May 08/16: 101 Kms; 3 Hrs 51; 1244 Metres; Five Riders

That’s the word on the street about the tour director for scheduling a grueling ride on Mother’s Day. Not a lot of people happy with the choice and the length of route, which accounts for the poor showing this morning. My in-box lit up with regrets. Sorry. I guess  a retired guy shouldn’t be ‘organising’ the day’s events. Need someone (new-age) with more sensitivity to domestic life, rather than the antediluvian member doing this now. Also, in practical terms, eventually someone will have to take over.

Questions have also been posed about starting the rides at ten, eleven or later. I’m not keen on this myself but, hey, I’d rather ride with the group than by myself. Bit by bit, there are more guys riding solo because the current schedule doesn’t suit them. Plus, guys that work like to lie-in on a weekend morning. Don’t know. I suppose we need to discuss alternatives.

As for this morning, there were questions at Stinsons about the sanity of your humble servant. The call to saddle-up was greeted with, “You got to be kidding”, and with raised eyebrows, and low grumbling, and (shall we say) a certain lack of enthusiasm. It wouldn’t have taken much to scuttle the endeavour. Bacon and eggs at Antrim Truck Stop posed a real threat to moving forward. But, we did.

To say that the conditions were bad is an understatement. It was as cold as I have been on a bicycle without being soaked. The first 32 kilometres was an ordeal; and, the final 10 kms from Burnstown to Pucker St. were as hard a slog as I can recall. Thank goodness we had KO to lead the way, although we all took turns, however briefly. That section of road was difficult. Full stop.

The good news is that the next 36 kms up-and-back down Pucker were (if it hadn’t been for cold feet and numb fingers) relatively easy. I know it is a bit of a stretch to call Pucker St easy but you know what I mean – the rise and fall of the road, the smooth pavement, and the shelter provided by the forest animated our flagging spirits. This despite the ominous sky and some black humour – whispers really for a shallow grave in a secluded spot for the tour director. You know you just should have been there.

Yet, this was nothing on what was to come. At the bottom of Pucker, we turned for Barnet Blvd and O’Brien Road. GG led the charge for Tim’s where we warmed up with coffee, and readied ourselves for the next 30 kms. We sailed home with little effort and considerable relief. Really, it was a pity that it ended so soon. But, with pedal to the metal, our exhilaration fueled us down Lochwinnow, Stevenson, Braeloch, and finally Campbell Dr to the four-lanes and the newly built overpass. Now, I’m serious this time when I say, “You know you just should have been there!” for the fist pumps at the end of a memorable ride. We sure won’t forget this one.

Kudos to BG for keeping KO company. Also, to NS for gutting it out. Didn’t we all; and, to GG a big welcome back to the fold.

Okay, Ride your bike! Bye bye, ac. Comments always welcome at arnpriorcycling@bell.net; https://twitter.com/ArnpriorCycling

Hardy Men

Hardy Men