“Slowing! Stopping, inside, left! Right! Right turn! Darn triathletes!”
This is what I heard today for 4 hours and 40 minutes straight while on the Ronald McDonald House 100 Mile ride through Orlando, Winter Garden, Apopka, Tavares, Mt Dora–and back!
If you have never done it, cycling closely with 200-300 cyclists in a peloton stretching out over about 1000+ feet is awesome! One word of caution: ride near the front! For the first 30+ miles I heard breaks screeching behind me, people wrecking, and I even had enough time to look behind me and see a guy flip 3 times into a ditch—unharmed. (I think!) Don’t worry, he was actually laughing. One of those “slow moments” in that guy’s life. Everyone has had one!
The groups quickly broke up after crossing the Apopka bridge over 441 and if you weren’t in the first group then, you probably would never be. Many, many accelerations throughout the morning eventually dropped cyclists off the back until there were only about 35 left. The crazy few, the proud! Actually, 4 guys on triathlon bikes and the rest were on road bikes. Don’t know if they liked us or not. Doesn’t matter, I think it was us that broke up the group. Oops!
Not knowing that the first group would not stop, we only brought 2 bottles each, but we needed maybe 3 large ones—so we made a quick stop at the last sponsored break in Winter Garden with 25 miles to go. As the first group sped off, we took in some much needed groceries and fluids-QUICKLY. Of course there was ultra-competitive me, pushing the break time so we could try and catch the lead group by the end. I don’t think my impatience was liked too kindly by my two counterparts Eric and Rob! After about a 5-7 minute break we jumped back on our bikes and put the hammer down to catch the lead group. After speeding through multiple hills that felt like mountains on Silver Star Road, we finally caught the group by John Young Parkway. Whew! We rode in with them, wanted to go hard again, but instead tucked in and enjoyed the remaining 5 miles or so! Day well spent, done by noon!
So all in all, good day all around!
by Joe Auer, SwimmerJoe