WTRL – Ride Report – Woodpeckers – Latte – Sand & Sequoias Finish Time: 1:10:02
Riders in this week’s descent included:
I’m not one to generally write ride reports, but after a request by two new team members, here we go.
The Woodpeckers were anchored by 5 of our regulars, and we were happy and very fortunate to add Mike and Sheridan to our ranks.
As we sat in the pens, Mike and Sheridan, both B riders, said they would trade off on the work in the front to try and push our pace a bit, and the rest of us could hang out in their slip stream. Shooting out of the pens, we quickly got organized and made some pretty good time through the sands. Within the first few miles, we were passed by one team that started 30 seconds behind us. We pressed on.
The first run in the sequoias was an educational experience for our group of fairly inexperienced cyclists. While I may be the “captain” of this flock, I know when to shut up in the presence of real leaders. Mike and Sheridan, still pushing the pace up front, taught us a great deal about how to ride the rollers. While it may not have shown in our finish time, we were given a lot to think about and practice. We did somehow end up overtaking the team that passed us earlier as we climbed the Titans Grove KOM, and we left them in our dust. This was big for us, as we’re not used to being passers.
With a new sense of confidence, we shook our legs out as we departed the forest and pushed our way into the sands again. Here, fatigue was starting to set in. Occasionally, one of our team members would lose the draft and start dropping back. When this would happen, either MIke or Sheridan would drop back and tow the rider in so that we could keep our group together. This kept going until we hit the KOM climb for the second time.
The second run up the climb was where the team started blowing up. We got passed by a few more teams, and our team splintered into three subgroups. But we all pressed on.
I forgot to mention that before the KOM, one of our riders mentioned that he wasn’t sure he would be too valuable to us on the second climb, but we’re WOODPECKERS! We pride ourselves in doing everything we can to keep our team together. Sure, it may mean a slower overall finish, but it’s what we do and who we are. Sheridan and Mike really pushed us and encouraged us the whole way.
With the final climbs behind us, we had about 3 miles left when I noticed that the Kites, who started 5 minutes after us, were only about a minute behind us now. Over the past 3 races, this team has been a real motivator for us. They have started behind us each time. We were 1-1 on who ended up finishing first. This one would be a tiebreaker.
We pushed hard, and so did they. With about 1 mile left, the Kites did pass us. But we kept pushing. As those final revolutions on the pedals were spun, Mike, Sheridan, Scott, and Ally were the four who had enough left in the tank to give going after the Kites for the finish a go.
Yes, the Kites busted their tails and made up five minutes on us, but looking at the results, our four took their four on the line by the skin on our teeth. Congrats Kites on a hell of a ride!
In the end, we were all exhausted, but happy with our work. We’re not the fastest team by far, but we leave it all out there.
Thanks to Mike and Sheridan for the hard work, encouragement, your knowledge, and your leadership. We hope this won’t be your last run with the Woodpeckers.