We had a tailwind for the first half of the route home, but people were starting to run out of energy. At each intersection, it was taking longer and longer to bring everyone together again.
We were on Georgia Road, a handful of miles away from our final rest stop, when Bill, who was behind me, called out a hole. We heard a crash. We turned around.
Al was on his side, reaching for his glasses. Not until we got within ten feet of him did we see that Jack was down too. They were both in the same position, as if on a tandem, lying on their left sides, under their bikes.
My first question is always, "What happened?" I want to get the story before there's chance for any spin. Al said, "Barry swerved. I hit him." Barry was standing a few feet away. Jack got out from under his bike, and we untangled it from Al's. Then we got Al's bike off of him and he stood up. Both had road rash on their left elbows and left shins. Both had jerseys with new vent holes. Both had perfectly functioning bikes. I doused their wounds from my water bottle while Ron got out some alcohol wipes. I said to Barry, "You're in the back from now on." I said it loudly and forcefully so that everyone could hear me. Then I went back to paying attention to Jack and Al. It looked like the two of them would be okay, so we started to get ourselves together again. I heard Barry cursing to Bill: "Why the fuck does everyone blame me? I had nothing to do with it!" Bill masterfully calmed him down. I told Jack and Al to ride up front where I could keep an eye on them. "We're injured and she wants us to pull," Jack said with a grin. They didn't ride in front of me, but I kept them in my sight. Barry didn't ride at the back as I'd told him to.
The rest stop, in Freehold, is only about ten miles from Etra Park, but we took our time there. We were at a Dunkin Donuts; Cheryl asked the manager for a first aid kit. Al got himself some ice, and Barry showed him how to wrap it in a bandanna. Al kept it on his arm until the ice was half melted.
The group splintered again before half of us were out of the parking lot. Barry, Al, Jack, and a handful of others went off the front, while I waited for those who were too pooped to push. When there were no more turns to make, I rode ahead to try to catch up to the lead group, hoping I could get everyone in sight. That didn't happen, although we all got back to the park within a few minutes of each other.
Then, Jack and I rode back towards my house. We took a route that Jack knew, one that avoided the small hills in the park. The distance ended up being the same. Despite his road rash, Jack chose the longer way back to his house from mine. He'd finish the day with something in the neighborhood of 115 miles.