We shot out Benington Chapel, hung a right on Clouse Willison and then a left on Appleton. There were some rollers in there that eventually took George out of the action and exposed some weakness by a couple of others yet the group rolled on and most of the original 19 were still there. Of course, I knew the "DECIDER" was yet to come, the dreaded Stone Quarry. We drove on, as Appleton Road turned into Louden and finally, reached the Quarry Road. I had already decided that, now at mile 28 it had been a good evening and the Grim Reaper was hovering over me to cut me out of the group. We turned and hit the first hill and I'll be damned, I hung in with the lead group but there was Billy and Muscle Dude battling for KOM points which Billy won. Several guys were shelled on this climb, but I clung to Muscle Dude's wheel, preparing for the next climb and....I'll be damned, hung on through that and the ensuing climbs and reached Northridge with the blind squirrel still there (you know, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in awhile).
I was stunned to still be in elite company but probably the perfect storm had gathered to enable it, head winds on the return to keep the front guys in check, Patrick, Marty and Jon were not there to add power to the front rotation, frequent stops on the outbound leg of the route, you know, I'm not as dumb as I look. However, I began to think the implausible; I may just hang on to the end! Into Johnstown via Concord, down Caswell, up Caswell, eventually on to Jug but through the "S" curve, we passed a B group while I dropped my chain. I happened to be in the middle of the pack, got the chain back on and caught the tail end so that was lucky too. I was there to the sprint at the end, finishing with a 23.7 average, 47 miles and 1175'' of climbing. The front B group, apparently led by Poobah, finished with a 22mph avg.
Good route for COP's roving ride out of Logan, with lots of hills over to and back from Lake Hope. Also, have some bad news for some, good news for most to report, coming soon about one of our most beloved cyclists leaving Ohio.