The last day and the best!
The riders outdid themselves. even putting on a grand argument!
When I first arrived at 6 there was only one woman who I do not remember from before and she had a serious time trialing rig on her handlebars. It allows a rider to hold their hands far forward, almost like the prow of a ship and have the elbows on the handlebars. Not a good sign for someone like me who counts on slower women to slow the group down to where I can keep up.
By 6:30 we took off with 10+ people, 2 women. Some more people caught up. It is hard for me to tell where, but one slower woman in brown caught us and stayed with me at the back. About this time I realized we had a chase vehicle. I am not a good enough bike handler to look behind me but I could tell from headlights and noise that a car was staying right behind us. It honked loudly if anyone comes near us. I assumed it was protecting the lady and felt guilty about getting between it and her but what can I say. It is safer for everyone if I am alone at the back so I can dodge left or right.
Soon after, another chase truck with flashing lights comes around us and pulls off. Leads me to believe we had 2 chase vehicles. The pace is not bad. The brown woman who joined late has trouble on hills and I have to pass her at the 21k hill as I do not want to lose the group as I did yesterday. But 5-10 minutes later she catches up again. She is very powerful on the flat and makes back the lost hill time so now I feel comfortable staying with her and I believe she will always catch back up. Other people drop back, even behind me, but I stay with her.
At the normal 27K, we do not turn but continue on. I'm feeling ok but worried, glade it is not the first day. STEEP hill where she really drops back and I stay with the pack. Now the chase vehicle comes up to its "target", a man in green and they talk and he hangs on the van. I just stay back.
We turn at 34K. I am ok still. I usually stay with brown woman on the climb and then have to really push, breath hard, to keep up with her as she goes after and catches the group. The traffic is the normal crazy. The pace is fast but ok, I am hanging on, really trying hard to stay with the pack for the whole way for the first time. At 9k there is a taxi stopped in the road, in the wrong place, it is dangerous for us to get around at high speed. As always. police with war rifles are everywhere. Now the protected rider who had the van (it is gone now as it is daylight, shows himself to be the leader of the pack. If the pelaton has something to say to the race organizers, it is the leader or leaders who take the request forward.) yells at the police to get the dam taxi out of the way. The first officer does not react fast enough so the leader yells to the next officers we pass, all at 18mph
Anyway we ride on, at the 5k what I assume is the taxi sprints by with horn and stops and everyone is off their bikes for a fight. 6+ men are in the taxi driver's face. The leader stays completely out of it though I think his van reappeared and was taking video in case something went south.
I just move up to where the women are and after a while we are back up to a very fast clip and I finish for first time with the group. 68K at 32+kph, this is 42 miles at 20mph were as my Wednesday group ride I suffer 20 miles at 18mph.
I take the bike back this am and am in a taxi to the airport at 5:30 am tomorrow for my 8am flight.