It’s been a busy summer and this was my first Sunday group ride in a long time. The person that posts the rides and their start times to the group changed this to an early morning start at 8am, but since it’s less than a mile from home, it’s an easy one to get to.
It had just finished raining as I left home, so I left my jacket by the parking lot as we left. Max had emailed the group about coming on this ride, but we hadn’t seen him by 8 since he had a flat tire and wasn’t able to catch up until after Odessa.
The ride south was pleasant in the morning without any direct sun, and it stayed mostly overcast until the afternoon shortly before the ride was finishing. I wore long layers top and bottom but could have dealt with much less without the risk of getting burnt in the sun.
After climbing the hills after the break in Odessa, the group started to stretch out. One rider stopped on the climb and was adjusting the rear wheel. He didn’t seem to need help as Steve and I passed, so we continued along. I climbed with Steve for the first hill, but and at the top I wanted to catch up with the front group since I’ve been trying to build up my fitness more this summer after not spending much time on the bike lately.
At the top of another hill, Mary Ann, John, and Lisa decided to wait for Steve, the guy behind him if he had continued, and maybe Max (at this point we didn’t know if he did make it to Odessa). I went on the drops and tried to catch the rest of the group ahead. A short and steep decent before the next turn saw a max speed of 47mph on the GPS. I caught the group and then tried to catch my breath, as they were moving along swiftly.
I learned more about the upcoming ride that randonneurs are all looking forward to: Paris-Brest-Paris. Bill plans to ride with the 84 hour time limit group to complete about 750 miles with around 35,000ft of climbing. Some on-the-bike math made that climbing seem not awful, since a typical Finger Lakes hilly route sees 100ft of climbing per mile, while PBP is only about a third of that. On little sleep, and at that distance, it’s got to be a great challenge though. Bill also had some good insight on tire widths, which is a great debate among cyclists.
A final regrouping and quick break at the top of the last major hill brought the front group together again after some chasing on the hills. Once we headed east, the pace was brought up quite a bit as the route is slightly downhill from here. The GPS data showed that the pace was over 26mph for 14 minutes on the fastest section, and in one chase we were going over 30mph for 2 minutes.
The clouds had passed by the end of the ride, and just over 4 hours after we started, we were back at the start, about 57 miles later.