Sunday, March 21, 2010

And the season starts now.

Yes, with the Daylight Saving Time change last weekend, we now have sufficient daylight to run the traditional Thursday Nighter ride. It's a ~26 mile course that has a a couple of short climbs, wind, rollers, and a long flat finishing straight. It's the weekly slugfest for bragging rights, an event duplicated in countless other cities and regions to various scales, but never contested any less furiously. Some riders show up with hours already in their legs, looking to top off with some speed, others show up rested and determined to make the break, and others still just hope to hang on over Welder's Hill in the first few miles. When the chips are down, no-one is just out for an evening ride.

View Eugene Thursday Nighter in a larger map

The Thursday Nighter epitomizes why I ride my bike. No race officials, no lead car, no feed zone, no neutral wheel support. No rules but common sense and courtesy - the unwritten rules of fast group rides. Success is measured on individual goals that may or may not include crossing the finish line first.

No-one is ambivalent about the Thursday Nighter.

Rolling down to the church last Thursday was like going home after a long road trip. Settling into a comfortable routine, seeing the regulars who may not have been out on weekend CSC rides but whom you can count on to be on the road on Thursdays. Rolling out Lorane, hitting the first rollers, the familiar pedaling styles of the regulars, new faces, and the racing season in Eugene has finally begun.

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