Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cast of Characters

With the warmer weather the area saw last week I was able to get a nice ride in with a group for a change. For some reason this off-season many of the locals have been hiding instead of riding. Cylcling is always more fun if you are surronded by a cast of characters. Meet the group I spend quite a bit of time with.

Greg Harper has always been up for a few winter time rides but this year his calender seems to be a little busier. He runs the roller races in Eastern Iowa and that keeps him traveling most weekends. Thankfully those are almost over. A few winter-time get aways south of the border have kept him busy as well. He just added a cross bike to his collection and has been out a few times. Hopefully that will continue this spring.

Mike Doyle(Doyley) has been the closest to a regular riding partner I have had this off-season. He just got a new cross bike around the first of the year so he has been eager to explore the gravel roads with me. His work schedule has been a little crazy so he has been hit and miss as well. The earlier in the season I can get him out the better chance I have of talking him into some crazy long spring rides. He is so gullible!

Bill Ford (Wiford) dropped off the face of the earth in September. Until this year he has been the rock steady guy to get out with in the winter. It was nice to see him re-surface to join us on Sunday's ride. The rides are always a little more intense when Bill is along. His motto is "every ride is a race" and "every stop ahead sign or city limits sign is a sprint". Don't invite Bill on a tail wind ride. His idea of enjoying the tailwind is to see how fast he can go the entire time. He is great to have along as a horse in the headwind though.

Jon Sulzberger (Jonnie) had a really strong fall and joined me on cross bikes early in the winter. You never know if he is going to show up. He will call thirty minutes before a ride to ask if anybody is riding and not know for sure if he is going to ride. Last year for the ride out to RAGBRAI an hour before we were leaving for a three day trip he was not sure yet. He did not go with us. Hopefully we can rope him into this years ride out.

Bill Harper (Billy) has not taken the cyclo-cross bike plunge yet. A couple of really dusty gravel road rides in the fall ruined his taste (literally) for the gravel. He teaches a spin class on Sunday mornings so that screws up early Sunday rides. He will be a steady participant as the spring approaches. Last year he rode out to RAGBRAI with us and had a great time. I think I can get him on a few more crazy adventures this year.

Chad Bishop is the proto-typical racer type of the group. Put Chad and Wiford together on the same ride and hold on for dear life as the testosterone is thick. I am trying to teach him the meaning of a base building ride. He did a pretty good on Sunday keep the pace down. Chad want to work on building his endurance so hopefully I can get him on some longer (3-5 hour) rides this spring.

I have the fortune of riding many miles each year with my wife Connie. She is definitely a far weather rider. Once the weather warms up she is out in full force. Monday nights are her riding night and once in a while I can convince her to come out and play on a Tuesday night ride. When she does join us she can hold her own. She really likes the longer weekend group rides for the social aspect. She

Trash talking is always part of any group ride. On this weekends ride Wiford shows up, pats Doyley on the stomach and says"now I don't feel so bad". Greg was way over dresses. There is a lady who rides with us on accasions and she is always overdresses. I told Greg he looked like her. Let the season begin!!

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