Welcome Back, (Wheel) Sucker

Mr Kotter taught me about welcoming back.

And Marcus Sommers taught me about wheelsucking.  Well, Rae Dawn Chong did really, but it was while Marcus was trying to shake one off while training which was captured in the gripping documentary American Flyers which features, among other things, a moustache totally inferior to Mr Kotters.  Its tough to find a decent picture of the stash on the intertubulars so this is what I have.

Both of these concepts came together for me last night when I was finally able to attend one of Iowa City’s most beloved institutions, the A ride. It was a pretty nice day but durned windy and while I was hoping for a nice predictable Sugarbottom – Tiffin loop it was reported that we were going to go long and mosey all the way out to Oxford! Complicating matters I had forgotten all of my food. Crud. Big Jim Cochran gave me a 100 calorie chewy little morsel and off we went. Thanks Jim!The group was good sized, 20+ methinks and I was careful to stay near the front as we crossed town as I did not want to have to waste any of my precious little fitness chasing because I got caught at a red light. Made it out of town and into the wind and rode a nice solid brisk tempo in the double paceline style all the way to Oxford. I felt a bit pooped but it was a nice ride catching up with some people I had not seen in months. The turnaround changed the game as now we were enjoying a 30 mph tail wind so it was into the big rings and off to the races. I wanted to get a good test of where my fitness is so I decided to take all my pulls and see how far I could make it and that is what I did. The group shrunk, some poor guy (found out later it was Adam) hit a really big rock but amazingly did not flat or break his wheel or even crash and we kept on going. There are a couple of wiggles on this road and as we hit a cross wind the always cagey Hopson sat up and confused the paceline, or at least the me. I like an orderly rotation so I pulled through the clumsy front and kept the pace right where it had been but nobody pulled around. I probably kept at it for a quarter mile or so before getting relief. I knew that I was hosed at this point as my legs were turning to jelly but I kept pulling through and finally got popped off on a little bitty hill.The group was down to six or seven at this point and I felt okay about my effort, if not for the 60 mile mountain bike race looming I would feel as if I was right on track. So I guess I am but for one painful day coming. Sniffle… Rode in with team playa Jacobsen and we got caught by more and more people until we had a right proper gruppetto or autobus or whatever you want to call it. I guess Jim, after giving away food and beating us all up went and road around Sugarbottom for good measure. Good grief.  I came in with 2 hours 20 mins on the bike and with my previous commuting miles I am calling it 2.5 hours for the day with some intensity for once.

In other news, I have gotten in two rides on the Salsa now, a nice three point five hour roll on Sunday with the snow coming down and then an hour this morning. I mostly like the bike and feel pretty good about my position on it. I have only ridden a small amount of trail as most of what we have around here is under water but I can definitely feel the extra traction and I must admit it is refreshing to be able to shift.That is all.

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