Eddy Merckx was in town for several reasons last week. One was a benefit bike ride that was so close that I had to do it. The ride was to benefit the Oak Hill School in Marin City. They teach developmentally disabled kids.
About 250 or so people showed up. From the list I recognized Dave Martinez. There may have been others but I didn't know them. It was a nice brisk pace ride. About 25 miles in length. It was a little dicey in the beginning but by mile 3 or so was a mile long 400 feet tall hill that caused a selection dropping the group to between 40 and 60. Eddy was in fine form and he rode in the front 5 or ten most of the ride. The group average about 22 mph when it wasn't slowed by traffic. It was a little faster than a slow burn ride for me and I faded on the same hill that caused the first selection and end about 2-3 minutes behind at the end. About 30 people finished with him.
Since he's trying to make a living making bikes he rode the latest 07 Carbon Fiber Merckx. But he wasn't using the 07 record stuff. There were a couple Molteni motif steel bikes. Many 80's and 90's era eddy merckx bikes. A ritchie sachs with Faema graphic motif was most always between me and eddy. True to form he was fidgeting with the handlebars to get them just right.
With so many people he didn't have a chance to say much though a CAP(?)48 film crew (Belgian TV48?) was present. Though he did sign many of the things that people threw in front of him, mostly book. He sign my complementary water bottle. I first had him sign a program I had at the 1984 or 85 Coors Classic. His english is much better now.
I think he is still the greatest(sorry all you Lance or Coppi fans). It was really cool riding with a childhood (and still) hero.