Sunday, January 13, 2008

Leading from the Back

Today several of us went out on a gravel grinder. It was our little way of wishing Andrew Carney our best as he goes out to seek his fortune in the real world, in this case Colorado. As if that wasn't enough, it turned into a double farewell (I've got to stop losing friends to other states), but more about that later.

I'm not sure that I have any business leading a ride, seeing as how I'm usually the slowest guy on any ride I'm involved in. Some how I would figure it out. I had a route planned out that would end at my place, but I wasn't sure how I would lead the ride from the back.

Participants on the ride today:

Andrew -Reformed Triathlete and Endurance Freak. The guest of honor sporting a nice beard today. He's probably started it yesterday.

The next to appear was Alex. Alex is our resident engineer and bike geek (OK, we're all bike geeks). If you can imagine a bike part, he could make it.

Next was Greg - Bike Recycler Extraordinaire. He never met a bike that he didn't want to take home and give some TLC.

Bryan was next with a special guest. Byran is an up and coming road racer. He's also young enough to be my son (OK, most of these guys are).

Bryan was with Chris! WTF? I thought he had moved to Arizona or something. Chris is one of the fastest guys I have ever had the pleasure of riding with. He became the second guest of honor on this ride.

Shortly after that came OP, TransIowa and Dirty Kanza veteran. He is one of the more committed people that I know (or perhaps he should be committed).

The skies were clear, the winds were light, and the temps were tolerable. What am I doing at the front of this pack of talented cyclists? Tiz a puzzlement.

It wouldn't last.

Somewhere between these picture the second guest of honor (Chris), fell in an icy corner and took out the guest of honor (Andrew). Both got up laughing, as Andrew got knocked into the deep ditch snow, which doesn't hurt as much. I missed getting a picture - which is the difference between goodness and greatness.

The group broke up a couple of times, but then seemed to magically re-form every time they had to slow down and ask me for directions. Leading from the back, and controlling the pace. Hmm. It seemed to work.

Finally we got back to my place where there were there were the muched promised stories and beers.

Here Andrew tells us about riding across the country on his bike, or sleeping in a Jeep at -25 at Crested Butte, I can't remember which.

After a while we move inside, cause the stories got longer and the garage got colder.

It was a great day to hang out with great friends. Some friends I will probably see in the next week or two, and some that I won't see for a while. That is life as an old man in a college town.


Paul said...

What a great ride it was! I wish I could have stayed all afternoon, but leaving my wife with my mom for 3 hours was probably pushing it as it was!

Thanks again Paul for everything!

Paul Varnum said...


Glad you could stay as long as you did.


titties said...

thanks for setting it up was a BLAST...after we got back to my apt beav actually layed around complaining "ugh, that ride was TOUGH"...You, paul varnum, made beav say he had a tough ride...good job :)

Paul Varnum said...

I'm just glad that someone had the good sense to turn for home when they did. I had delusions of going east for another ten miles.

Maybe Beav was hurting because he was riding a SS with 20 lbs of air in his tires. Thats gonna take a little extra effort.

Carney said...

Thanks for putting that together, it was great to do some riding as I've been missing some motivation lately..... sorting thorough 15 boxes to find everything I need to ride gets pretty old. Also, to clarify...I shaved that morning....

Travel Gravel said...

Varnum, Thanks again for the hospitality! It's always a good time when a bunch of crazys get out and ride. Also, I had B-Bops on the brain when I got back to my car and forgot to get the skis. Could I pick them up Tuesday morning? Just leave me a message on my blog. Thanks! Later!

bontrag said...

Thanks for the ride setup Paul. It's too easy to say "to hell with it" when you don't have a group of guys meeting to go ride. As always thanks for the image journal of the day.

Paul Varnum said...

Carney -
I was glad to do it. I was also glad I was able to sucker so many others into coming out to ride with us. I don't get that good a turnout for a ride in July!

Greg -
I figured as much. I'll just leave them out and hope its you that get there first.

Alex -
Thanks for coming out in your sickened state. Even on daquil you kicked my ass.

Christy -
Thanks for your hospitality!

All -
Thanks for coming out and riding. It's a whole lot tougher to stay on the couch when you know that people are waiting for you in an icy parking lot.