This first ride was another group ride with the TBN, and actually followed the same route as the one I did a few weeks back when I totally bonked and barely made it home. This time around however, things went much better, but I can't say it was totally without some adventure. First of all, I came much better prepared, with lots of food and liquids in hopes of avoiding the dreaded dehydration that led to my previous bonk. It's probably a good thing too. Unlike the previous ride, this one for some reason started out much faster, with the group pushing a pretty high pace right from the get-go. I was fine with that as I like a little higher pace than we had done on the previous ride.
What I didn't like was getting another flat and losing the group at about 40k in. What was unusual about this flat was that it was most likely the result of a pothole I hit at about the 25k mark. Once again, I hit it pretty hard and thought for sure I would flat immediately, but it didn't. It wasn't until I was going downhill at about 45kmh much later than the air finally let out. I certainly didn't hit anything, and the tube damage had all the earmarks of a pinch puncture typical of a pothole hit. Anyway, I was left alone with no way to catch up to the fast moving group after a 10-minute repair stop.
I checked my map and realized that if I cut-off the top part of the route's loop, I just might be able to rejoin. My shortcut trimmed about 5k off my ride total, but I couldn't have timed it better. Just as I reached the crossing point, sure enough the group was right there. I hopped back in and finished out the ride at a pretty steady 30-35kmh pace. In all, 109km in 4h06. Perhaps the most notable moment of the return ride was that I fianlly made it non-stop over the dreaded "Weston Wall". I've been up that thing 3 times now, and this was the first time I didn't have to stop for a breather. I also learned that the "Weston Wall" is actually called "Strawberry Hill". That certainly sounds a lot less daunting, but it is still brutal none-the-less.
This turned out to be a great ride and pretty well paced. Nothing eventful of note to speak of, other than climbing a hill next to a shooting club and listening to the pop of gun fire. We were just hoping they were shooting in the other direction. Unlike the Tour de France, we cyclists shouldn't have to worry about getting shot at. After a short stop for a bite to eat in Mt. Albert, our remaining group of 5 headed back south towards Toronto and I totalled out at 103k in 3h45. That now puts me just over 1500k for the year.
I should have no trouble reaching my next goal and perhaps even a bit more. Now that I am unemployed again, I've got no shortage of time for riding. So much time in fact that I've decided to turn pro. Sure there's not a lot of money in it at my level, but at least I can fill in the gap on my résumé with a job title until my next paying job comes along. By the way, if there are any pro teams out there looking for a domestique, I'm currently accepting offers.