Friday, March 18, 2011
Revisiting Old Friends
So daylight savings time has returned, and the lights are packed away like some sort of anti-bear, to hibernate for the summer. I am ready. I was ready weeks ago. The last few night rides, I left the lights in the truck, giving the approaching darkness the middle finger, as if it may actually relent, and allow me a few more minutes of non-artificial illumination.
With the return of later daylight, comes the Joe's Ride. Folks who know me, know I look forward to this more than Christmas. As local road rides go, this one is an ugly bastard child, with 3 left feet, and mismatched eye colors. But being a guy who grew up with a dot on his head, I embrace the ugly duckling. My friends were steady checking in with me on the day of the first Joe's Ride of the season, to see if I had vibrated out of my desk chair, yet. I think they feed off my excitement. Who doesn't like to see their friends stoked and happy?!
Last night's ride may not have been exactly what I expected, but then again, I'm not sure what I expected. Only three of the crew rolled out together, but no worries there. Lil' Ball has been up to his neck in school projects, and Ice Berg has been on one of his many hiatuseseses,(hiati?), so I was riding with guys I don't see as often as I'd like. We cruised the warm up lap, cracking jokes and enjoying riding skinny tires. For Lil' Ball and I, the road bikes have been more or less dormant lately. When we met the group, I was relieved to see about 15-18 folks out to join us. We jumped on the back, and immediately noticed that a disproportionate number of the group, were clad in the garnet and gold of the FSU Team. I bet that at least 10-12 of those in attendance were Senamon Roles.
I was pretty sure how it would play out, if any FSU guy went up the road, the other natives would sit around to see if any of us heathens wanted to chase it down. And if we did, they would quickly swallow us in their midst, never to be heard from again, until we came of some cosmic vortex into the netherworld. My guess is we would have been spit out somewhere in Gainesville, as I am quite sure that that's what FSU-ites consider hell.
I was not to be surprised. As soon as we round the corner into the weapons hot zone, FSU #1 tears off the front, and a sea of garnet and gold look around like, "What? You gonna try? You REALLY want some of this?". A couple of the non-believers went to the front and gave chase, followed by a line of FSU teammates. The blasphemers were used up, and the FSU folk lined up again. I decided that I shouldn't let it go down quite so easily, so I start working my way forward, hoping that my boys were on my wheel. They're the firepower, so I just want to get them up to the front.
All was well until we passed a construction site, and apparently the road had been cut open to connect water and sewage lines to someone's new home. The calamity I heard behind me seemed to guarantee broken carbon and bloody body parts. As soon as I got clear to turn and check on my brothers in arms, Ice Berg tears by after the leaders. Alright, one is good. But Lil' Ball is nowhere to be seen. I loop back through the few stragglers, hoping it's nothing serious. The scene is nowhere near as bad as it sounded. A few bottles are coming to rest in the gutters, and Lil' Ball is upright, with his bike in one piece. He didn't come away clean, though. Three feet of road construction, actually road destruction, turned his $400 wheel into a hip-hop hoopty roller.
Flat fixed, we rolled backwards to rejoin the ride. We took up our spot on the back again, Berg and I called out every undulation, leaf, ripple, or twig in the road, so LB wouldn't do any more damage. We were the jokesters of the ride, and folks may have been tiring of it, but who cares? The next sprint went down, and again, it was 5 of us versus a legion of Seminoles. The new recruits are still a little green, though. They had a plan, and had they stuck to it, things may have worked out for them. Lil' Ball attacked during a lull. Either that, or he just wanted to go to the front and show everybody his new hoppy wheel. Regardless, his acceleration had the same net effect as throwing a cupcake into a tub full of puppies! The entire FSU regimen exploded after him. It looked like garnet and gold popcorn just as it hits crucial temperature! I was cracking up, and though they caught Ball, Ice Berg served it up the rest of them, handily.
On the next climb, The Butler went up and challenged the manhood of all of the FSU crowd, or at least I think he did. He may have just been waving around another cupcake, because they chased after him happily! Those of us still in wiseass mode thought that they would sit up, but if they did, they were well out of our site by then. Oh well, lesson learned. Always chase the cupcake!
The three of us continued our jokey smurf ways all the way home, and as far as I'm concerned, it was good ride. I welcome the return of the Joe's Ride, and I welcome the chance to ride with those guys I have not seen in awhile.