In July, I rode 300 miles in France without a single incident of road rage. Today, it only took 16 miles in Virginia.
I was on a Potomac Pedalers group ride called Edinburg Gap. The rage was more remarkable because the "Bubba" driving his big truck was coming in the opposite direction and not inconvenienced by following cyclists at speed. Still, he slowed, rolled down his window, and yelled "GET THE $^%@& OFF THE ROAD!" God, I miss riding in France.
While 20 or so of the 40 riders total started out together, there was a split around mile four and I ended up in a second, or third, group of six. I thought I could bridge to the front group but had no reason to. This was a "B" pace so I didn't need to kill myself to get up with the stronger riders. Besides, yesterday it was 90 degrees and I rode 42 miles (68 km) home from work. My legs were tired.
Around Mile 10, we hit our first real hill and four of the six fell off the pace. That would be my pace. I had been soft-pedaling before but this time I was passed by a rider in a "Spokes" jersey so I sat on his wheel. I never saw the other four riders the rest of the day.
On Fort Valley Road. Our initial group of six
which would end in two minutes.
which would end in two minutes.
At the first store/rest stop, we stopped long enough to form a group of four and stayed together until the climb up Edinburg Gap. In Edinburg, there were perhaps 15 of us who rolled out at the same time.
We hit a decent climb at Mile 41 that split the group. Some, like me, were simply caught behind the "wrong wheel" when the split occurred with no chance at staying up front, while others seemingly were going backwards on the climb. What shook out was a group of four up front, followed by a solo rider about 100 meters behind them, and followed by me another 100 meters or so behind him. I thought the leaders would soft-pedal to allow at least us to integrate but they weren't interested.
Rolling out from Edinburg. Blue guy, two yellow
guys, and red guy were part of our group of six.
After a few miles of rollers and realizing that I wasn't going to integrate with the leaders, I "sat up." I simply waited for the next wave of riders to catch me so we could form a group. Two guys did, and thanked me. Our group of three, working together in the wind, soon caught the solo guy ahead. Then we had four working together, and it became a bit easier. We no longer concerned ourselves with the four guys off the front. It wasn't a race. In a race they have every right to and should take off. But it's a friggin' ride.
I caught a glimpse of two more riders, about 300 meters behind us and instructed our group to sit up. Or we took a vote. And I won. We sat up and soon had a group of six working together. Life was good!
Normally I wouldn't stop at a rest stop with 10 miles to go but I was out of fluids. We stopped at a 7-11 and refilled our bottles. One of the riders made it a point to thank me for organizing our group of six and holding everybody together.
Last stop. Middletown, Va. Blue/white guy
was another one of our six.
We hadn't rested long, nor did we want to stay long, when three of our six were ready to go before the other three. The second three told us to go ahead without them. The last 10 miles was an enjoyable run back into Front Royal. Time and miles flew by as one of the riders saw my Trek Travel jersey. He too, had been in France, although not with Trek Travel. But we chatted about riding in France and how enjoyable it was not to have to deal with the "Bubba's" of the world.
On the day: 80.2 miles (129 km). Average speed was 17.2 mph (27.7 kpm). On the Potomac Pedalers Ride Classification, that speed qualifies as a "BB" pace for a "moderate" route and as an "A" pace for a "Hilly" route. Not bad for tired legs.
Garmin Map and Stats