The thought originally for this post was about my weekly FOG ride and the bulk of it will be, but a lot has happened in the last week and things are working out better that anticipated.
Anyway, last weeks FOG ride. As you may or may not know the “F” on FOG stands for Fast and the “O” stands for Old and both are subject to interpretation. “O” can be anywhere from 23 to 60+ and “F” has a significant range as well. The fast speed is still refered to as fast, and trust me it is very fast. The slower speed was once referred to as “Endurance”, as nobody really likes to be in a slow group but there seems to be 2 “slower” speed groups emerging. I like the new name for the 35-38 kph group which is now being referred to as the “Classic” speed, which when I joined a couple of years ago was the only other that fast speed. Anyway, I’ve ridden with the fast group off and on and usually get dropped in the process, but hey, it’s a great challenge and fun to really go hard.
The last two weeks I’ve ridden with the fast group. Two weeks ago it was a lovely sunny and warm day. We did just over 100km at an average speed of 36.4km and there were some very quick sections of the ride to get that average speed. Yes, I got dropped a couple of times but was able to rejoin and hang with the group most of the way.
This week it was cloudy, raining on and off and cooler. At the starting point folks were hanging around looking at the sky, not getting the bikes out of the cars and hesitating on getting ready to ride. Finally, at 9:10 we get under way with 18 riders. 9:13 we’re stopped at the side of the road with the 1st flat of the day. The city really needs to sweep off the shoulder on the Perimeter bridge over Henderson as this is a frequent cause of flats. After we’re underway again you start to get used to the wheel spray from the rider in front. At times it’s hard to tell if it’s raining our just spray, and then it rains harder and you get your answer. Shortly, my shoes are soaked and initialy this is quite uncomfortable but after you get used to that, being wet no longer matters.
After Lockport the group splits up into “fast” and “others”. I’m torn. There are only 4 guys going in the fast group, and I know it will be wicked fast. But, being a sucker for punishment I hook on to a wheel and we’re off. Well, that doesn’t last too long and I’m trailing off the back quite a bit. Then, I’m joined by another rider who’s trying to rejoin the fast group. We work together at about 40 kph and are keeping pace this the fast group ahead, but can’t close the gap. Eventually, we rejoin the fast group as they slow down at the corner of Hwy 44 & 206 but then the speed is on again. Once in Birds Hill Park our mileage is only about 36km as we’ve taken a non-standard route, so we’re doing laps of the park to make up the distance. I’m taking short pulls at the front and doing my best to hang on to the group. At one point I stay a few seconds too long at the front and almost can’t get on the wheel of the last rider as I drift to the back of the paceline. I’m looking at 3-4 feet and giving it everything to close up. Note to self, shorter times at the front. On another occation I’m think it’s really hard to get back on and I look down at the cycling computer and I’m doing 50 kph to get on the train!
This keeps up for an 88 km ride at an average of 34.6 kph and just two minutes before we’re back at the cars it really pours just to make sure we’re really soaked. All in all a great ride.