I had three pretty hard days of riding Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Thursday was a very tough POA Cycling Summer Series crit. Friday was an unplanned 2+ hour ride that included a 12 minute push up Paris Mountain in 90+ degree heat. Then I got up early on Saturday to do the Hour of Power.
Probably most riders from Greenville were in Athens for the racing or participating in the Meal for Wheels ride. However, there were ten of us on hand for the 8 AM ride. We rolled out for a fun morning.
I won’t spend too much time on all the action. There were three instances that added a little more fun to the morning. Let’s get started on Meece Bridge Road.
We were stretching things out a bit on the road. Bob Rentz was leading the pack as we started the climb to the sprint zone. I was sitting on his wheel when I saw Ed Buffington come up beside Bob to say something. Then Bob slowed just a bit, but not too much.
Then Tony Warmuth came by and the sprint was on. Bob jumped on his wheel and I stayed where I was. We continued until we neared the traditional spot where someone tries to close the deal. I decided to get a jump and took off a little early.
I pushed pretty hard and then looked to see if there was anyone on my wheel. No wheel. No shadow. No rider. I twisted to get a better view. There was no one there! I had killed myself and no one reacted to even make it interesting!
I wondered if this meant that the morning would be just a social ride – which is just fine – it is just that normally that isn’t the case. We always regroup for slower riders, but typically it is all on during the sprint zones. Socialize during the neutral zones. Kill each other in the attack zones.
We pulled up to the stop sign to regroup and Tony had to head to work. Ed left us at that point as well. I learned that what he had told Bob was to slow because he was breaking up the field. Well, that broke it up.
Now there were eight of us. We rode on together talking and recovering from the move. We were getting closer to the quarry road. It all started in a pace line.
We neared the turn that would take us to the climb. Randy Hutchison, John James, Rob Crouch, and I were on the front at this point. Randy and Rob went ahead while John and I followed at a little slower pace.
I decided to turn this into a team deal. My plan was to hold a steady pace knowing that we would probably catch Randy and Rob on the start of the climb. Then when we reached the climb I would lay down a steady hurting while John sat back for the final move.
It was one of the most fun points of the day because it worked to perfection. I just kept tapping out the cadence. We passed Randy and Rob and then there were just a couple of riders on my wheel. I could look under my arm and see the wheel inches from mine.
I picked up the pace some more. I started to hear labored breathing. Then I saw John going around me. I kept my pace. Still the wheel was there inches away. John was going up the road. I had the urge to drop the rider on my wheel and took off after John.
It wasn’t my intention to try to beat him. I wouldn’t have been able to anyway. However, he slowed and I did catch up to him as we neared the line. He reached his hand back to do a track sling, but I didn’t have the strength to get a good hold on his hand. I crossed the line just behind.
John returned the favor on the Paris Mountain State Park sprint. We were chasing down Randy who had launched the attack. John pulled me past him. Then he pulled off. I was now on point with a good amount of the sprint left. I didn’t like that.
I eased my pace just slightly so that hopefully a rider or two would come past me. Here came John and Randy. I jumped in behind them as we raced toward the bottom of the dam. Then when we hit the climb, John attacked. I followed him up. I saw him look back and then say, “You’ve got it.” I left him and churned up the climb. “Keep going,” I heard John say behind me. I picked it up a bit and reached the top first.
I’ve been doing Hour of Power for years. This was the first one since I joined the POA Cycling Team. Back when I first started, I never dreamed that I would be doing stuff like this. I really never thought I would be racing on the same team as John – who is someone I looked up to as a rider since the beginning. It was really cool to have those two POA Cycling kits crossing the line on twin Giant TCR Advanced road machines.
Maybe someday we’ll be able to do that when it really counts. However, the more I think about it, that IS when it really counts. When you are out riding with friends and having these good natured competitions there is something you don’t get in a structured race.
Oh, I finally met John Davidson who, it turns out, lives about four blocks from me. We rode back home together from Sunshine Cycle Shop. Good guy. I appreciate what he does for the Donaldson Center C ride.