Also see the Performance Group’s first Blog entry about this ride: Visit the Performance Group Blog[Posted by Stan Schultz]
It started as one of the Peloton Group’s early-season goals: do the 75 mile Ione Loop. It morphed into a friendly challenge that seems to have brought out most everyone’s best performance. It’s called a “Fox and Hound Ride.” The Peloton Group starts the route about 15 to 20 minutes before the Performance Group. The Performance Group then tries to catch and pass the Peloton Group on the same route. The event was stoked up a bit when Steve Ward placed a bet for pizza and beer that the Performance Group couldn’t hold a average pace of 19mph over the course of the whole ride.
My account of this ride, unfortunately, was focused primarily on mechanical problems. Multiple flats and tire problems forced me to limp back from Ione, stopping to pump up my tire every 5 to 7 miles. Thanks to Ross for sticking with me, and for giving up his tube and CO2 cartridges.
Follow-up e-mails from others attest to a great ride that brought out a great performance by the foxes and hounds. Stan, Ross, Lisa, and Ron all added one more element to the ride: sheep. A combination of mechanical challenges and a century ride the day before for Ron and Lisa left us behind, like sheep. Fortunately the hounds had more interest in Foxes than Sheep.
Here is a temporary post that I extracted from a follow-up email from Lisa Haas, who justifiably chose to cut the ride short and head back to Folsom with Ron from Rancho Murietta (…by car…oye, long story). Kevin or Lisa will likely write-up a more complete account later, but for now:
[Lisa Haas] This morning as you recall we last saw a tight and well disciplined peloton under Curtis’ tutelage heading northwest towards Irish Hill Road. Not far behind were Feloniously Fast Phil and his pack of hounds nipping at their back wheels. Then Ron and I decided to change our route to an out-and-back in Ione; the wind, Patterson Pass and Palomares really taxed our legs yesterday and we thought it best not to overdo it. We split off of you and Ross at Irish Hill and returned to Rancho Murieta at a decent pace, but with purpose. Once back at his car Ron and I chose to backtrack the route home for the scenery.
Halfway up Scott Road on the way to Folsom we spied 2 riders up ahead. We figured that with the timing information we had from the CF Ride Library it was likely the Performance group well satiated from gobbling up the foxes. As we got nearer I realized it was Kevin and another rider I couldn’t identify (sorry—I still don’t know everyone yet). They were peddling like fiends, grinning away as we passed and waved. I thought, “Holy cow, they’re out here with nobody else in sight! Where’s everyone else?” They were riding so furiously and were clearly so superhumanly stoked I thought, “Maybe they got a break and are still being chased!” As far as the eye could see there were no other cyclists on the road, so I figured these guys somehow got a lucky break and were having a really good day. Nonetheless, I was duly impressed by the amount of heart they were throwing into their task… and making dang good time!
As we made our way back into town we finally saw other cyclists heading north across Iron Point. Although lots of other riders were on the road today, I had an unsettled feeling I would know who these guys were. As we continued up Sibley we watched them pull further away from us (remember we’re in the car)—they hit every light green while we stopped at each one, just barely keeping them in view until they disappeared into Old Folsom.
At 12:03 we arrived at the parking lot across from Karen’s Bakery. Standing calmly by the gate with bike stacked up along the fence was Joel whittling away at a snack. Surrounding him were Gary, Phil, and three others whose names I unfortunately haven’t learned yet. All I could think was that blood spilled on Irish Hill Road and the peloton blew apart like it was hit by a nuclear explosion. By the way Curtis was nowhere in sight in the parking lot…I surmised he was already home and showered with a tasty cold beverage in hand. The group agreed.
So let it be known Phil really is feloniously fast—his computer clocked in a preliminary 18.9 mph average with his accomplice felons coming up with similar data. The group handily sliced and diced Ione Loop in a touch over 3.5 hours. I rarely rarely bag a ride, but this was quite an experience and I’m glad I did just to get a first-hand commentary on how the morning played out. On days like these all the behind-the-scenes hard work and training these athletes regularly put in gets a chance to shine and I have tremendous respect for them. It is this dedication that brands Cycle Folsom’s reputation in the community. I’m guessing Steve owes a handful of his riding pals pizza and beer!
More to come about this ride a littler later.