Its weird how things just seem to work out for me sometimes,....like this past weekend. You see I committed to this weekend's road trip months ago, and all for participating in Delray Beach's Gran Fondo ( French for big ride or 100KM, which is 62 miles). Unlike the DCC this ride wasn't slowed by pace cars and the pace groups were much faster. To give an example the "A" group for the DCC is 18-20MPH, and this weekend's "A+" was 26MPH+, in cycling terms that is a world apart. So my plan all along was to set a goal and show up in my DCC gear and let it rip as this weekend has us closing in fast on our departure from our Winter home. Working, lots of riding, and hockey has been all I've been doing since the Fins quick playing. And as luck would have it the Dolphins planned their party on the same weekend I was going to be in the area anyways,....coincidence, I think not.
However, a shitty end to the season left me poised for training hard to cycle off some Dolphins frustration. And just what I did. Unlike before I started showing up a some group rides with the local cycle club, The Caloosa Riders, instead of always riding alone. Here I learned about the that I could in fact become fast. I struggled to hang with the faster riders, but regroupings & red lights saved me on more than one ride. Soon enough I was improving and my speed & stamina grew. So much so that my STRAVA stats saw me begin to creep upwards on the leaderboards on many of the segments on my usual rides. In fact, last week I took the KOM ( king of the mountain,....or the fastest ) on a very popular segment here in town.
Take note on the "Pelican Dr Climb",....for now, I own it !
The next day I took another KOM on a 6.5 mile segment. So on the last day before our trip I just took a well needed relaxing spin to the beach.
Go figure,...the street performer was going with a bike theme today,....
I totally had Saturday penciled in as a rest day. Drive over, pick-up my packet, rest up & head to the party. However, I bumped in to Mad Dog's Son, Michael, and after some quick small talk a 90 minute ride followed with us having to finish it into a solid head wind. Nice,...and it gave me just enough time to get cleaned up and drive to the stadium from the Boca area. Not nice.
Once I arrived and saw all the smiling faces with everyone colored from head to toe in aqua & orange any stress I was feeling from being rushed slipped away.
The crowd was growing and I thought best we get in line at 6:45 as the doors opened at 7.
While there we saw part of what the now defunct "Deep End" crew.
Once one passes through the entrance this is what greeted you.
And on the way to the field these,...
Once on the field it simply looked like a giant Dolphins carnival and was too cool.
Like anything, a strategy is needed. Mine has alway been arrive early as to beat the crowd. This payed off if you intended to get a bite to eat as lines quickly grew to a 30-40 minute wait during a 3 hour party. I luckily ate pizza rolls & pretzel hot dogs before the lines exploded.
We spent an hour or so trying to win some Dolphin swag, but came up short,......while having a blast !
Even when I'm losing I'm winning,....
Heineken,....light. Tall boy. #WINNING
Always cool when our mascot greets you like an old friend.
And he knows whats up,....
Miami has the Dolphins, the greatest football team,.....
Best picture of the night.
It was a helluva good time and I made back to the hotel by 10:30 only to head out to the casino for a few. Believe it or not,....one spot from hitting a $25K jackpot,.....on a penny slot,......fugh. Home by 12:30 to be up by 5:30 to roll at 7.
I was pumped. Anyone that takes a picture of there duffel bag and cycling gear is either kinda pumped or a little nuts ( taken on Friday night while packing,.....I must be nuts).
I be the first to admit it, some more sleep might not have been a bad thing as I was unsure how this ride was going to go. There seemed to be a lot of fast looking riders & teams there.
When I signed up for this event I set a goal of riding with the "B" group at 20-22MPH, but my training had me thinking I just might,....might be able to hang with the "A" riders. It was a beautiful morning with no wind and soon after the "A+" ( pros & those really, really fast) the "A" followed and off I went. I never once faltered, in fact I was never really challenged. I simply stayed within the safety of the peloton and the last fifteen miles moved up in the pack as I thought someone might mount a breakaway. None came as as I joined a single file pace line of ten riders out in front of the peloton. I wanted to come in over 22MPH, but I was closer to 24MPH.
I noticed about a dozen riders in DCC gear and by all accounts we represented the Dolphins well.
What a great weekend,.....except this is the look I get every time I ask about buying my Bride a bike ( or even a tandem ),.....
Oh well,...you can't put a round peg in a square hole. Or can you ? Only time will tell.
As always,......GO DOLPHINS !!!!