I posted a message on the club’s Yahoo group last night that, given our terrific forecast for the day, it was time for the B riders to start showing up for club rides.
It didn’t work. Besides me, only two others came out (Meanwhile, the A group had 25 riders!). But that didn’t dampen my spirits any, because one of them was Maggie, who has become my favorite riding buddy.
About two years ago, our club president told me a new rider had come out for a ride I had missed. He said she made a noble effort to keep up with the A’s, but she was really looking forward to riding with the B’s. Maggie showed up the next week, and we clicked instantly. We ride at about the same pace. We have a lot of the same interests.
She’s really good at spotting birds and other critters on our rides. Often, she’ll start waving an arm, and I worry that she might be in trouble. It turns out that she was trying to call my attention to a red-tailed hawk, or a scissor-tailed flycatcher, or some other interesting bit of fauna that I might have missed.
On Sunday’s ride, the A’s dropped us about 10 miles in. Maggie and I conferred with Jim, the other B rider, about distance. We decided to go beyond Buda, but not as far as Kyle. That would give us about 38 miles for the day.
Our average speed was already high, because of the peloton effect with the A’s on the way out. On the way back, a three-mile stretch of a slight downhill kept our speeds high. When we pulled into Buda, we were averaging 16 mph. Unheard of!
The return leg took us past a large church that’s always crowded. Black-suited ushers in white shirts and red ties direct cars to parking places. I recalled one ride, where Maggie told me that she wanted me to turn “to go by the Mexican church.”
“Why?” I asked, making the turn to comply with her wishes. We passed a couple of the ushers, and one waved at Maggie, and called out, “God bless you.”
“That’s why,” she said.
By this time, the temperature was in the low 70s (22C), and it seemed that the only wind we had to contend with was the one we caused as we cut the air with our front wheels. Jim peeled off to take an alternate route home. Maggie and I decided to skip fast and dangerous Slaughter Lane, and instead took a detour through a residential neighborhood to get back to the start, where we sat at an outdoor table at Starbucks, sipped cold drinks, and chatted.
I enjoy being part of group rides. I also like to ride alone. But a good buddy who shares many of your interests, rides at your pace, and can keep up an entertaining line of patter…well, that’s a riding buddy who beats groups and solo rides.