Riders from Sussex, Wicomico, Worcester, Dorchester, and Caroline Counties took advantage of a beautiful holiday weekend to ride the backroads of Delmarva. Rolling out at a few past 8am was an impressive peloton of about 32 riders, including: Mark L., Roscoe, Ken, Scott, Jamie, Dave K., Dave R., Eric, Caleb, Phil, Kevin, Barry, Paul T., Ted, Matt B., Paul G., Jody, Maria, Brian F, Crystal, Kim, Mike, Desmond, Dave R., Charlie and son, Martin, Rick W., Dawn, Matt M., Desmond, and Brian O. Forgive me if I missed anyone!
For the first 38 miles, the large group stayed together, cruising at about 19 mph. The pack enjoyed a spin through Galestown, Woodland, East New Market, and Secretary.
After that, half went for 63 and half went for 81. Right after the split there was an appetizer sprint, which Paul T. nabbed with Kenny right behind -- nice work, fellas! For the next 17 miles, the 16-man expedition kept a tight double-paceline formation and scooted along at 22 mph. With the turn on to Elliott Island Road, things got exciting and difficult. The group began to get stretched out, but knowing that there were 3 miles to go into a headwind, some veteran riders allowed things to play out. Mark and Paul led the attack up front, and Roscoe -- with the noble help of Mike -- bridged up. Paul fell back to the chasers, and Roscoe and Mark continued on. The chasers, however, let out a little too much leash, and Mark was able to claim the Vienna Water Tower Championship, with Roscoe a few dozen meters behind.
Everyone regrouped, got a nice picture, re-fueled, and hit the road for the final 17 miles. The wind was a pain, but everyone did their share. With seven to go, the group fractured a bit. At the notorious Sharptown Bridge, Mark and Roscoe gained some separation and hoped they could defend it for the next 3 miles. In fact, Mark was the man, did the vast majority of the work, and claimed the victory. A solid group of chasers was only 20 seconds behind, with Ken getting the field sprint -- nice work, Ken! The 81 mile course was completed in just under 4 hours for an average speed of around 20.3 mph, right on target for this Seagull prep ride.
Post-refreshments were plentiful: rice and beef stew from Maria, deviled eggs from Crystal, taquitos prepared by Shelley, burgers from Matt D., local watermelon from down the street, and beers from everyone. Thank you to all! Hope to do it again soon!