One of the plans I hatched during the off-season was to get a group of riders together for dinner in March to build excitement for the coming season and to plan what rides we were going to do. Last year, Jay and Paul and I constituted a core group of riders who did a number of events together, and we had a few peripheral riders (Mark, Eric, Andy) tag along from time to time. Our hope was that we could convert a few of those hangers-on into core members of a cohesive, motivated group of cyclists.
I started out with a list of nine. Before I announced the dinner, we grew to eleven by adding four, but losing two. After the announcement, we lost five more, which brought us down to six attendees. And another person bagged the day before the dinner. Then one attendee canceled by text message, 15 minutes after the dinner had begun. Suddenly we were back down to our core group of three guys, plus one new girl. This was not the turnout I had hoped for at all.
Despite the sparse attendance, we confirmed our goals for this year, which aren’t that different from 2009; the major rides will continue to be Climb to the Clouds and the Flattest Century. Paul and I will ride from NY state to Sturbridge the day before the Pan-Mass Challenge. I may join Lynda for the Outriders ride. Hopefully Jay will reprise his Memorial Day cookout and ride up Wachusett. Plus we’ll do our usual few group expeditions to places like Cape Ann and so forth.
The real question is whether the people who bagged on us for dinner will actually show up to ride. On one hand, it would be nice to drag people like Mark and Eric and Charlie out; but if it’s just Jay and Paul and I, we’ll still have just as much fun as we did last year. So while the low turnout is a disappointment, it’s not a catastrophe.
And we did have fun last night. Joined by Jay’s friend Mary, we had Indian food at the Bombay Club, which recently moved from Harvard Square to the South End. The group consensus was that the food rated a seven or eight out of ten. Then we went to Ben & Jerry’s on Newbury Street for ice cream, which was fun. Then I had everyone up to my place for more conversation and a little feline talent show put on by the Gradler. Ultimately, we are all really motivated to get the cycling year started. I just wish that others had been there to share in that enthusiasm.