On Saturday, 11 riders -- Sonny, Rick W., Caleb, Brian J., Brian F., Roscoe, Mark, Tim, Ted, Jude, and Scott -- kicked off the summer season with a 100 mile endurance ride from the farm. The day’s course avoided most population centers and headed into the heart of Delmarva, winding through Sussex, Wicomico, Dorchester, and Caroline counties.
Traffic was light and the locals were always quick with a friendly wave as OVC’s double paceline pulled by. We’d hoped to pick up another rider mid-route, but it looks like we just missed each other -- Sorry we missed you, Sean! Other than that glitch, it was smooth sailing all day with mile after mile being tapped out at a steady endurance pace as planned.
After refueling in Preston and getting a team photo in Choptank, the crew got geared up for the only intermediate sprint point of the day at Suicide Bridge. About two miles out, Ted was the first to move up front and raise the tempo. As the line approached, Rick W poured out almost 1300 watts and raised the pace to 37 mph. His effort, however, was a little early, leaving the door open for Mark and Caleb to duke it out for the world championship. It was close, but I think Caleb got it by a nose; both riders tied for the bridge KOM with a 34.4 mph average.
Although their legs were getting a bit weary from hours in the saddle, the intact group soldiered on at a steady 20 mph and enjoyed a light tailwind for much of the second half of the ride. With about 7 to go, one could sense parts of the group were getting antsy and were ready to throw the gloves off for the finale. In particular, Ted was once again up at the front. In fact, he was soon off the front and remained there for a couple of miles. As usual, I hit the gas on the Sharptown Bridge at 4 to go. Thankfully, Caleb and then Mark were able to bridge up before the turn on Rt 24. We got into a good rotation and began building up to a 25 second gap on the chasers. Scott and Brian broke away in a valiant two-man chase, but did not have enough miles to make up the lost time. Meanwhile, with about a mile to go, Caleb began to crack and Mark and I were just hanging on. At 500m, I got a small gap on Mark and barely hung on to defend my home turf. Great finish and congrats to everyone for making it to the final stretch will all starters on board. Moving time for the 100 miles was about 5 hrs 10 min (elapsed time of 5hrs 30 min) for an average speed of 19.4 mph.
Back at the farm, Alex, Ferb, and Christle had just completed a 36 mile route and Ferb was distributing much-needed liquid refreshment. Everyone was able to stick around for post-ride beers, cookies, taquitos, and Christle’s deviled eggs. Thanks to all who made the ride -- it was a great day on and off the bike!