Strava is undoubtedly a “love it or hate it” service, but even its detractors must admit that it’s a great way to discover new places to ride and meet new people. I’ve met dozens, perhaps even more than 100, awesome people over the past few years thanks to Strava.
Yesterday a small group of fast locals, all Strava users, finally got together for a ride… and what a ride it was!
Our group consisted of Christopher Garcia, Hector Cabrera, Justin Hill, Paul Bruining and myself. Many of us were meeting for the first time, but we all “knew” each other from Strava.
The ride was put together by Paul, who is on vacation this week. Paul and I had been planing to get a ride in while he was off (apart from a brief chance meeting a few weeks ago, we’d never ridden together before), and I asked Hector if he wanted to join us. I was also hoping Hector’s brother Jose and his friend Alfredo (both of whom did the 106 mile Salt Springs ride with us a couple weeks ago) could ride, but unfortunately they were unable to make it. Paul got Christopher and Justin on board, and we had our group!
Paul had indicated to me that he was looking for a moderately paced ride, but by the time the motley cast of hammerheads was assembled we all knew exactly what this ride was going to be like. 🙂
The day before the ride Paul and I got the route ironed out, set the start time and determined the meeting point. The ride was a go!
We started off at a fairly social pace but, as expected, it wasn’t long before we were flying along and pushing each other.
Unfortunately it was extremely foggy, and then it started to rain. The crappy weather did not dampen our spirits, nor did it quell the pace. We had to slow a little more than usual for corners, of course, but the rest of the time we were hitting it hard.
Even with the warm-up, the social start, the fog, the rain, the slow corners and various stops for lights and so forth my ride average was 21.6 MPH. When I crop out the warm-up and cool down, the average was closer to 23 MPH, and most of the time we were rolling at 25+. It was awesome. 🙂
Many of us have been talking about starting a local riding club (unofficially called “Apopka Hammerheads”), which would cater to Apopka-area cyclists who are looking for a very fast–but safe–group ride. Perhaps yesterday’s ride was the genesis of the group? I sure hope so! I know everyone on yesterday’s ride had a blast, and I also know of at least a half-dozen other local riders who would fit right in. I’d love to see our little group gain some traction, as I think it fills a niche.
If you like to ride fast, you’re not a knucklehead and you’re interested in joining us, let me know. Feel free to jump in on the forum I’ve set up for local cyclists. If you’re not a JSF Member, just register (it’s free) and shoot me an email or PM so I can add you to the group (local cyclists only).
Yesterday’s ride was my final hard ride for the year. Today is a very special day for me, as it’s the last day in my “Ride Every Day in 2014” challenge! I’ll be taking it easy with a short recovery-paced ride, and I may even have a sip or two of champagne. 🙂 This challenge was one of my more difficult long-term endeavors, and it’s going to feel amazing as I cross my self-imposed minimum standard of 10 miles.
I’ll be doing my usual monthly cycling recap tomorrow, and on Friday I’ll take a detailed look back at my 2014 on the bike.