The first climb arrives soon enough and upon reaching it, Steve O and the dude with the white Mellow Johnny jersey surged to the front. I caught up at the top and was relieved they chose to ease up and we soon had a nice group rolling up and down the rollers that populate the ridge line along Horns Mill and Zwickle. Steve was content to ride at a pace that kept us together all the way to 93 where Steve, Gus, Peggy, Kevin H, Mark C, Mellow Johnny, Recumbent Dude, Andrew, around 12-14 of us steamed through various small burgs before reaching New Straitsville and Ed's Carryout, a classic small town cycling stop.
So, a large group departed for the 96 mile route while Tri-Andrew, Tri-Luke, Tri Luke's wife, Brad the Dentist, SuperDave, Kenda Janet, Dave and Paul and a couple others, left on the 76 mile route. We briefly stopped at mile 38 in Moxahala, discussed the brutal stretch coming up on Marietta Road and then shoved off, arriving in Bremen at mile 57. Janet had recovered some and began verbally jabbing me when I asked if that is the only jersey she ever wears and if after each ride does she just take it off and stand it up in a corner or does she sometimes wash it? She's such a good sport. Beth and Evie arrived and told us Bauman Hill Road was closed so we all agreed to short cut the short cut route and head down Savage, which we did, finishing with 70 miles and 4000' of climbing.