[Written by Phil Blay] It was billed as a “Fox and Hound Ride.” The Peloton Group starts about 20 minutes earlier than the Perormance Group, with the latter hunting them down like hounds after foxes.
The morning started out strange….Met up with Gary at Karen’s 8:12am and no one else was there to support the Performance group in the chase for the Foxes! Until Jeff M. came out to join us. Thanks Jeff! So The three of us started out at 8:20am. We were not too confident we could chase down a big Peloton group of 9-11 riders. Also, Curtis showed up to ride with the Peloton Group (our luck Curtis would not join the Performance Group for the chase). Curtis changed the course to Irish Hill Road for the route back.
The three of us rolled out and decided to start at a maintainable pace and try to keep the pace as high as possible without anyone blowing up. Jeff stuggled a little the first few miles warming up. Gary and I would start to push too hard and Jeff would go off the back. He asked us to just go ahead but we knew that a third man was needed to have any chance at all of catching the Peloton. Made the turn onto Jackson Highway and blew right past the old water stop in Murrieta. Felt like a tail wind heading towards Ione road (not good for the way back). Made the turn onto Ione road and Gary picked up the pace on the slight down hill and we really started to put the hammer down. Jeff was helping as much as possible but Gary and I wanted him to get the most rest to help later in the ride. (This would prove later to be a good strategy). A few miles in I was leading and saw some riders on the side of Ione road.
It was Stan, Lisa, Ron and Joel. Stan flatted and was in the process of pumping up the tire. According to Stan’s group the breakaway Peloton Proup with Curtis was about five minutes ahead! Lisa and Ron took off to get a head start while Jeff, Gary and I waited for Stan to complete the repair. We decided to give them a pull to catch up with the breakaway (we would learn later that this was not possible). We three were just too strong and kept losing Stan’s group and slowing for them to catch up to our wheels. Finally we pulled the plug so to speak and put the hammer down. (sorry Stan and group but we were on a mission)
We made the turn onto the golf course road and kept up our speed heading in to the water stop (The average MPH can go down quick when slowing for a stop). As we were just turning into the driveway the breakaway group was just leaving! The surprised look on their faces was worth the effort we put in the last ten-twelve miles! We made as short a water stop as possible and got right back on the road.
We ramped the pace up on Irish Hill road hoping to make up time on the breakaway Peloton Group (They had other ideas….can you say Curtis had other ideas……). When we made the left turn back onto Jackson road were greeted by a side/headwind. Gary and Jeff started to slow on their pulls on Jackson so I took the lead for most of the way back to Murieta. Where was the breakaway group? Were they that far ahead? I started to feel little leg cramps coming into Murietta from the effort on Jackson road.
We made the turn onto Sloughhouse climbed over the “Hump” with Jeff riding right past Gary and I up the hill! Jeff won the KOM honors! Then Jeff started to pull us like a sleddog down Scott Road. He whipped up the speed to where Gary and I were having a hard time staying on his wheel. Both of us were feeling the twinges of cramps on each uphill section of Scott road. Our average had dropped to 18.9mph. Things were not looking good. NO catch of the breakaway Peloton Group and the average speed dropping! I was not feeling like I could keep the motor running, so to speak. But Jeff kept pulling and Gary and I kept in his draft all the way to Prairie City road. As we neared Whiterock the average moved back to 19.0! We started feeling like the next winners of the Tour De France! We made the turn onto Whiterock and Gary took the lead to keep the pace high with me slotted second and Jeff taking a well deserved break. The turn onto Prairie City was one of desperation, we had dropped back to 18.9mph. We had to either catch the breakaway group (not going to happen this late in the ride) or get our average back up to 19.0 to save the Performance Group’s Ione ride!
Gary’s and Jeff’s average MPH was a few ticks slower than mine as I had kept up a faster pace in the Irish Hill section. So the decision was made for Gary and Jeff to lead me out and sacrifice themselves so I could get my average back up to 19.0. Just after the 50 over pass Gary and Jeff ramped it up pulling me at speeds up to 26-29mph. My average peaked at 19.1. Yea! All I had to do was ride no slower than 19mph the last couple of miles! Gary dropped off the pace line exhausted. Jeff kept the pace up with me staying in the draft, Jeff and I rode into Karen’s and I stopped the Garmin averaging 19.1 for the ride! This included the ride from my house to Karen’s to meet up ror the ride.
We found out the Peloton group had averaged 18.5mph for the ride. It seems Curtis helped them keep the pace up. To make matters worse…..Scott McKinney joined the group somewhere on the way back and helped. Gary, Jeff and I did not feel so bad not catching the breakaway Peloton group today with those two strong guys helping them out. The .6mph average speed is not enough speed difference to make up 17-20 minutes of lead out with Curtis and Scott lending a helping hand!
Kudos to the Peloton Group for their awesome ride today.