John was back from a vacation in France and was itching to ride fast. He would not be denied and when it came time to switch from conversational pace to survival of the fittest, he was off like his Seabiscuit nickname implies.
We all tried to restrain ourselves but soon McWoodie was ramping it up and for reasons I cannot explain, I jumped on his wheel. In no time there were twelve guys in three groups turning their heart rate dials to zone five.
I looked down and we were well over forty kilometers an hour and there were no signs of letting up. My legs had felt pretty good considering the sixty miles including warm up and cool down they had raced twenty one hours earlier. I could feel an increasing heaviness in my legs as the pace continued. If I had a lactic acid meter I am sure it would have been slowly climbing from the green to yellow to orange and finally into the red.
There were five of us in the front group and I could tell my time was running out. I took a medium pull and fought to catch back on. When my turn came again I took a shorter pull and caught on, but I knew this was it. When the next rider rotated back I waved him in and popped.
On the way back the typical scenario unfolded. We started social and after the downhill it ramped up ever so slowly. Twelve became ten and then seven and finally five and then the attacks came. John takes a flyer, then Dave and McWoodie won't let it slow down. I wanted to give Seabiscuit a lead out but my turn at the front came at the wrong time.
When the final climb came I downshifted and spun up the hill while the others fought it out for an imaginary prize.
After regrouping at the park we rolled back and I wondered what compulsion made a bunch of middle aged men push themselves so hard when several (including me) had good reasons to take it easy.
I am reminded of the golfer who tries to keep his swing clean and strike the ball without trying to crush it. It seems when you try to smash a golf ball your swing usually isn't straight and you end up mis-hitting the ball. So to this was supposed to be a recovery day for several of us, yet when it got going...we couldn't resist.
Self control isn't my strong suit.