Ebb and flow

September 12, 2018 § 7 Comments

Rides come and go, they ebb and flow. The last two times I’ve done NPR I could only think, “Man, times have changed.”

NPR used to have 60+ riders even on Thursday. Tuesdays had more, everyone was fresh from Monday’s rest, and it was filled with hitters. You could expect the Tuesday NPR to be either single file for four laps, or hugely surgey with a crazy sprint.

No more, apparently.

Yesterday’s group was tiny, maybe a thirty-rider peloton that shrank over the course of the ride. Most telling was the fact that the last two rides I’ve been able to get away and stay away for four laps. Anytime you can’t catch a 54-year-old grandpa on a short ride like that, you have what is known as a very slow ride.

At the end yesterday, Frexit hunted me down and passed me at the last light, but the pack was still well more than a minute back.

NPR’s regular crashes got old, I guess, and some of the last pile-ups were huge. But more importantly, people have gotten old and quit. Or maybe I should say “older.” You still have guys in their 80’s like Jim and Tim out doing laps, but a whole generation of fast people who are now in their late 30’s and 40’s have simply quit NPR like the bad habit it is.

Gone are days when the Sausage Cam captured all the excitement, spliced and put to music.

Gone are the days when the sprunt involved Davy Dawg, Hair, Destroyer, Rahsaan, Pischon, Sausage, Cam, EA Sports, Inc., and half-a-dozen riders good enough to be there but not quite good enough to win.

Gone are the insane pulls by Dave Miller and Head Down James, the hopeless attacks by Richard Whose Last Name I Don’t Know, the shouting by Leibert … “We’re only going 28! Get off the effing front if you can only do 28!”

Gone are the guest appearances by Daniel Holloway, Justin and Cory Williams, and the regular appearance of women like Lisa, Chris, Tink, Suze, Katie D., Lolo, Michelle, Marilyne, and a whole bunch more.

And of course there are the aged ones who have simply moved into convalescent homes with Italian gentlemen. Kramer, Yule, Spalding, and dozens of others whose names I no longer even remember and whose features are kind of a blurry blot, like watching a face through a rainy window pane.




§ 7 Responses to Ebb and flow

  • Serge Issakov says:

    Maybe it’s just reflective of the end of the race season?

  • Robert Efthimos says:

    I couldn’t agree more, as we have discussed, I have long believed that the riders make the ride. Great riders show up, you have a great ride.

    It’s not the sole cause in the decline of NPR, however. Until a few years ago, the stoplights largely remained green on Westchester Parkway. NPR racers faced few red lights. Those looking to turn left onto the Parkway had to wait a loooong time.

    Then the lights were retimed. Red lights are now commonplace. Thursday was actually a relatively hard effort (at least for me) but we went a LOT slower than we used to. A large reason was the red lights. Each red light allows the pack to catch up to the riders at the front and makes it more difficult to crack the field.

    Here is the speed data for the NPR KOM set back in 2012:


    This was from a relatively average rider – none of the heavy hitters you mentioned above. He just happened to be at the back of the pack when the group had a very fast day. You will see that he slows down exactly 8 times – once on World Way and then 7 times for the Parkway turnarounds. Each time he only need slow to 18-20mph or so. Not a red light in sight!

    Here is Thursday’s ride:


    Not only a lot more slowdowns, but many were full stops or very slow rolls approaching red lights.

    So not only was there more firepower in the group in year’s past, it also was largely unimpeded by red lights. No rest stops!

  • senna65 says:

    The ebb and flow. Unfortunately for my 52 yr. old challenged buttocks, we’ve had an influx of youth on our Tuesday morning fake race out here in AZ. Lots of caffeine and warm up, or out the back you go…The mental anguish of starting the day by getting dropped? Or the temporary physical anguish of going into the 180’s for multiple minutes and risking a crash at 30mph? Pick your poison Wanker.

  • senna65 says:

    Well Wanker, unfortunately for my 52 yr. old slow ass, we’ve had an influx of youth on the Tuesday World Championships out here in AZ. Better get lots of caffeine and lots of warm-up or your ass is out the back early. Pick your poison – the mental “anguish” of starting off the day by getting dropped? Or the physical discomfort of rolling in the 180’s for multiple minutes and the risk of crashing at 30mph? Your man Dollar used to deal out the pain on this ride…

  • …i’m not sure i agree…this ride is still VERY hard. It may “ebb and flow” week to week…but it’s been 50+ riders for the last few months. I would also suggest (as i have with Willy the Greek) that when you’re in a “break-a-way”, STOP at the damn red lights…the group does (mostly). I’m not sure what the challenge is when there are repeated 1-2 min gaps caused by stop lights. The group is riding at 28mph+, and usually breakaways are cruising at 23mph…but running lights…
    Personally, i’d rather you stay in the group, and help me push the speed up to 32mph…THAT’S hard!

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