As the darkness was giving way to the daylight on this first Sunday of 2009 the riders quietly rolled up at the assigned time. After handshakes and introductions, we rolled out with commendable promptness.
It was 33 degrees when I left my place and the dopler radar indicated we would have a dry ride, so I decided to bring the Ti Flyer and leave my fender-clad rain tool back in the stable to keep the other bikes company. We quickly made our way down to Lake Washington where we were greeted by breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier cloaked in pink snow to the southeast, and a panorama of the Cascade Range leading all the way to Mt. Baker to the north. The sky and water had a golden glow that made us feel alive despite the face numbing wind and near freezing temperatures.
We met up with two more at the top of the I-90 lid and I grabbed a quick picture. The chill kept our pause brief, and in a moment ten of us were sailing across Lake Washington on the I-90 bike lane.
Soon we were circumnavigating Mercer Island and enjoying nearly vacant roads. John showed his strength and Tim seemed ready to go faster. On the east side of the island, Sam, who had been moving up and down amongst the second group took over the pace making and led us in a single file paceline. Gradually we reeled in the three breakaway riders. Although this had been described as a leisurely ride, as we approached the park that marks the end of the route on the east side, testosterone took over and I watched the leaders break away from me despite my indicated speed of 26 mph.
On the return trip I regret to report that I became “that guy” when I flatted. Sam, Kevin, Matthew and Tom stopped and I did my best to make quick work of the tube change (by the way, at home I checked and I got 90 psi from the C02). After we resumed riding the chill that had set in during the brief stop quickly burned off.
The return was uneventful and as riders peeled off to fulfill various obligations, the balance of us had a friendly gathering for coffee and a snack. It was the perfect ending to a great winter ride. Hank and I waxed eloquent on the finer points of component mixing as Kevin considered his gearing options for the Cyclocross season that is only nine short months away. I got to babbling on about chain keepers and to make sure there isn't any confusion; here are two photos of the subject weapon. Not in the second shot you can see that you can adjust the angle (by rotating) and extension (the screw and slot mounting) of the chain keeper. I got mine from Cyclocrossworld.com
36 miles, 2:10 ride time, 16.2 average, 1,900 feet of climbing. Whew..