It's a rite of spring; the first Tuesday Night Ride is often part-road ride, part reunion, part gamble, but it all adds up to a fun roll on Old Mission Peninsula.
TNR is a road ride fixture in Northern Michigan, drawing anywhere from thirty to sixty people every Tuesday night at Traverse City Central High School. The full route is just over 40 miles, and the fast pace often holds around 25mph. It's an unofficial race, a training ride, a test to see if you can hang on...it is a lot of different things for different people.
Last night, one of the earlier debuts in recent history saw 6 riders enjoying a freakishly warm sun and a shortened version to end as the sun set over West Bay. The pace was relaxed, the group forgiving, and the camaraderie unmatched. All of the ride was conversational, with perhaps some abbreviated sentences as the riders went up Smokey Hollow, with a rolling regroup before cutting to Ladd Road and across to Eimen.
It was a varied group, with two riders on cyclocross bikes, some road bikes with fenders, and one bike under Lowetz built in a day to be ready for the first TNR. Major props to Valerie Hyrman for being the only lady on hand, and to Rob Goepfrich for the best mustache.
The head to cross wind delayed the return leg, with Ryan Bolin and Jason Lowetz taking the biggest turns in the wind and trying to keep it all together. The temperatures hovered for the group on the way, back still a balmy 48 degrees even at 7pm.
It's a great feeling to look over the bay and see it still covered in ice, albeit increasingly soupy-looking. The drifted sheets are built up some ways off shore, with pools of open water started to elbow their way through the ice. The setting sun made it all the more impressive. It was really just a nice bike ride.
TNR is kicking on Tuesday nights at 6.00pm, with more riders joining as the temperatures ride!