Finding Fred’s Ride

A phone conversation
  • “Hello?”
  • “Is this Fred Lounsberry?”
  • “Yes”
  • “I saw your listing for Fred’s Ride on the Dayton Cycling Club website. I am thinking of coming out and trying your ride, but I only have a hybrid.”
  • “Come out and do the ride, you’ll do fine.”
  • “But I’m not very fast.”
  • “You can’t ride a bike slower than me. All you need is a bike and a lid.”
  • “But…”
  • “Just get out here. You.. will.. be.. fine
  • “OK”

So I did. I got myself out there. And again I was intimidated. Well, first I was ticked off. As I was driving up the road to the school where the ride started, I saw this group of guys go flying past the other direction. What the hell? Did I miss the start? It isn’t supposed to be for another 1/2 hour!

Turns out that was the Cows, a group of sadistic, crazy guys (and gal) who love to suffer on bikes only slightly less than they like to make other people suffer. But that’s another story for another time.

I pulled into the lot, greatly relieved to see other riders doing various pre-ride things, mostly standing around bullshitting. There was this old guy (sorry Fred!, it is said with all the love and affection in the world!) with a clipboard and a grin on his face. I just knew that must be Fred. He introduced himself, made me sign his sheet, and helped me relax a bit. A couple of other people said howdy, but mostly I just kept to myself and tried to figure out if I could handle the ride or not.

Well I did OK. The faster people quickly moved ahead of me, but Fred rode with me most of the way and I rode with another guy who was heavyset enough to be no faster than me. Fred occasionally pushed the pace to where I was cross-eyed, but I hung on. I did a shortened version of the course, 20.5 miles, at an average of 15.5 miles an hour. I don’t know if that was a record speed at the time, but it must have been damned close.

That was June 09, 2004, nearly two years exactly as I am writing this. I weighed 192 pounds and was about to reach the first of my two goals. I was also about to become hopelessly hooked on cycling.