After yesterday's washout, decided to head out East for a (hopefully) fast, hard group ride at the Early Birds. Was NOT disapointed! A group of 12 riders met up in Manorville at the King Kullen. Regulars Percy, John, Robin, and Gerald there, plus good representation from East End Cycling team, Owen, Mike, Craig, Guy, Chris, Chris, and another rider I did not know.
We wanted to avoid flooding on Dune Rd. so we headed off to do the North route. Good, fast paceline to Doctor's Path. At this point the wet roads claimed their first tire casualty. The group stopped and waited for the repair. Off again, but another flat within a mile or so. Moving again on Sound Ave., found myself pulling just before the hill up to the tanks. Made the right turn up the hill, the group surged by me and I sag climbed until I latched onto Owen's wheel. Owen, Mike and I caught back on the the main group and stayed on until IPBSP. Another sharp acceleration up the hill there and Mike and I were gapped again. We chased hard on Sound Ave. but the group up front was too strong to catch, especially with Craig just putting the hurt on everyone. Owen dropped back to give Mike and I a hand and we rolled in to the regroup point a minute behind the front group.
More fast pacelines to Cutchogue for a water stop, then off again for the last 25 miles. Everyone sharing in the work. Finally, on Rt. 51, selection at the first long hill. Was 4th wheel, rider in front of me got gapped and the rest of the group swarmed by on ether side. By the time I could get by it was too late and I could not close the gap.
Eventually rode up to Guy and the two of us worked together up Rt. 51 and Rt. 111. Hopeless chase of a strong six-man group ahead but we came in just a minute or two behind. Total of 55 miles. Haven't done a ride where I've been in the red zone so much for a while!
PS: Here is a link to PyZahl's report.
And some photos, by PyZahl: