But, as I've said (even in these posts, I think), whenever I go to Kim's Bike Shop, they treat me like... well, if not family, at least a friend who's been better to them than I ever actually have been. They do a ride on Saturdays, and I've been promising to come along, and I haven't, and there's no excuse... so today, I planned to go and I went.
The ride has (had?) an 8:00 start. Plain Jim is chronically and pathologically early, and these folks have an approach to promptness that would upset my WASP forebears, so I wasn't surprised to see this when I got to the shop at about 8:42:
That is, of course, The Yellow Maserati, my road bike, in front of the shop, all alone. (The careful eye will note that it is neither yellow, nor a Maserati. This is a joke that is so inside, that I may be the only one who gets it.) I went around the block a bit, and when I got back, here was Carlos waiting. It was his first group ride. He's been riding, and he's a dancer, so I wasn't worried about his legs.
Shortly thereafter, Benny, the leader showed up.
A quick call to Dave elicited the intelligence that he wasn't coming, and we didn't see anyone else, so we left. But we had no sooner crossed the street, when Benny turned back and saw John, so we waited for him, and then we got started.
We started the usual route (that link includes my rides to and from Kim's from home). Along the way, we passed a father and son, and it turned out they were coming with us as well. We did the usual quick ride along River Road, slower through Johnson Park, then quick along River Road to Bound Brook. Carlos looked to be falling behind; I offered to stay back with him, but he agreed to soldier on.
I needn't have worried. While we didn't sprint through Colonial Park, the way we sometimes do, we kept up a good pace, and Carlos kept up well.
Somewhere along the way, we came up on another group of riders from Kim's. They had left at 7:30, and were doing a different route, but they joined up with us as far as the parking lot at Six Mile/Blackwells Mills. So, by that point, this magnet ride, starting with three, had attracted enough to make about a dozen.
Here's Carlos at Six Mile:
Below, John, facing you, and the back of the father of the father/son team. I still think they were turbocharged; they were fast. They went faster with a headwind than without. (The father fellow made a comment about depending on the polar vortex, but I'm not sure that vortex is really an issue in June.)
The son, from the father-son team (sorry I didn't get names), and Benny.
The earlier ride comes in. That's Francisco on the right.
(Doesn't the guy in the picture below look like he's having fun?)
As he was doing the adjustment, we had some discussions about who was going where.
Many of the riders had to go to work; they opted to go straight back (I guess the magnet was losing its attraction). But a few of us decided to go on to Coppermine. Carlos was in this crew. Here we are assembling at the top of Coppermine:
We did the straight-up-Route-27 return; it's not pretty, but it's direct. Despite differences in our abilities and tiredness, we stayed together (sort of). Here we are back at Kim's.
(For carrying as much weight as he does, that guy in the pic above went uphill notably well.)
Afterwards, I bored Carlos to tears with advice and stories; he nodded appropriately and escaped as soon as he could. I don't blame him.