The weekend weather was unusual with a relatively strong spring cold front moving through Saturday morning dropping the humidity from 90 something percent into the 50s so that Saturday felt cool and crisp for a short time only to have the front back up out of the Gulf and place most of Louisiana under threat of flash flood and the oppression of 100% humidity by Sunday morning. The flash flood warnings remain in effect today, Monday, but we've strangely seen almost no rain. Anyway, it was foggy and misty and the ground was wet when I first checked the weather for Sunday's Giro. Keith N. reported to me during the ride that he had texted Big Rich and Eddy D. early asking if they were going to ride in the lousy weather. I think he was looking for an excuse he didn't get, and I told him so. He only smiled in response.
I took a headcount during the warmup along Lakeshore Dr. and came up with 17 riders -- the wet, foggy conditions apparently accounting for the sparse attendance. Another weird weather phenomenon occurring Sunday morning was the wacky wind. When I had checked the KNEW observations at 5 and 6 a.m., the winds were mild out of the southeast. At the swim hole, waiting for the group, the breeze felt north. By the time we were on Hayne it was blowing out of the NE strong enough to keep the pace of the bunch to 19 - 20 mph, with eight or nine strong guys working on the front. When we tuned south onto Paris the pace went from 20 to 30 lickety-split with my computer showing 34 mph on the raised portion of I-510.
Coming off of 510, the light was red at Lake Forest Blvd. and a truck was approaching from the east. To my utter astonishment, and perhaps owing in some degree to Daniel1 being near the front, the group stopped for the red light. This highly unusual occurrence led to a kind of bizarre, surreal Giro moment: Daniel began chanting "Respect our hobby, respect our hobby." Matt started yelling "Safety first, safety first." And the OWNHB2 came to a stop and promptly keeled over, hitting the ground with that carbon-on-concrete sound, that awful flesh-on-pavement slap. People just wheeled away, many commenting on the wisdom of riding a bike with no handlebars.
By the time we made it to Venetian Isles, only 11 cyclists remained, and I wasn't looking forward to the prospect of hanging on with a screaming wind at our backs. On the way in, just west of Hwy. 11, the pace started creeping up past 30 mph. I was on Big Rich's wheel, and the guy in front of him let a gap open, which I know at 32 mph means sayonara. Rich, being decidedly more hard-headed than most, went around the guy, I stayed put. The OWNHB came by and I jumped on his wheel and sat there for as long as I could then let him go. I ended up with a young guy in a Tulane kit and the guy who had gapped us. Just up the road I could see three single riders: the OWNHB, Big Scott, and Big Rich. Eventually I could see the three of them get together and turn into the service road. I went straight to Bullard, while the two guys riding with me went into the service road.
When I got to I-10, Keith N., who had turned early, was just coming onto Bullard and he joined me. On Hayne the lead group of about seven guys came blowing by us, as I told Keith I didn't think this was the group we wanted. A little ways behind were Big Rich, Big Scott, and several people who had turned early, and Keith and I rode in with them.
After I got home, I checked the weather observations at Lakefront Airport which showed the wind had gone from SE at 5 mph at 6:00, to calm at 7:00, to NE at 22 mph by 8:00.
1. In the past, on more than one occasion, Daniel has been heard imploring Giro participants to please observe traffic control lights. Unfortunately, he has been almost universally ignored.
2. During my 15 years riding with the Giro, I have seen no one crash more often than the OWNHB (One With No Handle Bars). Each of the five separate incidents that immediately come to mind were single-rider crashes, undoubtedly caused, in part at least, by the absence of handlebars. You'd think he might learn.
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