Yesterday I did my annual Creeper Trail Ride in VA. a ride I do actaully do more than once a year but it seems like it's been that long so I have no problem calling it my annual ride. A year or so ago a few guys I work with decided they wanted to do this ride and invited me to join them. I accepted not really knowing if they would all make it to the top of White Top Station which is 17 miles from the start. It's not a hard ride by any means but for some who aren't used to doing 30+ miles it can be a bit tough. Our first attempt I was stood up by everyone because of the threat of rain, determined to ride anyway I hit the trail all by my lonesome and really enjoyed myself only getting hit with a slight drizzle. The second attempt about half of them showed and all but one made it and with a fairly decent pace.
A year has past since that ride but has been alot of smack talk in the control room about how the next time we roll they were going to ride me into the ground. I played along and stayed on them about a second trip before it got too cold for normal folks to ride bikes. After a bit of badgering and some more smack talk a date and time was finally set. The day prior to the ride I wasn't sure it was going to happen, some were unsure if the rain was going to hold off and after a few phone calls with no definite answer I finally decided to ride with or without them. At 8:30 yesterday morning I was told as long as I don't hear from them they would be there. I conned fellow rider, "The Local Cult Hero" to go with me just in case I was stood up again. We arrived at our destination point and 30 minutes later the smack talkers finally rolled in. As they stepped out of the car I learned that once again not everyone showed. I guess the idea of actually doing the ride was a bit too much for some and they decided to hide out at home where it was warm and safe.
Once everyone was ready we rolled out with a casual pace, I kept waiting for someone to pick it up and take off trying to beat me to the top but it never came. Everytime I turned around the group from work started slipping off the back. Mike and I would stop, wait and once they caught up it wouldn't be long before they got dropped again. Finally I stopped and asked if everyone was ok only to learn that some hadn't been on the bike since last years ride and were really feeling the effects. I then knew we might not make it to the finish so I dug around in my bag and fished out a Hammer Gel to see if that would help. After some more resting and refueling we finally got rolling again. The closer we got to the top the wetter the ground got and eventually we caught up to the drizzling rain. We rode for a couple of miles hoping the rain would slack off but it didn't. A lack of energy and the rain finally took it's toll on the group and a decision was made to turn around 4 miles from the top. No one wanted to admit it but I could tell they were all ready to bail, I told them I was game to finish the ride but no one took me up on the offer so we headed home. As we rode back downhill and out of the rain their spirits seems to pick up as did the pace, I think they were all ready to get back to the car and into warm clothes.
I'm anxious to see if anyone has anything to say when I go back to work, I have a feeling the smack talk will be hushed for a while. I'll try not to give them too hard of a time in hopes that I'll get them back out on their bikes again but that may be a tough one.