Most of the big names of Canal cycling gathered in the southeast corner of the parking lot. Considering the heat, we were surprised 40 people showed up, including 18 in the A group. Mitch came up with a route of 44 miles but took out the Pickerington Road climb to avoid that knee buckling stretch in the heat. Around 92 degrees at the start. You know the type of heat that you don't really notice until you brake for a stop and then it is obvious? This evening the heat was obvious even when coasting in the shade. We left the parking lot with the above group, as well as Euro Patrick, Ringer Gabe, Steve O, Jeff S, Mark C, Claude, Dennis (back from a great vacation in Costa Rica), Nick, John S & 3-4 others. The pace was moderate at the start and only after crossing Lithopolis Road on Sitterly did the group stretch out to single file, indicating the pace was freshening. One of us saw Gabe go to the front and begin sprinting, which set off the expectation some of us were not long for this group but most of us stayed together all the way to Marcy, where we made a left. So far so good but damn, have I already mentioned the heat? The pace picked up again and reduced us to a long string but we paused at the Amanda Northern intersection. My legs felt good but have I mentioned how hot it was? I looked at the long climb on Marcy to Rockmill and decided I did not want to find out how hot I would feel at the top of that and took a cowardly turn north and abandoned. I felt like a real loser and stopped to grab a dandelion and smear the letter "L" in yellow on my forehead as punishment. Upon returning to the parking lot with only 20 miles, I decided to stop at Cyclist Connection to spend some cash and passed Claude headed out of Canal on his bike. I pulled alongside and yelled, "Cyclists are gay" and inquired why he too had abandoned and he said it was too steamy. I don't know what else happened but maybe someone will post something.
Oh, Thursday is "Pink Out for Dennis" night. If you can borrow something with pink in it, wear it to honor the return of one of our group's most uninhibited cyclists. I think I found a pink thong and will wear it over my cycling shorts, even though it will make me hotter with a forecast high of 96.