16
Oct
08

Glen Rose Rally Review, Oct 2008

Amy and I traveled down to Glen Rose last weekend, for our fourth visit to the Paluxy Pedal, a rally with lots of rolling hills, moderate temps, and chip-seal. Amy opted for the 60-miler, and I opted for the 80-miler. We drove down on Friday night, after leaving Shadow with Vic & Betty. It’s almost like she goes immediately into spoiled brat mode when she gets in there. She LOVES the back yard, and when Duke is there, the neighbors’ Australian Sheepdog, the two of them are like peas & carrots. They really are best friends, and it will make any heart lighter to see them wrestle and chase each other around.

Saturday morning, We showed up to slightly cool temps and very little breeze, and riding through the parking lot I saw a couple of Mirage jerseys here & there, and we waved or said hello to each other. There were a lot of Loncar riders, and a couple of regulars from the SPIN classes, like Carla and Jim Strauss. At the start line, the 45-milers went first (kind of confusing, but not too much trouble), and initially, besides David McIntosh and myself, I really didn’t see anyone else up front. There were a lot of Moritz and some Dallas Bike Works riders, and several others, but not too many competitive Miragees. Then, about a minute before the ‘hand cannon’ went off (a tradition to fire a flintlock pistol that goes with a thunderous roar), John Eder, Todd Hollenshead, and one other Mirage rider showed up about 80 yards down from the official start.

We all headed out and we were mostly grouped near the front. We caught some early departure riders, and mainly kept a solid tempo going, with the help of a Colonel’s rider who was on a P3, had a slight accent (Aussie?) and said he was a pro triathlete. He pretty much stayed near the front the whole time.

We kept the tempo fairly high, and soon we were down to a gruppetto of maybe 30, with roughly the same 7 characters sharing the load at the front. Though high, everyone seemed to be waiting for the infamous “Wall”. But there were dozens of good rollers leading up to it.

About 20-25 miles in, Eder took a flyer and got off the front of the pack, trying to bridge to the Colonel’s rider, who was about 30 seconds up on us. Now, I need to digress a short bit and give a quick overview of my relationship with him. He’s a good cyclist, and he’s nice off the bike, but on the bike, well, he’s sort of a butthead. In June, at the age-based State Championships, he hid and hid and hid and held a poor line for the first 35 miles, and only after I went out and took a mondo flyer to try and create a break, did he just take off with another group and just basically abused all the work I had done. I later caught up to him, but again, he used me and took zero pulls, and then, with about 8 miles to go, But talking with him later, he said that midway through his bridge, he f’in flatted with a slow leak, and he hustled a little bit faster to try and get as far ahead as possible so that he could fix the flat and try to hop back on. No joy – his spare had a hole in it, and he was OTB.

The wall itself was where all the action occurred. We had caught the Colonel’s rider about 4 miles before it, and we were all doing a pretty good clip, even in the hills behind the Wildlife Sanctuary, when it beckoned. I started off on the front of the hill, only to be passed by the Colonel’s rider as we climbed. Then out of NOWHERE, Todd showed up on my right, and COOKED IT up the hill. A Moritz rider who was half-wheeling me utterred a last gasp as he fell backward, and suddenly, it was Todd taking the first Merit Badge from the Scouts at the top, and me taking the second. I rolled up next to him and said “Let’s GO!” and we simultaneously began revving up the cadence and shifting gears.

The only rider who was able to catch on was the Colonel’s cyclist, and the three of us maintained a VERY high tempo for about 4 miles, until the Colonel’s rider got a flat right in front of the entrance to the Rough Creek Lodge, and bowed out. Then it was just the two of us. We looked back and besides a few 45-milers, we saw no one. I said “You want to take this thing? Go 1 & 2 or 1 & 1?” Todd’s reply? “Let’s just go until we get there!”

After that it was beautiful. Two white jerseys, working SEAMLESSLY on 20-30 second pulls over gorgeous countryside and sun-baked roads. The winds were picking up a little, but we stitched our weaving thread at about 25+ mph for just under an hour, until we got to the 60-mile turnoff. Todd then waved me on through, and said he was going for the 60. He had to have won it by well over 10 minutes.

The next 30 miles were a solo effort on my part at roughly 20-23mph, with definite dips in speed on hills and in headwinds. Final time was 3:18 or so for the ’80’, which actually ended up being a ’72’. Todd was already gone when I arrived.

Todd, I hope you get to read this.

I am absolutely amazed at the fitness, talent, determination, and strength you showed today, and I am absolutely grateful that you were on-site so that we could ride together. The compliments after each pull were mutual, the finesse with which you rode was subtle and refined, and…

MAN I CAN NOT WAIT UNTIL NEXT SEASON WHEN YOU KICK THE LIVING BEJEEBERS OUT OF SOME UNSUSPECTING 3’S IN THE SPRING AND SUMMER CLASSICS!

Dude, you rock, and you made today one of my finest mornings on a bike. Thanks.

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