Written by Vince Jones Saturday, 20 June 2015 00:00
The Tour de Cure was the first of the four big rides I had planned for the summer. My employer is a major sponsor of this event and covers our entry fee if we raise a certain amount in donations. So, with the help of some family and friends, I made the cut again this year. Last year was such a mess trying to get into the speedway that I made sure I arrived early and got inside of the raceway without any issues. I met my friend Ben in the parking lot and we got our stuff together for the ride. This was going to be Ben's first attempt at a century so he was going to start slow and pace himself. At the staging area Ben stayed towards the back and I moved up closer to the front to get out with the faster riders. My other riding buddy Guy was also participating in this event and we managed to find each other in the crowd so we could ride together.
The ride started with a pace lap around the race track and then we went out thru the North tunnel and into the parking areas. From there it was onto the open road for 45 miles then back to the track for 55 miles around the oval. Guy and I were keeping an eye on the groups while we tried to figure out who was going to be fast. Only a hand full of riders had escaped up the road before we found a strong group and got down to business. We were doing a OK sharing of the work at the front for a little while but before long Guy and I found ourselves doing most of the pulling. Guy is stronger than I am so he was doing OK with this but I could tell I was burning out way too fast for a hundred mile ride. When it was my turn to pull again I bailed out in less than a minute hoping that someone besides Guy would come forward. Fortunately they did and things got back to normal for a little while. We had a steady pace going except for one rider who would accelerate every time he got up front. This was stretching out the group every time he took a turn. Eventually this popped me off the back. I had taken my turn at the front and dropped to the back of the line. The next person in line had taken their turn at the front and was dropping back just as we were being passed by some traffic. I slowed to let them into the line and out of traffic when the pace up front quickened. I was caught slowing down as the pack hit the gas and it was over. I was off the back. I gave it a valiant effort to try to rejoin the group with no success. Then I set a goal to just keep them in site but that did not work out either. It was not long before I was isolated on the road. The turn around area was only a few miles away and I hoped to regroup there.. When I reached the turn around Guy had waited for me and we made the return trip to the speedway together.
When we arrived at the speedway we were still not quite halfway thru the ride. We did a few laps to just get a feel for the wind and the track then we set up a routine where we could try to share the load. The front stretch of the speedway was brutal due to the wind but you could really fly down the back stretch for the same reason. We were maybe a eight laps into the 37 or so were going to be doing when I noticed a leaf blowing in the wrong direction right next to the outside wall on the front stretch. On the next lap we made a point to hug the outside wall as tight as we could to see if we got any relief from the wind. It might have just been in my head but I felt like it helped a little bit. Most of the crowd was not doing the pace Guy and I were so we were splitting the work between the two of us. Guy did spot a group of riders going at a good pace so we decided to try and get in with their group when they got close to us. It was amazing how long that took. I had almost forgotten about them when they pulled up beside us and asked how it was going. That happened on the front stretch as I was pulling into the wind and just as they got beside us I got massive cramps in both legs. Our help had arrived just as I was going to have to dial it back for a bit. Guy went with them as I soft pedaled for a few laps. It was at this time that I heard someone cheer "GO BIKEMAN" I have no idea who it was but can only assume it was a satisfied Bikeman customer.
When it was all over, I ended up riding 105 miles at 19.5 MPH. I was hoping to be a little faster but with the cramps at the end it was good enough. One other thing I can say is that riding on the track at TMS was always a big draw for me to do this ride BUT, after having to do that many laps this year, riding on the track has lost its appeal.
|< Prev||Next >|