Saturday was a good day for riding! A group of 14 Fiera Race Team affiliates composed of riders from Hardcore Racing, U of A triathlon, United Cycle, Fiera Race Team, and one or two independent riders went out for a 96 km road ride from the heart of Edmonton, out to Cooking Lake and back. Dave took charge early, making sure that people rode 2 by 2 where that was safest, then he herded us into three single file groups when that was safest (the guy was a quarter-horse in another life). Make no mistake, Dave’s herding instincts kicked in out of necessity as the group was composed primarily of graduate students and university professors, and was completely incapable of following simple instructions. Eventually we reached a quiet, wide-shouldered span of smooth pavement where Stefan gave us a pace-line lesson which was meant to transform us into a single multi-bike speed-machine. As soon as he thought we had it mastered, or were as close to mastering it as he thought likely, he sent Dave on the attack, and instructed us to “go get ‘em”. It took us some time to get organized again after a brief period to figure out what had happened, and what we were supposed to do. In the meantime, Dave was putting 100, 200, 300 meters between him and the group. We eventually got it together and with a lot of coordinated hard work, caught up with Dave, only to have Josh attack. At this moment I was nearly blinded by the twinkle in Stefan’s eye, as with a sly grin he responded to Josh’s attack, over took him easily (sorry Josh, but it’s true), and then continued his attack on the whole group. We never caught him, he was casually waiting for us at the next inter section, wondering what took us so long. We had a quick rest stop there, where Lesley’s bike wandered off but was quickly rounded up by Dave (Note: Dave could also have been a golden Labrador in said former life, I had one once that used to wait until you turned your back, then run away with things you were using, then bring them back expecting to be rewarded–Damn good dog).
Manny more attacks and chases ensued on the way back. The highlight was a tail wind that brought me up to 52 km per hour on relatively flat road and sucking desperately the rear wheel of Stefan’s Cervelo. As we hit the city boundary, some of us spilled off in our own directions, Josh went his way and put down 180 km before giving his bike a rest. The rest of us made it back to Richie corner store including Mike who hung in for the whole distance on cyclocross tires. We all froze our brains with slushies before dispersing for showers and naps to our respective showering and napping places.