The weather on the first weekend of spring was not kind to the hearty Wheelmen who ventured to the roads for the traditional first Club event of the season. A scant 22 riders set out from Fort Meigs under Sunday's sunshine, but such was the only bright spot on a day where the temperature failed to breach 30 degrees during the ride. The wind, although not as ferocious as it often is in March, was still wicked, and the ever-present brisk breeze of 15 mph kept the windchill in the mid teens. It was one of the colder Equinoxes of recent memory.
By the accounts of the Club's A-Listers, the pace out to McClure was not the frenetic beast it typically is, however, neither was it a casual affair bedecked in friendly conversation. A group of about a dozen riders remained compact until McClure saw the riders' rear wheels. The after-action reports seemed to indicate a steady grind, coupled with the effects of lagging base miles, were the biggest culprits for the steady attrition of the returning riders. At the time of the turn onto Long Judson Rd. six riders had been progressively shelled like so many hard boiled eggs. A few miles farther and a few dirty digs later--courtesy of perennial strongman Matt Thourot and the young awesome Aussie motor James Thorp--the lead element consisted of just these aforementioned strongmen plus two additional sufferers: Ric Hummel and Jeff Crawford. Another couple of miles and another couple of harder efforts later, only Matt and James remained on the tolerable side of hypoxia. As the end approached any betting Wheelmen would most naturally place their money on the man who has owned Equinox for nearly a decade, and in the years past those bets would have paid handsomely. On this day, however, there was no joy in Mattville, as Mighty Matt met his match (and graciously so) at the pedals of the young Australian triathlete.
Thanks to Frank Kistler a few photos were taken before the start. Click on an image to enlarge.
More photos will be posted later.