So, at 8:00, around 15 of us departed. I started the week thinking my cycling of long or hilly routes was over, the start of the off-season. I had put in two good trail runs and was preparing for a Saturday of watching lots of college football games but saw my buddy Kenda Janet needed a favor. Being the Clara Barton of the cycling community, what could I do but rouse myself out of seasonal retirement and volunteer to ride the Saturday route, meet her in Marietta, jump in her car while she jumped out and drive back to Sugar Grove so she could spend an evening of marital bliss with Kenda Paul at the elegant Lafyette Hotel and ride the Sunday route back with him.
So, off we rode, hitting the freakin Savage and Chickencoop climbs right off the bat! My legs felt very weird, yes they always feel strange when climbing these brutes but this time was different. At one point, a leg kind of collapsed inward at the knee and I got the sense the legs were "run ready" but not cycling ready and it was many miles before they started to feel kind of normal for cycling. Anyway, no one was pushing the pace too hard and we mostly stayed together on what for me were many new roads, all the way to New Lexington where I hunkered down at a BP gas station while everyone else enjoyed the well provisioned food stop. From there, I rode mostly alone until my buddy Mitch Tallen sped by and was in the "zone" so all he could do was yell a, "hey Mark" as he pulled rapidly away. Then Todd Mullens came by and eased up as we chatted about his visit to GA where he rode up Brasstown Bald, Hogpen Gap and others with Mitch, a couple of weeks ago. It wasn't until another 20 miles went by before Mark C came through from my original group and rode with him for awhile until we pulled in to the outskirts of Mcconnelsville. At the time, I was riding beside Greg Dubois and he recommended a great spot for lunch....
Reaching the YMCA, I called Janet, cursed her for good measure a few times while discovering she was already on her way. I had estimated I would arrive at 4:00 and did, a few minutes early. As we exited the parking lot, Janet rolled down the window and said hello to Mark V. I noticed other cyclists were exiting the Y with day packs on their back but it seemed Mark needed some help transporting his stuff to the Holiday Inn. We were glad to help but I did tell the uber-social one that if she saw anyone else, she was to keep the window up and drive, as I was running late for a date with my wife. Mark brought out a giant black bag and after putting it in the back of the Kenda mobile, the vehicle immediately dropped to its rear axel. As we drove to the Inn, with the tail pipe rubbing on the asphalt, I wondered what could be in this bag. Upon reaching the Inn, I went inside and got two volunteers to help me drag it into the lobby and advised them they should not look inside. Thereafter, I dropped Janet off at the hotel, sat through instructions on what to do if the check engine light lit, not to turn off the ignition, where the AAA card was, the registration, how to turn the steering wheel, very detailed info before finally being allowed to chug away with a belch of black smoke emanating from the tail pipe..
Finished with 105 miles and 8300' of climbing. I was asked how CFC compared to Mt Mama. You're kidding right? My average was much slower on Mama, more climbing on Mama, no 5+ mile climbs on CFC...not even close but everyone has their own opinion and that's just mine.