Had a chance to slip over to Exeter for their rendition of Wednesday Night Worlds this evening. Looking around the staging area of Exeter Cycles, I figured I was in trouble. The group looked decisively younger than last year. Or maybe I'm just getting really old. Anyway, it looked like most of the IF elite team was there, including Robbie King, a bunch of Nor'East elite guys, Metlife guys, and more. Could have been a Pro/1/2 race lining up.
After John Gromek gave the ride "sermon" replete with thou shalts and thou shalt nots, we're off. The 2.5 mile ride out of town was stop and go with about 30 riders. With such a large group, John is very sensitive about us not alienating Exeter residents by violating traffic laws or plugging up the roads. So it was a slow process getting out of Exeter with rush hour traffic.
Once we crossed Rt 101, the hammer drops. The speed went to 30+ mph and stayed there for most of the ride. Riders were getting popped left and right on the rolling terrain. I hung on for dear life. About half way into the ride I found myself with about 12 riders in the lead group. I think there was only one other master in this group. The rest looked more like my son's age. The pace became much less peaky, as we had a nice paceline rotation going. The pace we were holding was nuts. I'm amazed I was able to pull through. We picked a few riders up along the way that short cutted to get back on. Approaching the "finish," we had about 15 riders going for the sprint. A couple guys went early, but I think Robbie got them. I was probably about 7th.
I did not start my computer after we got out of town. Those that did said we averaged 27mph. This isn't a race with marshalls at corners. There were many intersections were we stopped or slowed way down. That means were were flying the rest of the time. It wasn't flat either. The Exeter rides usually aren't this fast this early in the season. Wonder what would have happened had we done one of the big hill loops? Hanging on in a ride like this is a great psychological boost. Maybe I was just intoxicated with endorphins. Either way, I'll have to get back there more often. Punishment this good is hard to come by.