Nobody showed up for my "C" ride today... Don't get me wrong, there were 10 riders present, but none of them wanted to ride at a "C" pace!
In round numbers, 2 Climbs, 66 miles, 5,000', 4-4.5 hours moving (depending on rider), dry roads, rushing creeks, no mishaps or flats (other than Jens' Di2 battery starting to run low).
7 riders rolled out from Howarth at 9:07 AM. Darrin, Craig, Carl S, MarC, Sam, Nick, and your fearless, if slow, rider leader. In short order, Miguel rolled up on the rear. On the Calistoga Rd. climb, Jady rolled past us at a good clip. I was leading the climb, with my ducks all tucked in behind me in a neat, single file row. Everyone was in warm up mode, so didn't take the bait — this time. Jens met us at the top of the climb, having ridden from Calistoga, so we were now 10 strong, pun intended. With the addition of Miguel, Jady, and Jens, the roster wasn't exactly deteriorating ;-)
On the St. Helena/Spring Mt. climb, I was a good ride leader and led from the rear. I wish I could say it was by choice. The only rider I could keep in sight was Craig H. I was able to claim the Lanterne Rouge on Spring Mountain without competition.
Spring Mt. featured dry pavement this time around, with only a few wet spots. The creek was still rushing, and again provided a beautiful distraction on the climb. The descent was much safer this week vs. last with more or less dry pavement.
Once on Silverado, the pace heated up, and I was immediately dropped. This meant a solo ride into Yountville, where the group waited patiently. Knowing they wanted to stick to the knitting, I made my stop brief, with a Coke and a quick snack.
We then headed for Trinity via Dry Creek. The ride along the frontage road was civil, and we all stuck together, but the pace heated up again on Dry Creek, and the group was completely shattered, every man for himself. Dry Creek was far from dry, and the rushing water was again an enjoyable distraction on the long drag toward Trinity.
On Trinity, I thought my Lanterne Rouge status was safe, until, near the top, I slowly reeled Craig in. Desperately wanting to hold onto my LR status, I eased up just a bit to ride behind Craig. But I eventually lost my resolve, and pushed a bit toward the summit, gaining a small gap on Craig going over the top.
We regrouped again at the bottom of Trinity, and I snapped a group photo. MarC, Miguel and Darrin broke off and took Sonoma Mt. to their respective destinations. Jady, Nick, and Sam powered ahead, and we were unable to match their pace, and did not see hide nor hair of them for the remainder of the ride. Jens, Carl, Craig, and I, finished ride together, safely back at Howarth at 1:50 PM.
Rider of the day is Craig H. Not because he did anything spectacular, but he was largely the only rider I could keep in sight all day, and he let me nip him on Trinity, so he's on my radar. Oh, and he did take that little bump of a climb at the end of the ride going into Spring Lake toward the bike paths!
This ride was pretty shattered, with riders going at different paces, and some getting dropped from time to time. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I think everyone enjoyed this ride very much, and got a great work out on a perfect Winter cycling day. A big thank you for those who came out today and rode safely. It's a pleasure to lead a ride with such a competent group. Stay tuned for the Three Hill!