We had friends coming in from out of town Saturday for the Festival of Flowers, so I decided to do the short course rather than the full metric century for the Bee Buzzin' tour. I rode down to the Chamber of Commerce building on Phoenix Street around 7:30, signed up, and almost immediately got drafted to fix a flat.
I hung out for a while, saying hello to folks I hadn't seen in a while and chatting briefly with Ainsley and his cousin Matt before saying hi Milo, Zac, and the rest of the fast crowd. Zac had recently returned from racing in Europe, and all the fast guys in the state were out to see how good he is.
I had helped run this ride for a couple of years. Bee Buzzin' was meant to be a tour. Over the years, though, rivalries between clubs have lead to its becoming a de facto road race. There was a lot of anticipation this year.
"This is probably going to be the fastest Bee Buzzin' yet," Ainsley said. "I've just got a feeling about it."
Well, fast it might have been for some, but not so much for me. We started at 8:00. There was a bit of a traffic control problem at the start of the ride, and I found myself behind a bunch of riders who stopped for the first redlight. Sigh. I watched the lead pack go up the road and waited through the first two lights before pulling around the bunch I was with. I shifted up and went, but there was no catching them. Dang.
I rode for a while with Denise and Ann, then watched them go up the road on the metric course. I stopped and talked for a minute with Donis, Connie an
d Vonona, who were planning on riding part of the metric route and then working their way back via a different route. I considered it, then decided I needed to stick to the shorter course and get home in time to shower and change before our visitors arrived.
I hadn't left the big chainring yet, and blew in to Ninety Six relatively quickly. I stopped at the rest stop and had some water before setting off for home. It was pretty much the Wednesday night ride for a while, especially the climb up Scotch Cross Road. I rolled through the intersection with 25 South and took the 225 Bypass back to Maxwell Street. I got passed by a couple of our local triathletes along the way before making the turn.
I thought about the crashes we'd had in past years on the hill near the Connie Maxwell Home, then I was at the bottom and climbing up past the mill before crossing the tracks and stopping for the traffic light on Main Street. A quick stop at the Chamber, then home again and stepping off the bike at 9:59.
Rodger and Steve arrived a little after 11:00, and we headed downtown. We toured the Taylor Galleries and talked briefly with Donna before dining at T.W. Boon's. Vonona, Ainsley and Matt came in while we were there. Apparently, Ainsley had done the metric in 3 hours, 10 minutes. It seems the lead pack did the 65 miles or so in 2 hours 30 minutes. Yikes!
After lunch, we walked down
to the Federal Building and checked out the show running in the gallery there before heading out to the high school to see the full art show. Ana had the distinction of having the first digital paintings to run in the Festival show - Gardenia #1 and Cactus #2. We took a turn through the craft show before heading out to the garden tour. Three of the houses were enough, and we came home and chilled out a bit before bidding adieu to Rodger and Steve. All in all, it was a good day.