like baby deer fresh from birth

With the coming of Spring and the changing of the weather comes a harbinger of the season every year in the form of the Spring Classic. These are not the one day or stage events that occur over in Europe, this is a homegrown affair with many years of its quirky, yet well defined past evident in the recounts you will hear around bike shops and group rides.
If you ask three folks about their spring classic experience, you are liable to get seven or eight different stories.
I have never been on the ride, and I am not one to let the experience of others dictate mine, so I set off to meet the folks for the ride. I figured on there being a few fast folks there, if I would have called out the folks based on adjectives only, it would have sounded like fast, fast, faster, hammer, national champ, fast, road pro, faster, cross pro, really freaking fast, pretty fast and so on, until I got to myself. I knew I was in for it.


The ride started off good enough, and I wanted to make sure that I stayed in the peloton, because then I figured I could not be spit out of the back. I was riding my Bilenky with one front chainring and most of the rear cassette sort of working. Leave it to me to go out really prepared for a ride like this.


We made it through the first section of woods, up a decent climb and on the road to Al’s house for one of the scheduled stops along the way. I hung on the back of the crew for the rest of the ride until we got to a section that was going to have a pretty severe climb.
Anne and M said I could join the pirate crew that breaks off from the pack and hits the alt. route.


Anne and M are pretty tough, so I went along for the alt route. It was much more relaxed and we arrived at the woods in time for me to get some shots of the crew hitting up Lorimer park.


There was a stop back in the City of Philadelphia at the start of Pennypack park where some folks enjoyed their smoked fish and the pleasantries of using the tree toilet.


The pirate crew headed out of Pennypack to head off the rest of the pack and clear the way for the crew that was surly coming behind us at record speed.
Dodging the Sunday doddlers and their dog/child combos was fun at 18mph in a four person freekshow of a paceline on the narrow park lane. The abundant sun and warm temperatures of the day made the looks on the faces of park users like baby deer fresh from birth.
We threaded the pennypack needle in time to get a few moments of R&R before the rest of the pack joined on to start the march back to the start.
To get back to the park, we needed to traverse some city traffic and the dreaded ride from the park back to center city. Along this leg of the journey the wind really kicked up and after leading the pace line…actually blocking the wind for the paceline, I went off the front and missed a turn. That turned my day into searching for the tail end of the dragon. With a strong headwind, and an ignored light or two, I was totally shot off the back left to fight for scraps with the others of the same fate. We started a mini paceline back into town trying to catch the others, but with lights, traffic, dead end streets and the like, we rode back as pretty much lone soldiers lost in the scrum.
As we were getting closer and closer to casa de surly, I decided that a warm shower and some R&R was more appealing than riding through a muddy forbidden drive and walking up the wall.
I broke from the pack and summarily quit my first spring classic.

No shame in leaving the classic, because in a way, it is built that way. There are no registration fees, or a bunch of travel, so be it positive or negative, I didn’t feel like I needed to stick around.

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