Can’t shake the embarrassment

What a morning!  It feels soooo good to be sitting here in a nice warm house.  After spending the morning riding my bicycle in the rain with mud flying up from the bikes in front of me, I’m happy to be home!

Still, it was worth it.  Over 200 cyclists came out for the ride organized to raise funds to help the Sullivan family fight the battle against cancer.  A special thanks to Blair LaMarche who arranged this event.

The day started off nearly perfect.  If the sun had been out, it would have been.  However, not long after we got started, the rains came.  There isn’t much to write about most of the ride.  A good amount was seen through squinting eyes or rain spattered glasses!

There is something about riding in those conditions that seems to bring the group together.  It is as though we are all suffering together in a common battle against the elements.  Of course, the purpose of the ride did a lot to help unify the group.

The only interesting thing that happened to me was something embarrassing.

It was cool having George Hincapie and Craig Lewis on the ride.  They rode along with us like any other regular guys out there.  Of course, that ride was just a warm up as they kept going after we all stopped once we reached the 65 mile mark.

Well, we started off the ride and the group split.  There were a good number of riders who were out ahead of my group.  At each stop light, we seemed to get caught and they were increasing the gap.

“I thought this was a charity ride,” I thought.  “Why are they increasing the gap?”  Finally, we reached a stretch where I knew they would not hit a light for sometime.  So, I went to the front and started pulling the group to catch them.

After a time, I heard a voice back behind me and then a rider came up along side me.  It was George.  I’m not sure exactly what he said, but it was something like “Calm down.  Ease up.”  As he said this he was holding his hand out motioning me to slow down.  “Well, they keep building a gap,” I defended myself.  “Don’t worry,” he replied with a smile, “We’ll catch them.”

Well, I was embarrassed.  George pulled up beside me and we rode in silence along at the front of the group for a bit.  Finally, I asked him something about his recent trip to California.  Funny, I was here riding with one of my sports heroes and I was wishing I was back in the group!

One other cool part of the ride was near the middle when about 15 or so riders started a rotating paceline.  It took us a bit to get organized, but once we did we were flying.  We did a number of rotations before we ran out of road.

It reminded me of riding in Austin and participating in the 5 man pace line with Lance Armstrong.  Now, two months later I was here riding in a pace line with Hincapie and Lewis.  For a cyclist that is like a basketball fan playing a pickup game with Michael Jordan!

One thing that made me feel a little better before the ride was done was having several people mention that they had seen the video of recent rides on  I started taking some video of this morning’s ride, but I’m not sure how much I got.  Once it started raining, I was just trying to survive and didn’t feel like adding to the danger by holding a camera!

We love you Joey and Susan!  Keep up the good fight!  Oh, and Happy Birthday, Big Joe!