The Bouncy Castle equivalent of bike rides....
The long loop hangs on with another week of fun as the usuals ( Guido, Chris C, Ratta, Hunter P, Hacker ) lead the way, some segments are dominated by others ( Todd H, Tall John ) and some new faces ( Bike Doctor, Calfee, Ag2R kit... yuck ) pop up to make the ride interesting.
As soon as Professor Crowle was done handing out graded papers ( hope you all had a chance to review his rules! ) the ride took off.
Right off route 10, Guido, Hacker and Hunter P rode off the front and quickly took a gap. Soon after, Ag2R Igor, visiting from NY, rode across the gap as the leaders paused slightly to gain the extra pony. The peleton slowly awakened and started to sort out how it would handle the threat. Some traffic stacked up on the Mount Sanford corner caused Guido to lose contact with Hacker and Hunter P but soon after would re-join with Igor, keeping the 4some together for the run-in to Mountain Road. Behind the chase was full on and a good sized group of strong guys had broken off the front going the thru the small risers and corners. By the turn onto Mountain, the chase group, led by Yalle!Snoop, Ciocci, Jacinto and a new guy in a Bike Doctor kit were coming up fast. The connection was made on the initial risers of Mountain. The rest of the peleton was within 50-60 meters but still had to work hard to keep the lead group, now with most of the reliable horsepower, from riding away into the sunset. The "D-bag merit badge" for the night goes to the gentleman who yelled at Timex Cassie to close a gap when he couldn't... Man up friend! ( and give Giordana or Hincapie clothing a try ). Another lesson learned in the classroom as it chased the leaders was the unreliability of fancy carbon h2O cages. Dillon P's bottle busted free and exploded on everyone.
Up front, The lead group of 10 took a moment to recollect on the risers. Yelle!Snoop, Guido, Jacinto, and Hunter P tried to get things going smoothly up front. A car pulling too far out of Cornwall Ave spooked everyone and broke into the team work, giving the peleton a chance to pull closer. Hunter P and Tall John tried a last moment jump to stay clear before the light and before the peleton caught up but the light was red and it was all back together again.
Hacker jumped on Moss Farms, no surprises there. He made it thru the light smooth enough so that no one was able to join him so it was going to be a long shot. An accident was nearly averted when The Bike Doctor went straight instead of onto Moss Farms, nearly crashing into Gregg F. ( Rule # ??? everyone!.... Don't make head-master repeat himself. ). Once onto Moss Farms, Yelle!Snoop jumped hard, taking Guido along. Hunter P bridged up, taking along Ratta and a couple of others and then the whole rest of the pack. As the Chicane loomed, Hacker was coming back. Ratta gets the “Safety First” merit badge this week by calling out traffic in the four-way intersection before everyone barreled thru, into a car that was running the stop sign.
The speed slowed way down up the hill and onto Marion as everyone was needing to reset the ol blood pumpers. Yelle!Snoop, Todd H, French Casey, a older gent in black, Hunter P, a squirrelly rider in a US Army kit and Larry M got thing going again going past the Industrial Park. The weekly attempt to make the light was from Keltic O'shea, Chris C, Ratta and Yelle!Snoop but it was red.
The initial speed on Mount Vernon was anemic. Super slow. A couple of usual sticklers-for-speed were resting up for a planned attack on the turnaround ( we'll hear more about them later ). The pace slowly went up before the false flat, but went straight back down again once there, making for some clumsy uphill group etiquette. That gave a chance for small group led by Gregg F to break clear but that didnt last too long as a few guys started it up again on the downhill rollers. Tall John was up there a lot, trying to break free. Chris C then moved up later on toward the turnaround. Heading up to the corner, Hacker attacked, taking along Guido. Also attentive and preset were Igor and Yelle!Snoop. That made for a foursome with a gap racing to West St. Behind, the peleton seemed content to peg the gap at 12 seconds and slowly pull it back on Welch. In the break, Yelle!Snoop had some drivetrain issues, nearly bringing him to stop. Then Igor put in a “this-is-the-end-of-the-ride-right” type pull, blowing up in the process. That left just the Guido and Hacker up front to execute the plan for world domination. Behind the peleton was closing in thanks to efforts from the guy on the Calfee, Chris C, The Bike Doctor, Todd H, Ratta, Tall Dennis, Hunter P and even Timex Cassie got involved. Igor also bravely rolled back into rotation once he was caught.
Guido pulled hard once more for Hacker and left him at the base of the hill with a decent gap of 65 meters. On the hill, Little T, who is back to his out-of-the-saddle, bending-chainrings self jumped up and away. Hunter P jumped from the front and was on him in a moment and Chris B was also close behind. Little T settled in on West St for the chase just as Chris B decided to go all-in. Chris quickly got a small gap and with Hunter P sitting on Little T's wheel, unwilling to chase down the Cheshire Cycle Racer, Chris was allowed to go free. He ended up catching Hacker and he was able to put in a bit a sprint to go up and thru to get the sprint point. Kudos to Chris B, who is always up there trying to get it but falls short to the sprinters most of the time.
On the backside, Hunter P came up with the Bike Doctor but the 3 would be held up by lights. Once over the highway, Little T unleashed a solid attack, taking along the C-Dale rider in teal. Hunter P gave chase and was barely keeping it close as it was full speed up hill for a while until a red light stopped Little T.
Heading onto Atwater St, A new guy in a US National Tri Team kit, Teal guy in Castelli, Mountain Man and Hunter P got things going with the peleton responding. Ciocci and Igor also as the ride went under the overpass. Guido took the reigns after the slight hill there. That was enough to tear a small gap in the field with about 6 guys up front but light was red going over 322, making it compacto again.
Over the light, Igor struck first with Tall John. Mountain Man and Ratta upped the pace and it was back together. Ratta then rolled off alone up the fisrt part of Peck and was soon joined by Bike Doctor, Tall Dennis & Ciocci. Again, Mountain Man sewed up it behind that group. Hacker then rolled thru with Guido and Hunter P. Behind, guys were scrambling both ways as the hill took its toll. Yelle!SNoop would dig hard on the front with Hunter P, Todd H, Igor and Ratta. That group had a small gap but once onto Route 10 it was pretty much all together. Todd H took a monster pull the whole way up the hill by Cheshire Park, keeping the speed high. Tall John eventually took over and rolled off the front as everyone else seemed ok to wait for the sprint. Hacker jumped on his wheel for a free ride but a red light stopped that from happening.
For the Stop n Shop sprint, once everyone got going from zero, Jacinto pulled hard for a bit, Guido and the Full Nalini as well. A couple of new faces popped up in the top 10 for the first time on the night. This one was all Little T though as he was pretty much unchallenged as he jumped from 5 bikes back and took it easily.
The ride thru Cheshire was interesting as there were a couple of red lights and stacked cars the pack had a to get thru. Going by the McDonald, there was a big gap to a good sized group up the way that had been more fortunate with traffic. Ratta put in a good pull to bring that back and from there it was status quo going back into Hamden. Good job ladies as Timex Cassie and the Velo Sport girl kept a solid place within the pack all the way back.
For the finale, Guido buried himself 6 feet under with a good pull in the last kilo. A bunch of guys cued up behind him but there were only a couple who could really capitalize on it. Little T, Chris B, Yelle!Snoop and 1 or 2 others. Little T was able to pedal thru to the end.
Up the hill went Chris B with a gap on Hunter P and Mountain Man that he was able to hold onto all the way to top. Making it 2 on the night for Butler.
Good ride guys. All newbies are expected to turn in their make-up papers before next weeks ride.
As for the long loop and daylight, the New Haveners have right of way here as they don’t have the bike path to ride back on ( well actually they do.... They just like to steer clear of the nightly beer-crawl rides that the single speeders love ). They are good with one more week of long loop so long as the weather is decent.