Two days riding in the hills of Sebring was a study of riding in the wind and rain. Like an illustration from Jo Burt the group remained in tight formation with the force of nature surrounding us like the darkness of night. Respite is found only for those skilled in the art of sucking wheel. In front of me a rider begins to struggle with the affects and allows gaps to open then work his way back to the wheel causing the accordion effect I despise. Others in the group had less patience than I and began voicing their opinions emphatically. The gentleman rotated out and was gone.
It is the way of the cyclist. Keep up, contribute, and share, else go it alone. No one waits or hardly cares.
I spent a bit too long at the front in the wind. Failing to rotate before exhausting reserves I found it difficult to hold onto the back and I too was gone. I was amongst the dropped in just over 20 miles leaving me alone and more than a little disappointed. A small groupetto of five formed that quickly became three. We three worked together pretty well but the work was hard and the result was marginal. The wind was winning.
I spent the balance of the day in recovery.
The news was foreboding. Heavy rain was expected on our second day and the morning sky confirmed its impending arrival. The peloton travelled at a fair clip over the hills, through the orange groves, and along the lake. “You must have had a good night’s sleep”, Ken News commented noting my arrival to the rest stop in good position.
The sky grew grim and everyone instinctively mounted their bikes to finish the ride before it broke loose. We rode around the lake in formation with Sindicato taking lead. Jackie Leon was just in front of me riding confidently. I could not help but be impressed by the progress she has made in the past few years and when it was her turn she rode the front steady and strong.
Once again I spent too much time at the front and just before a set of hills that loosened a few of us off the back. About six in all we rode as the heavens poured rain like a waterfall in spring. We arrived at a gas station with 15 miles left when a rider said let’s hold up for a couple of guys. I played along and enjoyed a hot tea while we engaged in idle conversation. The time seemed to be slipping away when I eventually asked, “for whom are we waiting?” “The SAG” was the response.
“I came to ride”, I muttered as I mounted the Mooney. “You’re a wild man”, was the response. I shuttered at the thought of spending hours with five shivering cyclist at a gas station waiting to be rescued rather than ride a mere 15 mile. The rain continued to pour from the sky. Beads of water formed on the bill of my cap moving side to side with the cadence of my pedal stroke. Again like a Jo Burt illustration I had to breathe from the side of my mouth to avoid breathing water into my lungs.
Sleep came easy like it always does when you spend the day exposed to the elements.