Someone who asked to remain annonymous sent me the above image of Amanda, aka Marshmellow Queen, roasting marshmellows on an open flame after Saturday's first day at the Horsey Hundred in Kentucky.
I prepared 30 maps for the ride but they were not enough to cover the demand and so I was forced to ask for volunteers to give up their copies if they were familiar with the route and thankfully, some did. We ended up with 36, which was good considering several of the usual suspects were in KY for the Horsey Hundred. In Johnstown for the Pancake Roving Ride were Jeff S, sporting a nifty white/black Mt Mitchell jersey, Mitch, Ryan R, Recumbent Dude, Dennis, SuperDave, Farmer Mike, Kenda's Paul, Rick & Janet, Brad the Dentist, Randy Brown, Jim L, etc...
Jeff S, proudly wearing an Assault on Mt. Mitchell jersey. Earlier this week, he had the proud distinction of having the lowest time on this difficult century route for any Ohioian, who also resides in or near Columbus and who also rides COP events.
Dennis, carrying both a bike and muffler in his SUV.
This was a ride that felt like it had more climbing then it did, probably because of the first time exposure this year to this level of heat and humidity. Still, with 4600' of climbing on a 76 mile route, the Pancake route was anything but flat. We made it into Utica but I counted only 18 who made it that far with others choosing for a shorter route to Granville or having mechanical issues (Kendaites) that prevented them from hooking up with us. Utica was crowded from the ice cream festival and another group of cyclists who had started from New Albany, arrived at the same time we did, made the parking lot at the gas station a busy place. We headed out Black Snake, worked our way over to Bell Church, then Divan and on into Bladensburg via Henpeck. When I arrived, there was a gaggle of bikes in front of the restaurant and another in front of a market immediately to the right. Exercising rare discipline, I choose not to enter the restaurant from where I was certain to waddle an hour later carrying a large portion of greasy fries and hamburger in me. I knew this would cause me to be subjected to viscious abuse later but I did what I had to do and settled in with the market crowd.
We stayed only 20 minutes before a group of 7 headed south on Henpeck towards the tough stretch on Long Run, Pine View, Purity and Loches. Farmer Mike, soon to turn an unbelieveable 68 in a couple of weeks not only hung with us but literally drove us, despite claiming that he had to "taper back" in anticipation of riding the Mohican trail the next day. Throughout the route, I had been hanging back to ensure people did not miss turns and otherwise being a good group organizer. Early on Loches, I had to take a call and therefore got behind. I figured they would wait for me at the top of the hill, then in St. Louisville or somewhere but no.....Only the intervention of the monster climb on St. Joseph allowed me to rejoin them. We headed up the hill on Chatham and passed the crazy dude on the bike who began shouting at me, as he frequently does. By the way, it is because of a fall from a bike during his youth that created his condition but interestingly, Kenda Janet actually carried on a conversation with him a couple of weeks ago so he is capable of more than shouted gibberish when given the right circumstances.
We arrived in Granville, pooped, hot and irritable. Everyone just wanted to get the ride over with and we kept going and finally ended up back in Johnstown where SuperDave was temporarily dazed from the effort and heat emitting from the blacktop parking lot. A brief rest in the shade allowed him to recover. I had wondered what happened to the pancake eaters and so I packed up and drove east on Concorde. Not until I reached Northridge did I find them.
Probably around 40-45 showed for the New Albany ride and were able to ride. This despite Amanda Earnhardt treating the parking lot as if it was a NASCAR event. We also survived a very ominous looking radar image that suggested a blob of rain was sweeping in from the north but it did not rain. The wind picked up as if a storm was about to hit but not a drop of moisture hit us.
Not satisfied with running over one cyclist, Amanda pulled out, found another defenseless rider and ran him over too.
Actually, Amanda only came close to taking out Paul and in a classic, quick witted moment, Roy yelled, "Hey share the road buddy!"
Farmer Mike made an appearance and after hearing how badly he had been injured, Dennis and I decided to ride with the B+ group, with Mike, to protect him from erractic cyclists. Mike's injuries from a fall in Florida 6 weeks ago include a broken finger, cracked ribs and various other breaks that had bones jutting through his jersey at odd places, never to heal as original.
Around 12-15 went with the B+ group including Dennis, Catherine, Flyin Tuna, Amanda, Kenda Paul, Roy, Gary, Farmer Mike, SuperDave & others. We made a left onto Kitzmiller and a strange application to an already paved surface had been applied. The liquid was tacky but not so tacky as to retain the sand/grit that had been spread so tires picked up the sand and sent it back to the cyclists behind at surprising speed. It was as if we were being sand blasted. We finally got onto Jug and shook off the sand as best we could. We cruised up to Miller and then Caswell, where Roy rode to the front and subjected many of his friends to a withering and remorseless pace. Out Concorde we rode with a much smaller group of maybe 8, then up the hill on Sportsman Club, down Northridge to Stone Quarry and despite my best efforts to always draft, I was in front at the start of the final climb. I rode hard enough to prevent anyone from passing and at the top, there of course was Dennis but also still going strong were Catherine and Farmer Mike. We regrouped on Louden and maybe still had 6 prior to the climb, which set off a furious effort from Catherine and we barely hung on, but did and cruised through Alexandria, out Jug and back into New Albany. Our group finished with 40 miles, a 20.8 average and 1250' of climbing. Don't forget, Roving Ride out of Johnstown this Saturday at 8:00am to Bladensburg with lots of climbing, especially on the return route.
Kevin H, a.k.a. Polish Pony, sent me the image shown here with the title, "Why the color of the seat is an important consideration when buying a bike". Most of the images he sends me I can not show here but this is tamer than most.
If ever one was to hang with the A group for the entire route, tonight was the night to do it. The Boss is running a marathon next week so his preparation demands that he not extend himself. Steve O rode Assault on Mt Mitchell yesterday, forgot to dry his cycling shoes (caught in a rain storm during the ride) so had to ride his cross bike, Mark C had his hardest ride of the year yesterday at Grove City and was pooped, no retired pro or Cat 1/2 cyclists made a cameo appearance, the Cat 3 racers who sometimes show did not and, to top it all off, the route was flat (except for the end).
Group Molester and Da Boss
Only 40 cyclists came out, which seemed awfully low considering the great weather and little wind.
The route of 42 miles was interesting and thoughtful of someone to come up with one that was flat and like an early Tour de France stage but had a virtual mountain top finish at the end (for those who did not shortcut it and bypass the grueling finish). Only 11 of us headed out Basil Western at a delightfully lax pace and even turning north on Allen we were still almost soft pedaling. It was as if everyone was saving themselves for the end. A long stretch on Stemen brought us to the dead end at Cherry, where we turned south and rode into Baltimore. So far, The Boss, Grand Poobah, Steve, Polish Pony, Mark C, Ryan R, UPS Dude (a new guy who rides a white/red bike and overheard him say he weighed 135 and drove a UPS truck), Group Molester (damn him he is getting stronger and stronger...where is the limit switch?), Rock Racing Dude and me had made Baltimore, with only one guy dropping.
Coming out of Baltimore, Poobah flatted and the inexorable pace of the A group motored on, leaving my good buddy alone (I briefly pondered stopping but exposure to the A group has made me callous and a bad person). We took Leonard to the west, south on something, west on Carroll-Easternm left on Election House and then right on Plum. There had been a few rollers that created temporary gaps but always, the pace slackened and we retrouped. Even the hill on Plum was a snoozefest and we then cruised through Caroll, out Carroll Northern, left on Pleasantville and then, a right on Jefferson and that long but moderate grade up to Winchester Road. There had been some grumbling coming from the back of the bus about bypassing the twin towers of Amanda Northern and Slough and to be honest, I was tempted but decided my qualifications as a coward did not need burnishing so with dread, I turned left on Amanda Northern and started up. I have no idea who else was there other than those around me, Jamie, Ryan, Steve, Da Boss, Mark C, and UPS Dude.
We all hung together all the way to the top with heavy panting coming from we ultra competitive types who prefer to risk a heart attack rather than get dropped.. We then faced the short and steep descent to a stop sign and right hand turn onto Slough. The UPS Dude attacked the descent and I was amazed when he rounded the turn and created a massive gap just through aggressive cycling. Gosh I wish I could do that. Jamie and Mark C were not too far off and my energy deflated watching Jamie get such a commanding lead. I could imagine the Facebook beating I was going to take the next day, for sure. Ryan, Boss, Steve and me reached the foot of the climb and I pretty much had packed it in. As I started up the hill, I noted I was gaining on Jamie who was all over his bike and clearly on the rivet. I was emboldened and began shouting, "I'm gaining on ya big boy", followed by, "I'm almost in your shadow". but then, a car tried to pass us on the left while another car was coming down the hill....IDIOT!!!! However, there was still an opening on the right side but Jamie clipped out of his pedal, probably for safety but..... I'm not implying anything of course, just sayin...... well no, not really sayin anything just, you know, kind of unconventional and who can say why he clipped out at that exact moment with me breathing down his neck....just sayin...well no I'm not sayin anything..more babbling really....
Anywho, Jamie bombed the descent and passed me but I caught back onto the group and we cruised into Canal with 43 miles, 21.8 mph average and 1500' of climbing. Fun night but in the many, many days I have spent on a golf course I can never, ever remember suffering like this but having just as much fun and drinking beer too! There is something wrong with us
Kenda's Dave, Paul, Janet and Rick extended one of the most coveted prizes in Ohio cycling, an invitation to ride with their select group. We left New Albany at 9:30 and wow did it feel great to ride in shirt sleeves, comfortably. Eventually, we got over to Marion when a long string of high performance sports cars passed us. Later, as we were coasting down Reynolds, we rounded a curve and there were all the cars, pulled to the side of the road. Included in the mix were TWO Lamborghinis, an Aston Martin, Ferraris, Prosche 911 Carrera and other exotic sports cars....including North America's only street legal Batmobile. We calculated the combined value of the cars was $2 million. One of the cars had overcooked a turn and slid off the road.
After eating at the Pioneer, we went back up Reynolds and the tow truck was beginning to pull the car out of the ditch. We made it back to New Albany with 64 miles and a little over 3000' of climbing. Oh, yeah, also heard for the first time this year, twice, "Gosh it's hot today!"
Here, I prepare to race against what we were told is the only street legal Batmobile in North America. Included in the set-up were two fake machine guns that emerge from beneath the hood.
Kenda Dave and Janet watch the spectacle. Dave is going to organize "Devil Dave's Sunday Ride Series" for those who can't ride on Saturday's or want another Sunday ride.
Although at the start of the Roving Ride it was dark, gloomy and cloudy, Tuna was preening around the parking lot wearing her fashionable sunglasses.
Steve O, on the right, was out for an easy ride, prior to heading to NC on Sunday to ride Monday's Assault on Mt. Mitchell.
The route to Somerset was mostly flat for the 20 cyclists who showed for the ride. That is, until we hit 757 for a 5 mile, knee buckling, stretch. At the start of the ride, Mark C, Group Molester and Tuna had literally sprinted from the parking lot and arrived at the gas station prior to the second group of Kenda Paul and Janet, Kevin K, SuperDave, Brad the Dentist and me. After a short break, we all took a direct route back, resulting in 64 miles while the aforementioned trio took the longer 71 mile route. The return was into a typical strong head wind but what else is new?
Janet told me Kenda Stefano, who works with Kenda in marketing and product development and who rode with us a few times this winter, is working at the Tour of California. I think he is traveling the route, setting up and tearing down a Kenda booth each day while promoting Kenda products. Other noteworthy Kenda news, Grand Poobah was in Cleveland this past week to get fitted for a new team issue bike.
Not only do the elite arrive late, they also segregate themselves rather than mingle with the unwashed.
One exception to the "weaker the rider the earlier the arrival rule" is Bill, who arrived about an hour before the start and patiently waited for his victims to arrive.
After three days of rain, today's brilliant sunshine and temp close to 80 was sure to make the Thursday New Albany ride a magnet and it did not disappoint with over 70 in the parking lot. Not only was the quantity impressive but so too was the quality. There are exceptions to the rule but early on, the parking lot is populated by the weaker of us and in the closing minutes there is a rush of the elite. By the time Jeff called us together for last minute announcements a literal all-star cast of group killers had gathered.
Red-head Bill, Green Machine (Echelon dude who rides the green Madone), John Morgan, Terry, Kyle Tygler, the Bill who sits on a Giant, Colnago Ron, Rich Harris, Paul Stock, Jamie Roberts, Dennis, more Walker and Echelon guys and a couple of new guys, all young, skinny and strong. Others preparing to ride were Flyin Tuna, Amanada, Catherine, SuperDave, Greg Hall, Recumbent Dude and too many more to name here.
The route was an ambitious 46 miles with my two least favorite stretches, pot-holed Cable and the long down hill on Jersey Mill. To Jeff's credit, he requested that we ease up on Cable but I was also prepared to pull out the wildcard if need be, "Neutral Zone" shout. We left the parking lot with only 18 A's but there were no A Wanabes in the mix for once, the guys who get gapped early and woe be you if you are unlucky enough to find yourself behind them. Every one of these guys looked like they could start and finish with the group, except for maybe Dennis, Jeff and me. Jeff was in the lead and as usual, he got in a pretty good gap before the group got serious and picked things up, going south on Babbitt and working our way over to Cable. There, the pace was moderate and I incredulous until I looked ahead and saw Jeff was keeping the pack under control. We got onto Headley's Mill and turned onto the first real climb, Patterson, where there was a furious attack but curiously, about half way up things moderated. I was thankful for the reprieve but also wondered what had happened and saw two of the sprinter types (heavier) had hung onto the front and no one seemed especially eager to go around. We hung a right at old 161 and then reached Jersey Mill. I drifted to the back in anticipation of getting blown out of the pack but Jamie was at the front and kept things under my 34mph limit, until half way down others tired of the slow pace and began sprinting, at which point I was alone. Reaching the bottom I hung a right and here came Dennis, Jeff and Colnago Ron from behind. Oh well, if I get blown out of the A group at least I had a great group with whom to spend the rest of the ride.
But wait! The A group soft pedaled through Alexandria and we caught back on at the last light, just as it turned red. There on the side of the road were two of Alexandria's finest, administering a ticket to a motorist. I noted they werre not watching and I sprinted through the red light and reattached to the group. Dennis, always mindful of our society's laws, stopped and waited for the light to change and we did not see him again. The pack went east on Racoon Valley Road but the pace not too bad as I suspect everyone was holding something back for the long climb up Hardscrabble, where we made a left, setting off a furious churning of legs. I hung on through this first surge and as we hit each ramp and false flat, of which there are many, I slowly worked my way through the group and actually was in the front 5 when we reached the top. I admit it, I felt good about my effort and I'd be lying if I also did not enjoy, probably for the last time, having watched Group Molester drop back. We were still averaging 22mph as the road turned left and we hit the flat part of Hardscrabble and then turned right on Northridge and another tough climb.
Our group was down to 13 and although I still felt good, one look at that first ramp and those attacking it seemed to sap me of energy and I capitulated with a hopeless feeling, coupled with legs that suddenly felt like rubber. I rode alone up Northridge, left on Sportsman Club, down Castle where I hooked up with some C riders, then out Duncan Plains where two strong B's came by and I jumped on with them. One guy was wearing the Navy jersey (Bill maybe) and the other had a yellow jersey with a Camelback. This was great and we exchanged pulls to the end where I finished with 46 miles, a 21.7 average and 1400' of climbing.
Sounds like most of us are hitting the COP Roving Ride this Saturday but may add a loop to get more miles. Jeff S, Steve O, Margarita Rick and Jimmy are headed to do Assault on Mt Mitchell. Although the ride is Monday, Jeff said they were driving down on Friday to stay at a bed and breakfast. Sounds romantic.
I asked Jamie if I could post his observation from the A group ride since I was not there to witness. He kindly agreed: Here's my ride report. Started out with Mark C, guy on white Merckx bike, Jeff S, Ryan, and one other person that was dropped quickly. We worked together pretty well for 15 miles or so. There was a longish hill that we hit before Amanda (several miles before), and it was pretty clear that guy on white merckx was the superior rider. He was leading and I was able to follow, but was being pushed very hard while he looked like he was out for an easy ride. I knew it was crazy to spend so much energy trying to keep up, so I soft pedalled over the top and waited for the rest of the group. By this time, it was only Mark C and Ryan. Guy on white merckx then noticed no one was with him, and he slowed down until the three of us got back on. From then until Divan we worked together and rode pretty well.
I knew Divan had hills, and Mark did too, and I noticed he was sitting back saving himself. I knew I was going to be under pressure in a short amount of time. Ryan took some pulls, and after the ride he told me he was trying to drop me since he figured it would be harder to do in a couple weeks. His strategy didn't work and he ended up being the next one to drop somewhere on Divan (or near there, don't recall all the roads). We got on the first big hill, and guy on white merckx rode away from Mark and I pretty easily. Mark made several surges, and I was able to respond ... for a time. About 3/4 way up my legs were on fire and Mark gapped me, but not by much, and I was able to catch back on. Guy on white merckx waited up and the three of us went back to work. For the next several miles Mark and I battled it out. I shouldn't say battled, as I was merely trying to hang on, I did not have the legs to do any attacking. I weathered the storm pretty well, and I think only one other time was I gapped, but again managed to get back on.
I actually started feeling pretty good, and was having no issues at all over the constant rollers and minor hills. I even took my pulls and put in a good effort.
At mile 34 we turned onto Coonpath Rd. I was not expecting those hills, and at first I thought I'd be able to hang on, but my bike started "jumping gears", which caused me to sit down so I could shift into something that wasn't jumping, and at that point the gap wasn't so big, just a couple meters, so I tried giving it some gas but my gears jumped again, and so I sat and watched as the gap got wider, and it got wide quickly. I don't want to say that my bike is the reason I got gapped, as I would have eventually been dropped, it just quickend the dropping.
As we approached Pickerington Rd I thought I was actually closing down on them, but by time I made the turn and crested that first hill on Pickerington, they were in sight but too far away for me to catch up. I rode a pretty good pace and effort through some little town (lockborne maybe), at which point I lost site of Mark and guy on white merckx, so I stopped to consult the map. After a couple minutes Jeff and Ryan rolled up, so we rode back in together.
I ended up with 43 miles and 20.6 average. Garmin reported about 3000 ft climbing exactly. Don't know if it was that much, but it was certainly one of the hillier Canal rides that I can recall.
Ryan R, thumbing his nose at the basic rule of law, squeezed his car into a no parking spot and then argued he was above the law.
A year ago, Mark C's jerseys fit him like a packed sausage but now the same jersey hangs on him like a burlap bag. Ryan thought it is intentional to increase drag.
It is not normal of the human condition to want to suffer and so, despite Da Boss' absence virtually guaranteeing a slower A pace, as soon as Steve O announced he was again riding with the B's, I announced I would ride with him. So too did Kevin H and Kent was there, having ridden over from home. Also joining us was Tall Dude, Roy, Kenda Paul and others, making our strongish group 11 in number or so. Out with the A's went Mark c, Jeff S, Ryan R, Group Molester (having graduated from Group Itcher classification), Mitch, a couple of guys from a racing team called "Buckeye Planet" and a few others.
Group Molester on the left and Polish Pony on the right, also sometimes known as Jamie and Kevin.
It was a curious start to the ride. We headed out Waterloo towards Slough and on that long uphill stretch the pace was very high and I moved slightly out of the line to identify the mad man pushing this pace, it was Tall Dude! Apparently though, his goal was to burn the entire wick because after he finally rotated off the front, he dropped out of the pack with Kenda Paul. Just as odd, Steve took up the bit and promptly spit it out, maintaining a nice and more reasonable B pace on his hybrid bike. We headed out Sitterly, jogged over to Cedar Hill and always, the sky was dark and cloudy and looked as if it would begin raining at any moment....except it did not--YES, YOU SHOULD HAVE COME OUT!!!! Also, for the first ride of the season, THERE WAS NO FREAKIN WIND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We arrived at the intersection of Westfall and Amanda Northern where Roy used his persuasive power to convince the others we should stay straight and not try to pick up the A route that was 44 miles. The conditions of the sky ensured an early arrival of twilight. I may have added a word of encouragement to Roy's position and Steve looked at me like I was a real loser, by opting for a shorter route. We eventually got over to Crumley, Mt Zion, Lamb, Coonpath and through this stretch things became rather hilly. We arrived back in the parking lot with 8 of us and pretty gassed with Kent and Steve pushing the pace. I turned my computer off during a map check so not sure what the mileage was, probably 38 and an average of 19.8-20mph with 1700' of climbing.
George (they look like twins but George is on the right) has been working but the job ends this Friday or next Monday and with that, unemployment will probably kick in for the balance of the cycling season. All this according to Jeff S, who ran into George at Krogers last Friday.
Style Queen & Group Itcher preparing to apply pain to the peloton.
Above, the long shadow of Kenda Janet surveys the group as a mysterious pair of tennis shoes sits nearby.
Approximately 35 people gathered for Mark V's roving ride. There was some concern whether Mark would even show up. If you recall, he wrecked a couple of weeks ago and typically, when people of that age hit the pavement, they begin to think about playing shuttle board instead but, Mark was there. Beautiful day with sunny skies and temps in the low 50's at the start with a forecast high of 72 and a slight breeze out of the WNW.
We departed en masse and enjoyed a relaxed pace on the rolling terrain of Blacks, south on York then east on Beaver Run all the way over to Canyon. I was out for an easier pace and kept dropping back and being a social gadfly, quizzing people for information I could use against them..err....I mean use to promote their good fortune. One of those was Nathan (Recumbent Dude) who has been strangely absent from our Tuesday/Thursday rides. Turns out Nate has been named as a project manager that requires him to fly to Boston each Monday. I think he said the project he is managing is the mass production of small aircraft.
We eventually worked our way into Granville and then out New Burg to Dry Creek and eventually attacking the hill on Renyolds and a nice downhill into Utica. I spent most of my miles with the good folks of Kenda--Rick, Janet and Paul but no Dave, probably hung over from a multiple bottle tasting of chardonney the night before. Janet was not doing so great and spoke frequently of cutting it short and may have done so as she and the other Kendaites disappeared somewhere prior to Utica. Here, we all gathered at the gas station and contemplated whether to take a sit-down meal at "The Pioneer" or grab a snack and GO at the gas station. Flyin Tuna was relentless in applying pressure to do the sit down and so Style Queen, Kevin K, Polish Pony, Jeff S, Nathan and I stopped at the restaurant while Group Itcher, Amanda, SuperDave, Scott & 1-2 others did the wise thing by grabbing a snack and taking off for the 70 mile route
We rode and some of us ate....a lot...I took 25-30 pics of Tuna devouring her food but lacked the special high speed equipment required to catch a pic mid-bite.
The breakfast/lunch was an interesting experience, made memorable by, among other things, Nate telling the watress to bring the pancakes and "bacon them up" and she did. By the time we finally rolled out of there, we were ill prepared to continue the ride but we did with SQ, Nate, Pony and I doing 70 and Tuna, Jeff and Kevin doing the 89 mile loop. Style Queen pushed the pace on the way back and the rest of us just hung on but barely. I had a couple of small pulls and Dennis gave me the ultimate compliment when I rotated off the front, "For a while, I thought that was Jeff S pulling us"!!!!!!!! I'll remember those words forever. My computer shut off a couple of times so I don't have the exact elevation but somewhere around 3000' and a 18.6 mph average.
Weather radar did not look good but I made the drive to New Albany anyway and by 5:30 there were maybe 10-12 other forlorn looking people looking at the gathering gloom to the southwest. Jeff S, so alarmed by radar and a tornado watch, announced this was no longer a COP official ride and we were on our own, although Jeff dressed for a ride. To Jimmy's credit, he insisted the green and yellow blobs were dissipating but Jeff's interpretation was they were mushrooming. Dennis, observing the weaklings who had so far gathered (Tuna, Group Itcher/Jamie, Catherine and hubby, Jeff F, Radio Shack Dude, me & 2-3 others, appeared in an unusually chipper mood. I could tell he was relishing the rare opportunity to be the King of the Peloton.
Group Itcher, Jamie, describing to me his plan for vanquishing me and others in his long slog back to the top, where he will reclaim his role as GROUP KILLER!!!!! Ugh, can't wait. Jamie's running regimen has left him with two strained achilles tendons, runner's knee and tennis elbow. The guy is hurtin and needs to spend more time on a bike for sure and appears to be embracing the challenge of regaining his place in the peloton. I can only hope he maintains his sense of humility as he tramples over me...but not yet...not yet.
Who would have the audacity to install flaming tire nipple covers......
.....Hunt, it's the same guy that matches an orange color water bottle to the orange portion of the bike frame and a yellow color water bottle to the yellow portion of the bike frame.
Then, a funny thing happened, the parking lot was swarming with late arrivals like SuperDave, Ron on the new black/white Madone, Terry, 3 Walker dudes, 2 Peletonia guys, one of whom trains tri-athletes and our ranks swelled to 30! Jeff sketched out a route to Alexandria and back for a short 30 miles because we anticipated storm activity, maybe even a freakin TORNADO (which would be ok with me as long as the winds were behind me). The group exited the parking lot and went right, except Terry who went left...kind of odd.
One thing of note was the first Radio Shack jersey I have seen.
Anyway, we headed east and south on Babbit where Group Itcher took a long pull and I, barely hung alongside him. We worked our way to Cable and there and along the way elsewhere, the Peletonia and Walker guys kept jumping from the pack and accelerating the pace. The pavement on Cable is in really bad shape and the Peletonia and Walker guys had retreated to the back for a moment as we were half way through this rough stretch. Suddenly, to my left they emerged and prepared to put the hammer down when I yelled, "Neutral Zone". Damn if that didn't work. They slowed and said, "Really?" and I assured them because of the road condition, this stretch was in a neutral zone and we all soft pedaled. Note to Self: Try this trick on Pickerington or Slough on the Tuesday rides.
We hit the hill on Patterson and I rode comfortably in front (well, ok, in front but behind the P & W guys) to the top and then went east on 16 and then hit the downhill stretch on Jersey Mill. I spun out about halfway down (compact crank don't you know), and then made a hard left onto Jug and that long uphill section. I passed Jamie and eventually caught up with Dennis, Ron (black/white Madone) and another guy I had not seen before tonight. The wind was howling out of the SW and the combination of that and the hills whittled our group down to Ron and I. We had gotten to within 50 yards of the P & W group but could not close the gap. Eventually, Dennis and a small group caught us and we all rode into the parking lot with 29 miles and 900' of climbing with a 20.3mph average. The winds remained strong all the way around but the skies had cleared.
Seems like most are riding Mark V's COP roving ride on Saturday out of Pataskala, including Jamie, Dennis, SuperDave and Flyin Tuna.
Anyone else drink a smoothie in the morning? I began preparing 1-2 of these each day back in March to substitute for cereal (Captain Crunch was my favorite) and/or for lunch. Mainly it was part of a winter weight loss effort that has largely worked but I notice I also use it to justify intake of more Snickers. I discovered that as long as the main ingredients of fruit, yogurt and OJ were present, I could add all the cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, etc.. and it did not seem to alter the basic "fruit" taste. Plus, it takes a long time to drink one of these, thus cutting into snack eating time.
To answer your first question...no, not a drop which was very surprising so you missed out. The answer to your second question...it sucked big time to again ride in very windy conditions but compared to Saturday, it was calm. And so, with threatening skies and high winds, only 18 +/- showed for a very hilly route of 43 miles.
The early highlight was watching Steve walk around the parking lot with his sleeve rolled up, hoping people would ask about his injuries. He kept badgering me to take a picture and so I did, here showing a small scab on his arm and a finger heavily covered with a bandage so we could not confirm there was an actual injury. To ensure a good view, Steve curled his other fingers back when I took the shot. Very considerate.
Mark C, describing where on the route he was going to ride away from me. However, I thwarted his plans by riding with the B's.
The A's were sent out but only Da Boss, Mark C, Jeff S and Anthony (Savage Hill guy) went out. To show solidarity with my badly injured friend (OK, my legs were still shell-shocked from the beastly trail run on Sunday) I rode out with Steve, Ryan R, Susan Miller, Amanda, Mark C's friend John and 2 others in the B group.
We headed out toward Pickerington Road and once there, enjoyed the multiple steep climbs before cruising into the driveway at the top of the final big climb to regroup. In what will be the last image of its kind, assuming Steve is healed and not wearing tennis shoes while riding a heavy hybrid bike, this will be the last time I reach a summit ahead of him in time to take the picture as proof. Here Steve admits I am #1, tonight, by saluting me with the #1 finger sign.
On to Rock Mill and into Amanda. Some where along Rock Mill we gobbled up Anthony, I was tired of drafting into the SW head wind and was chagrined the route kept going south out of Amanda up that long hill before hitting Gearhart and then going further south on Sixteenth before making a right on Stoutsville-Oakville and finally a turn to the north on Justus. Amanda had drifted back somewhere in there and I suggested we hang back and soft pedal. I probably should not have beeen surprised to hear multiple, "She's got a map, she kind find her way back". However, I was able to convince them we were pretty far out of Canal to leave someone alone and the hard cases grudgingly waited. Eventually, our group got whittled down to Steve, Anthony and me and I had to admit to Steve I was impressed he was able to hang with us, all things considered. We arrived back in Canal with 2100' of climbing.
Da Boss had a flat tire but apparently did not have a replacement tube so Mark C was nice to drive back and pick him up.
Although an image from a crash scene would suggest otherwise, Steve Oxley is actually doing ok. He has 10 stitches in a finger, road rash from falling in the fetal position and bruised ribs. I talked to Steve, who has now been involved in or initiated more crashes then George, this morning and he actually got out for a ride yesterday. Breathing is difficult but if the rain clears, this very brave man who survived the unsurvivable, will be in Canal tonight to actually ride!!!!
I wonder how many of us were awakened in the early hours of Saturday by the sound of howling wind and were glad we had not signed up for TOSRV or, had signed up and were dreading the ride. Mark C organized a ride from his home south of Lithopolis and Jeff S and I met him there for an 8:00am start for a loop down around Circleville and back for our own century ride. Dan Farley and Jimmy's cars were there, having departed at 7:00am, bound for Portsmouth via a hillier course. Not there was Flyin Tuna who heard the wind and apparently went back to sleep rather than join us and Craig Butler trying to lose a sinus infection.
One of my favorite childhood shows was "Space Family Robinson" about a family stranded on an alien planet. Yes campy, but back in the day..... Anyway, the family robot was assigned the task of following the young Will Robinson around as Will explored the world around him. When the robot sensed dangerous situations, his arms would begin waving wildly while voicing his concern, "Danger Will Robinson, Danger Will Robinson". I inquired about the route to Circleville and Mark C gave a reference to not knowing the route exactly, didn't have a map but we would head southwest and try to pick up Peggy's Rocky Road markings from last fall to guide us to the hill on Rocky Road and around Circleville. Hearing this vague description I swear I immediately began hearing the Robinson robot, "Danger Mark Wilson". I could easily imagine the planned 100 mile loop falling out at 130. Doubt about the "plan" began to emerge.
We headed south on Amanda Northern and then headed west, dead into the wind on Ruff Road. GOOD HEAVENS!!!! I lost all desire to continue, turned around and just plain quit the ride. I'm so tired of riding in the wind. Turns out Mark and Jeff completed the route with 85 miles so I missed a good workout. I'm sure those two were gravely disappointed by having lost someone who would have taken monster pulls into the 40mph wind gusts.
On Sunday, a COP trail run out of Clear Creek caught my eye so I and 8 others gathered for a very hilly, 9.25 mile run on Chestnut, Cemetery, Creekside, Hemlock and back in on Chestnut trail. 1750' of climbing. The onlu person I knew in the group was Randy Brown, out to supplement his riding regimen. Sharon Sesler was the run leader and was very helpful giving a good description of the route and what to expect.
Group Killer made an unexpected visit to our cycling world and discovered there is a new world order but he was unimpressed. Jamie has caught the cycling fever again and tonight was the first of many Thursday and Tuesday rides he will frequent. Guess he misses his old buds after all.
Dennis, SuperDave and Catherine, Dennis' power increases every week, SuperDave has lost his marsupial tummy and Catherine is getting back into form after not riding much this Spring.
Green Machine set a pace on Hollow Road that caused me to blow a gasket.
Terry on the right in the rear, riding strong this year.
About 46 showed for a fabulous evening to ride a bike. Redhead Bill brought his compadres again and with Terry, Walker Dude, Marty, Green Machine, and others, the stage was set for another animated ride. Around 23 left with the A group that besides the aforementioned included Jon the Dentist, Dennis, Roy, Group Killer, Dude on white/black Colnago (I really need to learn more names), etc... Curiously, our group leader, Jeff S, blazed out of the parking lot and dropped everyone, running two stop lights and was gone before all of us exited the parking lot. Guess he had a plane to catch.
We took the southern route and headed out Babbit then over to Summit and onto the sharply deteriorated Cable where areas consumed by pot holes exceeds that covered by flat pavement. Man, what a mine field and some where in there we reacquired Jeff S. The destination was the multi ramped climb up Alward and one of the early arrivals, Gregory, skidded on the gravel and fell. The group hesitated for a pedal stroke before coming to the usual consensus, "Screw Him" and hammered up the hill. When we reached the top, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself with the lead group and feeling kinda ok. We got over to Hollow Road and first Redhead Bill and then one of his compatriots took turns at the front and I was still ok but now in second place behind Green Machine, not good. He dropped the hammer on a long pull and I hung on but when he finally pulled off the lead I declined the opportunity to take a turn at the front, thinking a pace of 12mph would not be agreeable. As I drifted to the comfort of a spot in the back of this group of 8, I missed catching on..Damn. I rode alone over to Weslyn Church, crossing over York where I heard a noise from behind and there was the welcome site of Group Killer, Dennis, Colnago Dude and one other. We hit 16 toward Granville, then the "V" of Silver before coming back onto 16 and into Granville. Out Raccoon Valley Road into Alexandria and out Jersey Mill, working our way home and finishing with 39 miles and a 22mph average with about 1000' of climbing.
Jamie believes, and rightly so, he is but a few rides from reasserting his spot as the king of the peloton. The pounding of running has helped to influence him to alter his training to add more riding and back off running. Seems to work ok for Da Boss, who ran a half marathon last Saturday, rode away from us on Tuesday, will ride 70 on Saturday and run 20+ this Sunday. Regarding the guy who fell, the squad was called and bandaged his arm.
With special thanks to Roy, I can now show the arm of Gregory. Thanks Roy.
A great evening for cycling. Warm temps but no humidity, the wind was not much of a factor, Da Boss was under the weather with a cold, some of the usual youngins who push the pace were missing...it don't get much better than that. Unfortunately, Craig heard me making stupid statements about this being the juxtaposition of many factors that could allow me to hang with him on a very hilly route but that's like waving a red flag at a crazed bull. Above, Craig with his game face on and the Puller King, Jeff S.
We had an unusual group appearance by many of the Kendaites. Above Kenda's Dave, Rick & Paul.
Kevin H. back from a vacation in Nevada where he hiked on top of Mt Charleston, explored Red Rock Canyon, took in a show in Vegas and claims to have gained no weight. Unreal.
I forgot to count but it looked like around 45 people were at the start, including Dennis, Grand Poobah, Ryan R, Mitch, Amanda, Walker Dude, Tall Dude, Andrew, Jeff S, Pastor Mark, Peggster, Butch, Sarge, etc... Mitch unveiled a hilly route and his verbal description of it to the group was awe inspring with numerous references to what one must average to cover each route before sunset.
We headed out Hill and onto Waterloo. Curiously, after crossing Winchester the Walker Dude and Kenda Rick pulled away because after Jeff S dropped back from his turn at the front, none of the next two wanted to take a turn at the front. Considering the two were Poobah and I, it was a genuine stalemate. Da Boss tired of this and he and Mark C went around us and with that I had a wheel to suck and followed. The long hill out Waterloo is always a tough section so early in the ride but we caught the two while turning left on Slough. Maybe 15 had started with the A's but as I glanced back at the turn, things were strung out a little but not too bad. The Walker Dude kept pushing things and the pace was fairly high as we hit the first valley and the adjoining hill but still, there were many of us together. We screamed down the next hill, rounded the sharp turn at the bottom, crested the next hill and came to The Big One on Slough. Here, Boss just rode away from us, including Walker but he and Mark C gamely maintained contact and I was just behind, but cross-eyed from the effort. I vaguely remember coasting down to Amanda Northern and turning right but after that my only recollection is the pain. When we crested the last of the 2 big hills on A.N., it was Jeff S, Dennis and me and not too far ahead were Boss and Mark C. Jeff pulled all the way to Alspach where I took my turn. I can't express in a fraction of a mile the distance Jeff permitted me to pull, more like 100 yards or less before he steamed around me. I've grown accustomed to the humiliation and don't mind and am always greaful for a place in the line. Jeff's effort so far had put us so far ahead at Alspach that I could not see anyone else coming from behind.
It appeared we were gaining a little on the front two but soon we lost contact as we headed out Rock Mill, left on Royalton, right on Mt Zion, then Crumley, Shaw, Westfall and the hills just kept on coming. I was fortunate to occassionally get a gap on Dennis and Jeff on the hills and this allowed me some brief recovery time while they worked to catch up. Upon reaching Amanda Northern we went south to Ruff, on to Ridge and then over to Ringold Northern, then Royalton again and then back in via Cedar Hill. Jeff the Puller King pulled probably 95% of the time with me at 3% and Dennis at 2% although it would be fair for him to argue the reverse were true, Our average had hit 19.7 somewhere towards the middle of the ride and I worried I might drop below 20mph for the first time this year on an evening COP ride. Slowly the average rose and while coasting into Canal, the average officially hit 20 for the 43 mile route with a robust 2300' of climbing. Craig and Mark ended with an amazing 21.8mph average.
On a sad note, Steve O went for a training ride today and wrecked. Among his injuries were 10 stitches to a finger--OUCH!!! Knowing him, he'll be out in a couple of days. For those who want to ride Saturday but not all the way to Portsmouth, Mark C, Dan F, Flyin Tuna, Jeff S and others are riding to Chillicothe and back for 100 miles. Shoot me an email if interested. The route will be kind of hilly with Rocky Road included on the route.
There were few cars in the Kroger parking lot for Saturday's Roving Ride out of Sunbury. One of those cars did not belong to Jeff F,. the ride organizer, showing he still has a thing or two to learn from his mentor, Jeff S. However, Jeff arrived a few minutes after the 8:00am official start time with maps and sign-up sheets. Although there were 10 of us in the parking lot, 2 of us (Dennis & me) decided not to ride because weather radar looked ominous. After the fact, it appears much of the rain dissipated and those that stayed may have gotten in a good ride.
Farther to the south outside of Lithopolis, the first annual "Pastor Plunge to the South Ride" was planned with Mark Clingan offering a 90 mile route. The rain kept many away but Mark, Ryan R and Dan Farley did get in 62 miles with light rain throughout and one thunderstorm while the group hunkered down in Laurelville.
On Sunday, I participated again in the Spring Big Game, a paintball extravaganza at Splatter Park in Mt Gilead. Typically around 2000 people pay to play various paintball game scenarios that mostly just involve blasting away at each other from various bunkers for 6 hours with guns set at a maximum 275psi pressure. The impact of balls on body is painful and I'll carry around welts for days. I'm glad my cycling buddies are not into this activity because if they were, I think the incidence of "fragging" would be high. After the official games are finished with points tallied and the blue or orange team declared the winner, most of us gather for the "Rein of Paint". The groups are divided by team color, inserted into a field of shipping containers and each side blasts away at the other until either you can't take it anymore, you run out of paint or the 15 minute limit is reached. It is a wild scene and there are many Youtube videos to demonstrate.
One of the high lights is defending or assaulting this fort. It's a thrill to overwhelm the defenders and a bummer when evicted from it. Two floors with many firing windows and slits makes it a formidable defensive obstacle.
At some point, both sides fought to gain control of this downed aircraft. Points are awarded for capturing positions like this.
Mark is a long-time cyclist who enjoys poking fun at himself but most especially at his friends. No nicknames or comments are intended to offend, accept them in the humor they are intended.