Due to some logistical errors in communication (race radio with dead batteries) I missed the Team Vitesse ride and was forced into a solo ride. Having picked the Tour l'dump route I set out with nothing to slow me down other than the setting sun, a brisk head wind, and a crucial component of fitness cyclist commonly refer to as "legs". As I started out of town I set my cadence meter to “tempo” (the Happy Lucky 88 metronome cunningly attached to the handlebar). It wasn't long before I encountered 2 signs that is the most dreaded to all road cyclists: “CRACK FILLING AHEAD” and "LOOSE CHIPS". To the layperson this would elude to the crisps left over in the bag following one of Johan's week long benders. Rather, it refers to the small pieces of gravel road crews use to fill cracks in the road. A Paris Roubaix like rail delay was the next annoyance on the ride. Once the barriers opened, I shot across the tracks like air out of a balloon.
Along a stretch of road similar to any country road in northern France (without the trees, cafes, and baguettes) I was challenged by a young ruffian riding an all terrain vehicle. He wanted to race. And as we all know, a Team Vitesse member never turns down competition. The pimply faced lad put up a good fight but I soon grew tired of the gravel and dust spray from his wheels. It was then that I decided to drop the hammer and left him revving his engine at a culvert.
Rounding the next corner, I was pleased with my performance on the short steep Muur du Legends and calmly rode away through the S-bends following it. At this point a truck pulled into my peripheral vision. I tensed for the inevitable random dumping of takeout food containers and empty beer cans. Fortunately Team Vitesse often practices evasive action for just such circumstances. I realized the beer swilling driver was pacing me and informed me that I was maintaining 44 kmph. I assume I heard wrong or they failed to mention a decimal. I could not confirm their velocity reading with my trusty SMEVIC 88T. After some laborious calculations the SMEVEC 88T produced a reading of 653.82 cubits per 30 seconds.
I turned for the dump and my date with Fortune and Destiny (FAD). FAD is the hill near the dump that is also known as "that @#$%ing hill I have to climb heading south out of the dump". At the light to cross Hwy 16 I had the enviable situation drafting behind a large truck just as the light went green. However, I had not gone 50 meters before I realized this truck's final destination was an abattoir. The summer heat had worked its magic on the truck’s unlucky occupants. My lungs, being hardened from many rides past the dump, were unable to function due to the fecundity of the odor. I managed to avoid a high speed spew by pulling on the binders and allowing the truck and all it live cargo to speed away.
With fresh air in my lungs and Gordon Lightfoot crooning a Pierre Burton history lesson in my ear, I turned for home. I picked my way along Vaseline alley trying to avoid the loose chip spray from each passing tanker truck. Arriving home, I ran to the kitchen to get a reading from my uber-accurate oven clock. I was please to discover that the route had taken me exactly 1 hour and 34 minutes...at an average speed of 64 kmph!