An earlier plan for a group ride got changed, so The Excellent Wife (TEW) suggested I go out with the Kim's group today; we have a midday commitment, but I'd be long back before that. Got to the shop early (of course.
Francisco, who's a mechanic at Kim's and who lives above the shop, called down and said he'd be along soon. Up rode Andre:
And soon there was a peloton assembling.
Francisco came out.
And a few others showed up, so we left to go on the usual route. Along the way, we picked up a few on River Road in Highland Park, and more at the Olde Town lot in Johnson Park; we were probably twenty.
As apparently happens with this ride, they broke into a faster group and a slower. Within a short time, I decided to go with the slower (or perhaps it was decided for me!). It turns out that Francisco has about a half-dozen he goes with on this ride; he does fast training during the week, and uses this as a recovery ride. He likes to keep his group together, and doesn't like it that the others go off the front and don't keep together as a group. Now where have I heard that before?
Well, that kind of group ride is right up my alley, so I stayed with his crew, except for a few sprints so I could show off to some of the younger guys (they're all guys, and all younger; some aren't 25 yet). One apparently burns all his energy in the first few miles of a ride and then spends the rest barely keeping up; another needs to get in shape (but he stuck with it, and I hope he continues).
The group is about half Rutgers fast boys, and half Francsco's friends who have varying amounts of English. Because Francisco does, I think, they've taken to calling me "Mr Jim" and showing certain deference that I know I don't deserve (but I'm a sucker for it anyway).
The route's almost always the same: about 32 miles from Kim's shop to Bound Brook, then down to Colonial Park, where there's a sprint, and where we recover for a bit at the other end of the park.
Then we go through Millstone to Canal Road, where there's another sprint to the parking lot at Blackwells Mills/Six Mile, and another few minutes recovery.
(That young fellow in the last pic was afraid that people would think that the only thing he does is eat energy bars. He needn't worry: he can spin those cranks plenty fast, and he leaves me in his dust.)
From there, up Coppermine. We gather at the top before heading back up 27 to the store.
I like the picture above, but Vincencio is better in the one below.
Above: Umberto, who cooked me a couple weeks ago. I didn't recognize him right away. I think I have brain damage from that ride.
My ride page is deceiving: it shows my ride to the store (with a side trip looking for a place to pee), then the ride with the guys, then my ride home.
Francisco is always happy to see me, and, as I said, he and his friends treat me with a respect I know I don't deserve, but which I find bewitching. I need to ride with them more frequently, which means I need to make time. It's hard, because I have other friends I like to ride with, and non-riders I need to see.
Having to choose between friends is hard... but there are worse problems.