Some marked differences between this year and last year. It was around 15 degrees or so cooler. Last year when we rode into the caves, the drop in temperature was a nice break from the heat. This year it was cooler above ground than it was below.
Mark from Bike America told me he was going to be there -- and I'm sure he was, I just didn't get to see him. I only got to briefly say "Hi" to Noah before he was called away. As he rode off I tried to get a shot of him ... but my daughter had borrowed my camera and I have no idea what setting she had it on. Sorry dude. Still, it kinda makes it look like you're on fire.
Peter and I were fortunate to only be about four rows back for the beginning of the ride. There were plenty of people stacked up behind us.
Keep in mind, this is a fun ride, not a race. Still, at mile 4 I was in third place and Peter was in fourth (taking it easy on the old man). By mile 6 we had dropped to seventh and eighth, and by the time we hit the caves we were probably around twelfth to fifteenth. After the caves we found ourselves in the middle of the families who were taking the short route so we throttled back a bit. It's not that we were trying to race, we just got started ahead of all the families, groups and people with pets. We made good time and kept the pace at about 17 mph.
Last year it took us 63 minutes to make it to the finish line. This year it only took us 47 minutes. I also think they may have compressed the monster hill from last year. It didn't seem nearly as tough to make it up the hill. Of course, last year I was taking a 7 mile route to work and this year I'm riding 20 miles to work...
Our favorite moment was as Peter and I were headed over to get pancakes. Some guy, all decked out in his racing gear, came across the finish line and felt the need to pump his fists in the air and yell -- just like the winners of a Tour de France stage. As he did so, he hit a bump, faltered a bit and lost his headlight. Seriously folks, rather than pretend you're riding in a real race -- try riding in one.