Saturday 6am…..getting up and checking weather conditions. Wet roads, slight sprinkles and roads seem to be drying. 6:30am, taking in the usual bowl of oatmeal pre-ride breakfast meal. Watching the news wondering if the rain will hold off until the ride is completed today. 7:20am start to get dressed, piecing together what layers to wear. Do I need a rain jacket? Booties? Ear warmers? It’s a crap shoot on what will be found out on the road today. 7:35am, check bike tires, put on shoes and start pedaling to meet the group at the covered parking lot across from Karen’s Bakery. The first mile I’m a little cold but after the second mile rolls by I’m thinking I have picked the right combination of layers and winter gear. 7:50 or so arrive at the parking lot. Say hi to Steve Ward (El Patron) who is getting ready to ride up to Georgetown on a BP training ride. He states he might see snow…….
Five riders show up to start this ride. Brian (ride leader), Chad, Claire, Miles, Eric and myself. We are feeling pretty good about today’s ride. We might beat the forecast of rain later today. As we roll out the roads are semi dry across the Auburn Folsom bridge. Descending to the north AR bike trail the pavement is wet/dry. Brian and I are at the front pulling the group for the first ten or so miles at a medium pace. Clair and Miles take over and pull for a long period taking us close to the first major route turn at (Northegate) rain drops start hitting us. The levee bike trail is wet with light rain falling. I am riding next to rather than right behind the rider in front to keep away from the wet rooster tail off the rear wheel. We make the one stop for restrooms and water with rain coming down at a pretty good rate.
We get a much needed tail wind down Levee road. I’m seeing an average mph between 22-25 depending on who is on the front. We are all getting wet at this point. Staying warm is on our minds. The easy part of the ride is winding down as we make the turn onto Riego road heading east. Just as Brian gets a pace set….I have the rear tire go flat. I get the tire off and find something in the tread. Brian gets the offending particle out for me, and I get the new tube and tire mounted a quickly as possible. My hands are freezing! Just as we are ready to go the rain lets up. I get out to the front and start soft pedaling until everyone is on and then start to slowly wind up the pace. With the cross wind I’m seeing a 19.4 mph average speed and I keep pounding out this pace not looking back as there is not much shoulder to work with and traffic speeding along the road. After a while I get the feeling that no one is behind me. I take a quick look and see Chad back a couple hundred meters and the rest of the group back even further. Geeze…..I did not mean to drop the group on this stretch of road, just pace them though without slowing too much. I slowed down and let Chad catch up, he said he dropped back to help pull the group back. Chad and I slowed to let the Brian, Eric, Claire and Miles catch up. Then Chad went up front and took a long pull with me on second wheel and Claire third wheel. Chad pulled us all the way to the next turn onto Fiddyment.
The rain was spotty the rest of the way through Roseville. The group was split a few time at stop lights and rollers on Roseville Parkway. The last section of Roseville parkway has a slight climb to Barton Road. Miles went off the front, Chad and I chasing. Brian, Clair and Eric were kept pounding out a reasonable climbing pace. I caught up with Chad, we passed Miles and put a little gap between us and Miles by the time we reached Barton Road. Brian, Clair and Eric arrived soon after.
The last section of the ride should have been easy to return to Karen’s. I was in autopilot on Barton telling Brian that these rollers used to hurt me bad. Not so much today! Just after the last roller we encountered a 90 degree right turn. Brian went in first, Miles dove in looked OK but suddenly the back end broke loose and Miles was down hard on the tarmac. I was back a few bike lengths and had just committed to a line through this turn. Miles was right in my line. Race day instincts took over…..A quick assessment of options went through my mind…..#1 slow as much as possible before hitting into Miles, #2 Get off line, slow as much as possible and look for a soft place to land. I went for option #2. As I slowed I over braked and locked up the rear, passed by the outside of Miles and spotted the point where I wanted to hit the wood fence and hopefully glance off it and stay upright. Once I hit the fence I knew that I was going over the bars. I tucked my head and rolled with the bike. I finished the roll laying on my side with my left leg still clipped in. Somehow I managed to not to get hurt. Miles was not so lucky and was not getting up too quick. We took a little while to let Miles get up and make sure he was not hurt bad. Checked the bikes over to make sure they were in riding condition and then rode the last 1-2 miles together back to Karen’s.
Everyone was soaked to the bone during this ride. I have to give Claire credit as she wore the least amount of gear for the entire ride. One layer of arm warmers, no leg warmers and light gloves. Claire, I do not know how you stayed warm today!
Brian contacted Miles on Sunday and he is OK. He has some road rash on one hip that will heal. No broken bones. His helmet cracked so he must have hit his head on the pavement at some point in the crash.