The 1st supported ride of the year for me, and my 1st time riding this venue. The weather was great. About 60F to start and mid 80s by end, but low humidity and some breezes. 5 locals made the hour-long trip South: Max, Rick, Robert, Joe, Larry and me. Joe and Larry paired up and did the whole ride at 18 mph, and NO rest stops. Or so they say. Joe is over 50, so there had to be a stop behind a tree somewhere.
Good organization, quiet roads and nice scenery. Rick and i paired up and did the ride together. He is faster than I am on flats, I climb quicker, so we looked like a mini slinky at times. Both of us ride lugged steel frames and both use free wheels, so there you go.
Here is Rick on the right with his '74 Raleigh and Max in St Pat's Day green on the left. Robert in the center did not get the memo, and sports orange socks. Green bike though. Joe had no clue on the calendar, and came with an orange bike. He smoked the course at an 18 avg (no rest stops over 55 miles) to be sure no one stopped him to question his allegiance to Ireland. Larry told us that growing up back home (Boston area) his job was drive Mom around to the bars so she could observe the day properly. Since he was still wearing the bar band from last night's entertainment on one wrist, it seems he made up for all that sober drive time back in the day.
ALL hills, all the time. The downslopes went by too quickly and the looooong up grades were grinds. No steep ups, just 5% after 6% after 4%, after 7%. You get the idea. After a calm morning with nary a breeze, we turned into a stiff flags-straight headwind for the last 25 miles home. Pretty though. Wisteria wafted perfume across the pavement, azaleas adorned the ample yards, and the hill tops offered nice views.
We had motorcycle safety escorts and they were good folks. This guy was parked at the top of a long climb and after noticing the sign on his windshield, I mentally started to run the numbers.