if there’s a car coming, but that’s about the only limitation. Most county limit signs around here are at the tops of hills, so I tend not to win many.

For the first county line today, we came around a curve with me in front, and the next thing I knew, Dave and Jon were taking off. I tried to follow, but I started out in the wrong gear and just couldn’t catch back on. Still, I gave it a go and was not too far back at the line for third, but I’m betting my orthopedic doc would chastise me for joining in. I just couldn’t help it though – I guess it’s ingrained.

Today’s course was a very hilly one, and Wally and I ended up off the back on every one of them, with only Jon to chase Dave to the tops. Wally told me at one point that Dave had recently received the nickname ‘The Hammer’ for his tendency to push the pace on the hill climbs. I think it was taking something out of Jon to follow him on each climb, especially considering that Jon hasn’t been able to ride a whole lot recently.

Wally and I were good to go on the descents, though, and after one particular climb we passed the other two near the bottom of the hill. They were just tooling along about 20 yards behind, not making any effort to catch up, when Wally said “Hey, there’s a county line sprint about a mile up the road. Go for it.” We were on a long relatively flat section, and I didn’t think I had enough in the tank to pull off a solo break, but Wally encouraged me and I gave it a go. I pushed it up to about 85-90% effort, thinking I would hold some back just in case Dave or Jon caught on.

I didn’t look at my cyclometer, so I wasn’t sure exactly how far I’d gone looking for the county line sign. I remembered hitting the rough pavement (which can beat you to death after a while), but I figured out that I’d missed it when I hit Martin Mill Rd. I stopped under shade to wait, and Wally came up next.
Wally: Dude, why did you keep hammering?
Big Guy: I must have missed the county line sign. I kept looking for it.
Wally: Remember where the pavement goes rough?
BG: Yeah…
Wally: That’s the county line.
BG: But I didn’t see a sign.
Wally: There isn’t one. That’s the county line.
BG: Oh. At least I beat 'The Hammer'.

After the ride back to Jon’s, we sat around on his front steps and got to play some with his 1 yr. old son for a while, and then I headed home and took a two hour nap. Since then I’ve washed the cars, worked on laundry, written a blog post, and now I’m getting ready to pay bills, finish laundry, and possibly work some more in the garage or basement. I gotta make up for yesterday at some point.

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