Drew A and I drove out on Friday morning with an agenda of getting food and beer, meeting Jay and Newport at the Barn, and getting a ride in in time for Jay, Audrey and me to meet with a local businessman about some Classic stuff. The plan was going great until we met up with Bike Rack guys, went to roll out from where they're staying, and Newport's chain breaks. Having no mini tools with a chain tool, we had no ready fix, so Newport started walking the 5 miles up the hill to the Barn.
Jay and the other group were long gone at this point, and Drew and I had no idea where they were going, and I was now working under a tigtening time limit. Drew and I are incapable of riding together without half wheeling the living shit out of one another, so our leg opener ride became more like a vintage edition of Amstel Gold or something. We did a lap of the course that we didn't choose, which is a total SOB of a loop, met two BR dudes who'd flatter and been ditched by their group (?), and headed with them to the course loop. One lap for means I was now slightly behind schedule so headed up the hill. Newport was now making his way down, so Drew did another lap with him.
The meeting was bizarre, but constructive. Mostly bizarre.
Saturday morning saw me fixing other people's bikes and then them not waiting the 3 minutes it took me to get my own shit together afterwards, so I got ditched. Just since we'rekeeping score - when someone arranges the trip, does the food shopping, spends Friday evening at a meeting for a race that he won't even get to do but you will, then spends his getting ready time on Saturday morning making it possible for you to ride because your bike is all janked up and you have no basic mechanical skills, you wait.
So the ride started with me having the joy joy joy in my heart heart heart. And I was behind everyone for the descent, which I hate. I don't know if it's from skiing or what but I like to go downhill and generally do it rather unslowly. I also practice it, which I don't think people do very much. But I really suck at riding behind people going downhill. I only see the line I want, and am totally unable to prdict why people are going to do through turns. They astound me every time. Into one corner, a cluster was in front of me and I thought "no sweat I'll just pass them on the straight after this.". All cool until they came damn near to a dead stop going around the corner. Full brake lock up, nice skid, almost take DW out while skidding, and down I go. Money. And now I'm stuck behind all the people I'd passed before. So I get going again, pass most everyone again and we get to the bottom and head straight to where the streets have no name. Because there are no streets to name.
The first dirt climb was fun, sort of like the Cliff note version of Blue Mountain. If i'm not mistaken, Drew led the Scot and me over the top. The descent sucked, imagine the shdier parts of the Poolesville dirt angled down pretty sharply with lots of curves. Would have been a ball on a mountain bike but since we were on road bikes, well. OK. So I got a front flat going down, which isn't terrifying or anything on a descent like this. Simultaneously my right contact lens jumps out of my eye so now I'm a bit blind and have zero depth perception Quick tube change and we are off to another dirt climb. The descent this time was hard packed gravel. Also sucked but was at least short. At this point I'm a bit pissed. WTF are we doing here? When we regroup I say "I don't mean to be the douche here but no more gravel. This just cold blows." So we head up a huge gravel false flat, only this time the gravel is the 3" sharp shit they use aspaving underlayment for highways. It REALLY sucks to ride on, and now the joy joy joy is in my heart heart heart like never before. Ever. Until we start having to go down for like 2 miles, and you guessed it I get another front flat. At this point I want to spike me bike. The positives are that it will likely break and I'll have plenty of tools with which to kill Jay. Downside is I'm about 30 miles from the car. Further up the hill, people are dealing with Bert's shredded front tire. After damn near forever, we get to the bottom, at which point Jay says "when this all gets paved it'll be a bad ass loop!". To which I immediately reply "yeah, and when my dick grows 8 more inces I'll make a hell of a pornstar. NO MORE GRAVEL!"
We get going again and there's much aggression and gnashing of teeth and lots of pavement! Jay and Steven bust it wicked hard at some point and I manage to stay with them and we get a huge gap. Soon after, Steven and Drew bust one and I try my butt off to bridge, taking pieces out of them but not closing it all the way, so Joe the Motor Molloy and Jay bridge to me and we catch them. Drew counters (which took big big sack - we'd been going absolute full gas) but then dies and Jay goes. F. I make an effort to go with him, Steven does it, and my time in no man's land all of a sudden gets very expensive and I die. Drew goes by, but we manage to somehow keep it close until the next regroup. Ow. Huge gap behind us and Newport's chain starts acting up. It must not have been that bad.
Next climb comes soon enough and Jay takes off with both Drews and they get a solid gap. I'm with Bert and Newport with Steven just ahead. DW drops from that group and Jay drops DA. I give more gas and get close with Steven, who is getting close to DA. Over the top Jay's gone, DA probably has 20 seconds on Steven and Steven has about 10 or 15 on me. I go full psycho on the descent and catch Steven and we take off after Drew. Jay is standing at our next intersection and Drew slides safely into home base about one second before Steven and I can catch him.
We all call truce until the last climb and to some degree it holds. DA is looking to go huge up the hill and won't believe that I'm as worked as I say I am. The false flats at the bottom are feeling like Ventoux but we all soldier on. It gets a little steeper and Drew goes. I figure I'm going to stay with him as long as I can so just stay with him. Steven, Jay and Bert all come too. Jay goes at one of the early hairpins and Drew goes with. They get about 5 seconds on me, and I've got some on Bert and Steven. Watching Drew and Jay in front of me would have been hilarious if it had been on tv. They were so punchdrunk they could barely stay upright. Of course I probably looked worse.
My gearing choice left me standing a lot more than desired and I started to feel a pretty foreboding pre-cramp tickle in my left hammie. Putting it into survival mode, Steven and Bert passed, but the whole cluster was pretty close. I saw Steven pass Drew, and then Bert did. As I went over the top I figured there was no more passing or being passed for me and chilleaxed it in. Plus it had started to rain and I'd long since put my glasses into the Gu pocket of my jersey so they were useless and sugar coated and I was stone cold blinded.
Bert wound up passing Steven to take the laurels.
A good ride. I'd never before seen Jay get the least bit wobbly so more than any numbers that told the story to me. Watts were generally high, speeds were eithe off the charts high or off the charts low. Mileage was around 70, no clue what the vertical gain was but let's just call it out of hand.
I think I managed to salvage my front rim last night. Front flats on downhills = no good.