I Missed the Turn

I looked forward to our Sunday club ride, because it went to Creedmoor — one of my favorite turnaround spots. It’s just a nice 39-mile jaunt, much of it through countryside. I probably do that route twice a month.

This time, the club president and A-ride leader said he would do a “reverse” Creedmoor route. Okay, fine by me — although I wasn’t exactly sure which roads he would travel on a “reverse” route, since I usually do Creedmoor as an out-and-back.

Only one other B rider checked in at the start, although two A riders told me they would turn around when I did. We set off.

The good hill about three miles into the ride is where we tend to break into groups. This time, I stayed with the pack. Either I’m getting better, or they were riding a little slower. I don’t think I’m getting better. Several miles later, we turn onto a four-lane city street that is a long uphill. A gentle grade, but I don’t do long grades well. I rapidly fell into my customary ride position: off the back.

We were into semi-suburban neighborhoods. It wouldn’t be too long before we left the city behind. But everybody was leaving me behind. On yet another long, easy incline, I lost more ground to the pack. The route turned, and we had to cross Interstate 35. This involved getting into the left lane for two left turns — not my favorite place to ride. But traffic was still light at 8:45 a.m., and I set out in pursuit of the peloton.

Now, we were on the shoulder of a farm-to-market road — Route 1327. In Texas, these are pretty good roads, and this shoulder was nice and wide. The landscape was rolling hills. I saw the group on the hill ahead of me, and then lost them as they crested a hill and started down the other side.

When I got to the top of the hill, I was astounded. Those guys (and three women) must really be pouring on the steam today. They were nowhere in sight. I sighed, and settled into a steady pace, knowing that I would catch the group at the convenience store. They’d take a rest stop there, and the Bs would turn back while the As would continue on.

Still, I couldn’t figure out what had happened. I know the peloton pulls everyone along, but they couldn’t have been going that much faster than me. Then it occurred to me. They had turned on one of the country roads that feed into this road from the right.

This was the “reverse” route the A leader had picked. Of course! They turn onto the first country road after the interstate. I, in my oblivious state, had sailed right by it. I could always stop and go back, and try to catch them. But that would be hopeless. I would just stay on the farm-to-market road and head for the store.

After several miles of rollers I got there, and no one from the club had showed up yet — although about 25 riders from a local shop ride pulled in a few minutes later. Then, here came Buddy. He was the other B rider this morning.

“You turned on Turnersville Road, didn’t you?” I called out to him.

“Yeah,” he said. “I looked back because you weren’t there, and then I saw you continue on 1327. I yelled and waved, but you didn’t look my way.” He turned around and followed me, but was too far back to catch up.

The two other A riders who said they would come with us stayed with the group for their entire 50-mile ride. Buddy and I headed back to town, swapping the lead, and I enjoyed finishing the ride relatively fresh. In mid-summer, this ride beats me up.

A few months ago, I griped about people in a group ride not bothering to familiarize themselves with the route beforehand. This day, our ride leader had posted a turn-by-turn cue sheet online, but I hadn’t downloaded it. I just assumed it would go where I went. Well, we all know what assuming can do. Shame on me.

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