We thought they would be fast… but not that fast.
We thought they would be strong… but not that strong.
We thought they would be rested… well it looks like they got plenty of rest.
Cap’t Thomas drove up to the parking lot and pulled out the Super Trek, his new Project One bike with Dura Ace 7900, and did his usual spin the rear wheel and apply oil to the chain. He only pulls this bike out on special occasion. I looked for signs of weaknesses, as he just did a marathon and bested his personal time. Nothing looks out of place, no menthol patches and no funny walk. Hmmm...
The Animal rolled in on his gleaming orange Orbea. He stopped and adjusted his ipod earpieces. Scott rode in from his house as was his usual warmup drill. I looked here too for signs of weaknesses, as Scott has spent the last 3 weeks alone with his baby while his wife was on travel for work. No signs of lack of sleep or anything as much. Hmmm...
The group this week was large, totaling around 25 riders. There were old and new riders, but no one who looked like a total newbie. Thanh, the “Tom Danielson” of Palomar fame, was here getting some miles in before the Palomar assault in a few weeks. Big Minh was out with his new Specialize Tarmac. Fixie Girl back for more action. We even had the Rock Racing Team in full kits with their super aero wheels and gleaming bikes. This should be interesting…
The roll down to the beach was the best double paceline I have ever seen we did, for this size of a group. There was a unison among all the riders, and no one let a gap develop between themselves and the front rider. Our new recruits, Big Minh, Mac, and Viet, were drafting and pulling well. Good, we can work together and keep the Comeback Kings in their place. If the Davids work together, they can keep the Goliaths down.
PCH, once again, spoiled our plan. The Animal and Cap’t went to the front, rotated, and exercised their pent-up energy. Even as they exploded all of their energy into their legs, a group of 12 riders hanged tough, and even took turn with the pull on the front. This went on until the Jamboree hill.
The hill blew the race apart. The climbers went to the front and showed their strength-to-weight power. Then there also was University Drive, where everything changed. The group got even smaller as Nick now took turn rotating at the front. The pace went from around 25 mph to 30 mph. Also the constant acceleration, as new riders took pull and surged, had decimated the group. I looked around, and only saw Nick, Scott, Thomas, Tuan, Duc, and Long. There were only 7 of us left from the 25 riders that started the ride.
The ride was a blur from there to the Irvine gas station stop. I had to sprint constantly just to maintain contact with the group. Anyone who let a gap grew would have to work extra hard to close the gap. I glanced at Scott and Thomas occasionally; they both had this gleam and excitement in their eyes. They wanted to let the rest of us know that they are back. The “Patron” has returned to the Peleton!
We grouped up at the stop, and the slower riders rolled out first. I tried to go with them, as I was burned, but was stop short by the Comeback Kings. They wanted to make sure I received more of the tender loving care they had dished out so far. No rest for the weary I thought. We waited an additional 15-20 minutes for Loc, who got lost.
The ride back from there was a classic, and exhilarating, group chase. We knew the front group had a 15 minute head start, and everyone poured themselves into the chase. It was heads down and charged all the way. This work resulted in us catching the front group mid way back on the trail.
In the end, there was not much left in the tank, but we were all pumped from the ride. The Comeback was successful, and it was as if Scott and Cap’t never left. Back again, as a single bike unit.