150 words about 101 miles and the team you build on the fly
With over 400 riders on a flat route, it takes longer for riders to get sorted. So even 40 miles in we were still in a group of 30 or more, working more like a pack than a team. But once the group winnowed to a dozen or so, unspoken on-the-road alliances formed. You saw who was willing to do work, who was smooth, and who didn’t play well with others. I drifted back after a pull and an unfamiliar rider opened a gap. I slotted in — and he laughed to a companion. A laugh that said “Sucker.” There’s no shame in sitting in rather than taking an unsteady pull that causes the whole group to yo-yo. But take glee in getting something for nothing and you’ll get left at a rest stop. Like any team, the one you build on the road doesn’t work, or survive, without respect.