July 4, 2009

Celebrating Independence Day

The early cyclist gets the pancakes. Our club's annual Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast started at 8 a.m. Needless to say, I was not signing up for one of the pre-breakfast rides; riding to the start was good enough for me.

But not good enough for pancakes, which had vanished by the time I arrived at 9:00 a.m. Sigh. I felt sorry for any riders who planned to skip the pancakes and just join one of the later rides, as we rolled out half an hour ahead of schedule.

I'm not shy about drafting a skilled cyclist when I can manage to stay on his wheel. But what is it with strong cyclists drafting weaker ones? Inspired by what little I saw of the Tour de France Prologue before I left home, I was pushing a good pace on the way to breakfast and attracted a wheelsucker. The last time this happened, I was leading the group and couldn't adopt my usual tactic: slow my pace enough to annoy the guy and induce him to pass me. On the Wildflower Century, this maneuver led to an amicable partnership that moved both of us briskly through 10 or more miles of headwind. This morning it had the expected effect—he passed me and sped off. Seriously, would you draft a woman with sparkly stars and streamers fluttering from her saddle?

We had quite a crowd (40 or more) for our post-breakfast sortie into the hills above Los Gatos. Our route explored Overlook Road, which (as you might expect) overlooks the valley. Nice climb, but hazy views today. Most of us decked out in red-white-and-blue, we were quite a sight as we scrambled out of the way for the hilltop resident who arrived home. The guests are here, let's get this party started!

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