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The July 4th Ride - More fun than Tour De France

07 Jul 2021 12:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

                                 The July 4th Ride

                       More fun than Tour De France 

                                   by Ellen Guerin

HBC members and guests gathered for a special Independence Day event with 70-plus riders taking off from the Brookside Park pavilion on July 4th.  The 40-mile group “the long riders” quickly decided to split into two groups of 15-17 rather than riding as a traffic-threatening paceline. John Hardy, who led the “slower” group, said, “We all think we’re fast, but I’m hoping that some of you will join me at a slower pace.” The “fast” group, led by Greg Swanson, took a couple of extra turns off and back onto the Luce Line trail, only to ensure that everyone was following the leader’s directions (at least that’s what he said). 

At Plymouth Station, Greg stopped the group to warn those of weak constitution that this was the “last stop before Wayzata.” Suddenly Greg’s group heard a loud “left turn,” and the “slower long” group passed at what looked like a pretty rapid pace. Some of Greg’s group, that is, Mary Luoma, responded to the call and followed rapidly after John Hardy’s group, despite Diane Zeiss’s, “Come back, Mary!” 

From that point on, things got confusing, and the 40-mile contingent seemed to pick up greater speed overall. While Greg tried to honor the “age before beauty” adage and allow John’s group to go ahead and become the “newly faster long” group, several members of the “formerly faster, now slower long” group took off ahead of Greg and caught up to the other group. Mary Buss set a record-breaking pace down Hunter Road, with this hapless author trying to keep up. At one point, as we passed the “newly faster long” sweep (whose identity was masked by a thick layer of white sunscreen), the sweep was heard to say, “I don’t know WHO I’m sweeping!” This rider, a former English teacher, thought, “It’s actually ‘whom.’”

Wayzata was already full of patriotic revelers when the HBC long riders arrived, leaving few seats available at local coffee shops. Mike Becker encouraged riders to stop at Penny’s, an alternative to the crowded Caribou on Lake Street, but heat and humidity were taking their toll, and many just stood on the corner debating what to do. Some of the “long” riders were no longer sure of their identities, especially as the “faster medium” and “slower medium” riders appeared. After bee-lining it to the Caribou restroom, this rider sat in one of the precious few shady seats and watched the festivities. Several times, cries of “we’re leaving” permeated the air, though the busy Lake Street traffic and the delight of an iced drink made some of us wonder if we were hearing correctly. “ARE WE REALLY LEAVING?” “Yes,” Greg nodded, after watching the “slower long” or was it now the “faster long” riders heading by in flight formation. 

On the way back, we did manage to make a spectacle of ourselves: that is, we became an unplanned part of a Minnetonka neighborhood’s July 4th parade, complete with clapping and cheering spectators. According to local historian Mary Luoma, crashing the parade actually has been an annual tradition of the Tour D’Amico. 

Eventually we returned to the Brookview Pavilion, where a number of non-riders joined us for lunch. Greg summed up the long ride with the philosophical statement, “I’m tired.” Most of the riders seemed to have returned in good shape; even Dave Gepner was still with the group. Wise club members had brought carefully-packed nutritious lunches, while others of us grazed through bananas, Carmen Price’s cherry crisp, and Lisa Soldat’s lemon bars, leaving a trail of mineral water and pop cans in our wake.

All in all, it was a great ride and a good way to celebrate the 4th and a return to group riding and socializing.

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