Today is the only day I'll get a group ride in until the all-paces ride on July 4, so I emailed Erich last night and asked about the ride-to-the-ride. The Wednesday rides start from Byron Johnson Park in Allentown (I can't find a decent web link), which is about ten miles from Etra Park in East Windsor. Erich lives near there, and a few Freewheelers who like getting a few miles more than the 35-40 that this ride usually goes, will leave from there about an hour before the listed ride is scheduled. The leader lists his ride for 8:30 in June, so it was an early-out morning for me.
But a beautiful day it was to do the ride. About seventeen of us, most of whom I know to one degree or another. I swept, as I always do on these rides. It's a touchy situation: the pace on this ride is starting to pick up, and the old guys sometimes get tired and need a pull in the wind, or they just start falling behind, but pride doesn't like either of us to admit it. It's hard to do a pull without letting it be known that's what you're doin', but if somebody's falling behind, I try to ride where I can see the group ahead, and the straggler in my mirror. I know that most of these guys know these roads better than I know how to find the upstairs bathroom, but I like knowing that if one of 'em did have a problem, he wouldn't be alone. (I also know that for ever time I go out with 'em, they go out five to ten times without me, so they've certainly faced this issue before.) One rider was falling behind, but when I spoke to him, he didn't seem overtired, and he was riding fine later.
Who knows where we went? Certainly not me. We stopped for a break at a store around Columbus/Mt Holly, and Howie L was incensed that they didn't have his preferred Fig Newtons, but Howie is frequently incensed; I think it's how he knows he's awake. (He complained once that the bandanna I had tied to my seat rail didn't match my jersey; now I make a point of mismatching them any time I might see him.)
About 57 miles at a slower pace than recently (especially on a flat route). I'm glad I got my fast rides in, so I wouldn't feel deprived by sweeping today. I've recently started a Strava account, but that feeds my worst throw-caution-to-the-winds demons, so I'm not sure I'm going to keep it up (especially in view of the infamous Strava lawsuit). I think I do better sweeping and riding friendly. As the Hill Slugs say, amicitia quam celeritate: friendship before speed.