Thursday evening turned out to be a perfect evening for the Nebo Ridge ride. I had the privilege of hosting a work colleague from the UK who is also training for a JDRF ride there http://www.cyclegb.co.uk/ -- and the Lilly UK team http://www.justgiving.com/ErlyWheelers2010. His ride (81 miles) is this Sunday (June 13) back in the UK, and he wanted to get at least one training ride in while he was traveling for work.
Since it just wouldn't be right to leave a fellow cyclist without a ride, he borrowed my back-up bike (he didn't have cleats to match my regular pedals), and a helmet. We got a bit of a late start from my house due to an unexpected flat and tube change, so we didn't make it to the start before the normal rides set out. We jumped on the course at 126th St. and rode ahead of the fastest group until they caught us just before the S.R. 32 crossing.
He is a few inches taller than I am and so the bike was slightly too short for him from crank to saddle. In spite of the strange borrowed bike (we learned that the brake levers are on opposite sides compared to those in the UK... yikes!), decreased leg extension and the fact that we were riding on the wrong side of the road for him, he did great! We managed to average about 17 mph for 30 miles. With comfortable temps and light winds, the ride seemed to go very fast for both of us. Though he bicycle commutes 30 miles to/from work, it was his first experience riding amidst such large groups of cyclists. That said, the Nebo Ridge numbers pale in comparison to the 1500 cyclists he is expecting to ride on Sunday... wow!
After we got back to my house, we enjoyed a beer and grilled pork chops on the screened porch before I returned him to his hotel.
A great ride... and I appreciated all the shouts of support from my fellow JDRF riders as you passed!