Thursday, April 23
It just doesn't get any better than this. The day's forecast was
promising and the weatherman's prediction did not disappoint.
Plenty of sunshine, flowers abloom and temperatures hovering
'round 70. This was the kind of spring day that comes as a rich
gift to sufferers of the Michigan purgatory-like winters. By the
time the afternoon rolled around on this Thursday, BBC members
were chomping at the bit to get out.
And come out they did -- in force. A whopping 16 riders (!) met
in the Ad Building parking lot. Doug Fattic's memory was taxed
to remember the last time such a crowd gathered for a weekday
ride. At the exponential rate of growth were keeping now, Berrien
Springs is soon to look like Bejing at rush hour.
The 16 riders were President Scott Thayer, Jerry Thayer, Richie
Forrester, Doug Fattic, Scott Leben, Todd Jarnes, Marc Samuel,
Jack Stenger, Randy Mack, Ron Johnson, Erik Labianca and Phil
Eide. Joining these veterans of the training ride were a bevy of
new-comers. They were the young Dan Johnson (Ron's son), the
architect Seth Morrison, the cross-training Hans Habenicht
(normally a mountain biker) and the broadcaster Ralph Sanchez
Listen folks, this armada was catching no small amount of stares
on the streets of our fair villiage. Women stood slack-jawed.
Children ran for cover. There was so much Campangnolo gear on
Main Street, the local yokels must of thought the Italian army
was invading. It was impressive! Matter of fact, a kind middle-
aged lady in a stretch, white early-1980s Lincoln Continental
even gave us an encouraging honk while passing us by. Sure she
might have looked ticked off. And it might have appeared she was
coping the typical Middle America attitude toward bikes: "Get
outta my way pipsqueaks, I gotta big car and this road belongs to
me!" But we know better. Didn't you see the Colorado Cyclist
catalog on the passenger seat? Yeah, right.
The ride was social. Everyone talked, encouraged the newcomers
and enjoyed the spectacular scenery of Michiana in early spring.
But behind the placid pace and atmosphere, there was discernable
tension. Phil was with us, and it was only a matter of time
before he made a run for it. With legs like tree trunks ("They're
bigger than my waist," one rider muttered) it was obvious that
the big guy could break the pace open at will.
Everyone stayed together mostly up to around Shawnee Road. But at
the Singer Lake climb, Phil showed flashes of the strength that
can make his massive Cannondale bike frame bend. The peleton
regrouped, mostly, and ran an impressive pace line up Hinchman. A
Swiss watch can't match our precision when we work together.
As usual, the cruel Hinchman hills stratified things a little.
Several riders effectively boxed in Phil in order to prevent his
imminent attack. (It was neither pretty nor sporting, but it was
effective.) But when the big guy got out, he turned on the
afterburners. The rest, I presume, was history.
I say "presume" because an unfortunate mechanical problem meant
your humble correspondent did not get to track the lead pack from
his customary football-field distance. The final results, then,
are sketchy. I presume Richie, Phil and Scott finished strong.
Marc Samuel was not far back from that crowd.
Unfortunately, my chain and my chain rings had a little argument
and separated at an inopportune time. All thoughts of record
finishes and a 20 m.p.h. average were dashed on the top of the
Hinchman incline. As I was falling to the pavement I noticed the
lovely blossoms on the apple trees -- and an oncoming Doug
Fattic who nearly put tire tread on my face. Ah spring!
Listen, when all 16 of us were together, cruising at 28 and 30
m.p.h. down rolling hills on Snow Road, it gave new meaning to
the term "self-actualization." It's for times like these we ride,
BBC members, for times like these.
So, the brilliant weather and our growing numbers were the big
story on this Thursday ride. Welcome to the newcomers. Please
keep coming out! Way to go, Dan Johnson! Why don't you talk up
these BBC rides among your biking friends at the Academy? Where
have you gone Ricky Robertson? (Get the wheel fixed, Bud, and
come out and make the statement you're capable of making.) Jason
Lange? Phil it was great having you with us.
For those who missed it, this ride it was singular. And for those
who drive gas-guzzling white Lincoln Continentals and give us
loud honks with attitude, we have but one thing to say: may your
children ever ride Huffys!
Until Tuesday, I remain,
BBC Chief Propagandist